Sunday, January 26, 2014

Black Sails

by Bill Holmes

Black Sails is a new original series on Starz, the first episode was aired on Saturday, 1/25/14. It is about a band of pirates. It is set in the early 1700's in the Caribbean. The promos for the show refer to this as the golden age of pirates.

A few housekeeping chores before I get into the review. The series will have eight episodes airing on Saturday nights. It is rated TV-MA so there is language, violence and nudity. In the premiere I did not see one peg leg, hook hand, eye patch or parrot. No one said aaaaargh. The characters don't even talk like pirates. So, you see it's obviously not about real pirates.

The majority of the cast is made up of British and Australian actors. I didn't really recognize any of them. As with most new series, this one spent considerable time introducing us to all the characters. There is the handsome captain, his loyal right hand man, the young ambitious schemer, a couple of strong, smart, attractive females and various others. Many of the supporting characters are evil, scarred, dirty and stupid. The main players are all amazingly attractive, clean, smart and have great teeth. Nothing unusual here.

It appears that the main theme is that the good Captain Flint knows there is a vast hidden treasure but is not exactly sure where it is. Others have some of the clues. Pirate crews were somewhat democracies with an elected captain and a distribution of the captured spoils. That means Captain Flint must be a politician and provide booty to be shared. The booty has been somewhat scarce lately. He foiled and killed an alternative captain already. There are also the folks on the various Caribbean islands, both government officials and those who fenced for the pirates. We're not sure yet who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Since pirates are mostly bad guys, this may be hard to figure out.

The show has very high production value. The sets, props and costumes are very well done. The ship looks real. What must be CGI is seamless.

There was some bloody violence, salty language and nudity in this first episode. Not too much of any of them. There was one funny scene when the new crew member was put through initiation. Once on shore, he was told Blackbeard was waiting to see him. He was brought into a room with several semi-naked women and one shrouded person sitting in a big chair in the middle, supposedly Blackbeard. That person slowly pulled back the hood to reveal a female face. The new crew member said "you're not Blackbeard". With that, the woman stood up, opened her robe and proved that she was indeed Blackbeard. The beard a little lower than her chin, but definitely black and bushy.

I think this series is worth a look. The acting is above average, the scenery is fantastic and the story has a chance to be OK. It's at least as good as anything on network TV. Starz, Showtime, Netflix and others are producing good stuff. HBO is no longer the only one churning out stellar TV.

I expect Black Sails will show us some swash and some buckling before it ends. I have my DVR set. Airing on Saturday nights on Starz.

Based on the first episode I'd give it at least a B rating.


1 comment:

  1. Black Sails Season 3 has ended in the last week of march. Toby Stephens has really nailed the character of Captain Flint as a pirate. He has worn a black leather coat which is available at Sky-Seller online shop. For more visit the site.