When Spartacus ended on Starz last year, I was sad thinking that I wouldn’t have a strong period piece/epic to kick of my new year, especially considering the somber note it ended on. Fast forward to New York City Comic-Con ’13 (NYCC) when I first discovered Black Sails. Somehow missing the announcement in San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) the previous summer, this was a nice surprise and quickly rose high on my anticipation list. Starz was taking the production quality from its previous shows and applying it to a new pirate story? Sold.
Black Sails is essentially a prequel series to Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.” The show opens with a ship being overtaken and attacked by the Walrus, a pirate ship lead by Captain Flint himself. To be expected, there’s a bit of exposition throughout the episode, but considering the well tread ground, it wasn’t belabored at all. While the writers take certain liberties in assuming their audience understand what a pirate is, does, etc., they take the time to properly introduce the colorful cast.
Familiar names can be heard throughout, like Billy Bones and John Silver, whose still completely intact (prequel!). Other non-fictional characters are present as well, such as Charles Vane, John Rackham (Calico Jack), and Anne Bonny. Not content to stick with what’s been established, a few new characters were added into the mix like Eleanor Guthrie, daughter and black marketer, and Quartermaster Gates. Again, every character was given a strong introduction and enough screen time to become memorable.
The best part of the story was when we were joining Flint and his crew. Already on the verge of madness, becoming obsessed with a treasure that may not exist, but with a crippling amount of potential to bring his crew down with him. The fight scene at the end with would be usurper Singleton was inevitable, but it showed the type of loyalty he can command, and how silver his tongue could be. Surprisingly, there wasn’t as much profanity and nudity as I thought there’d be. Not that I need it, but considering the network, I was expecting it. I’m sure the quota will be increased in later episodes.
If you have no interest in the show, or are unable to watch it, take the time to watch the opening credits (easy since Starz put the first episode on youtube.) While Bear McCreary delivers another solid score, it’s the wonderfully designed pieces that captivated me. I was in awe of the craftsmanship and design. Awesome.
Black Sails was so popular after airing the pilot at SDCC that the producers greenlit a second season, already under production. Only eight episodes this season, but less is more. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Look for a season review in eight weeks!
What did you think of the premier? Did it hook you too? Comment below!
Pirate booty. Sorry, I had to.