Black Sails 1.01 "I."

A tv review article by: Timothy Ashley

This series was executive produced by Michael Bay and sets up a world that many of us are already familiar with thanks to movies and stories, but places it in a more realistic space. Might I point out that this show is nothing at all like Pirates of the Caribbean. Sure it may have pirates sailing the seas and looking for lost treasure, but it gets rid of that comedic, campy tone and approaches things in a more realistic manner. It also dumps the whole fantasy element as well. I doubt that we will see Mr. Davy Jones or his Locker.

As with some Starz shows, Spartacus for example, you get a hearty dose of action and sex, however the story takes centre stage. Likewise, in this premiere we see a lot of backstabbing and a whole slew of characters; so much so that it becomes kind of hard to tell who can trust who.

The series is inspired by the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and is set 20 years before the events of the novel; it is here that we meet a very young Peg-legged Long…um, John Silver (Luke Arnold), who has just joined Captain Flint’s (Toby Stephens) crew as the new cook.

Captain Flint is on the verge of suffering a mutiny of his own doing. He takes on low paying jobs that his men are not too happy about but is in actuality after a really big treasure. But if he tells the men they may not want to go along with it, hence the secrecy. The men believe him to be too weak as they want someone with more authority to lead them. The man trying to carry out the mutiny is named Singleton (Anthony Bishop). He has no trust in his captain and wants nothing more than to see himself take over.

Along the way the crew sets foot on the Bahamas, where we get introduced to even more characters. It is here we are introduced to Flint’s rival, Captain Vane (Zach McGowan). We also get introduced to Eleanor Guthrie (Hannah New) and her father Richard (Sean Cameron Michael), who have a business relationship with Flint. We also get introduced to a woman named Max (Jessica Parker Kennedy), who has her eye on something John Silver stole before joining the crew -- something that will lead Flint in the right direction of the treasure.

This has been a very promising start to the new series as everything that was shown to me in POTC has been washed away by this broody and gritty new approach. There are no parrots here; no sort of fantasy elements at all; just some good old gritty pirate adventure. I cannot wait to see where things head next with all of the betrayals and backstabbings that have already occurred in just the opening episode.


Timothy Ashley is an avid movie lover and tech junkie. When he's not reading up on new Android devices, he makes a little bit of time to check in on his start up production company, By Design. You can follow him @ByDesignVideo. He tries to write interesting posts.

Community Discussion