This Tuesday I want to talk about a show that I just watched the first season of. This past week, I watched Season 1 of Black Sails, which is a STARZ Original Series.
What Black Sails is About: Black Sails is supposed to be a prequel to the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. It focuses on Captain Flint and his search for the treasure laden ship called the Urca. It also focuses on the pirate paradise of New Providence Island and Eleanor Guthrie, who is trying to run this island. It's about the Golden Age of Piracy and how those pirates really lived. Black Sails incorporates some real pirates of history like Anne Bonny, "Calico" Jack Rackham, and Charles Vane, alongside some fictional ones like John Silver. This is a show about Pirates that Disney could never tell.
Backstory For Wanting to Watch Black Sails, Or How It Came on My Radar: This is a two part answer. Part 1 has already been discussed on at least one blog post, but it's the simple fact that I love Pirates. Ever since I watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, I just got very interested in the people and the life. I did my senior project on pirates and had a lot of fun researching and learning pirate facts. I'm very much one of those people that has romanticized the Golden Age of Piracy.
Part 2 comes from my love of the show The 100. In Season 3, they introduced a cool character named Roan, who's played by Zach McGowan. I then found out that Zack McGowan was well known for playing Charles Vane on the show Black Sails.
Roan/Prince of Azgeda on The 100
Jack Rackham, Charles Vane, and Anne Bonny on Black Sails
So Parts 1 and 2 came together and I requested Season 1 from my library and got to watch it. THE END.
I will say, it was a weird experience in a way watching it from my library, because I only had the DVD for a limited time. I felt like I had to rush through it so I could return it. I might not have gotten to savor the show like I wanted or had that feeling of being able to watch it on my own time.
Review of Black Sails Season 1: It was alright. I didn't love it as much as I thought I would. Not saying I hated it, but it didn't inspire me to sing sea shanties all day. When I was watching the extras on the DVD, after I'd watched all the Season 1 episodes, I think I might have discovered why I didn't absolutely love it. The show's goal was not to romanticize the pirate way of life, but show them as the individuals they were and how they really lived. I think that was my big problem. I love the romanticized version of the pirate. The guys who are bad, but not too bad, who's main goal is to live a life free at sea and search for all kinds of treasures. The pirates in Black Sails were not nice guys. That was pretty obvious from the opening scene of the first episode, where they boarded a ship and killed almost everyone on board for the loot. I guess I just wanted another kind of Jack Sparrow who's adventures I'd get to follow around.
This show was also very mature. Lots and Lots of sex, nudity, and gore. Do not watch this show with your family, because it just turns into a super awkward experience. At times, the sex and nudity were excessive. But I mean, that is the kind of life pirates led. Port towns such as New Providence Island were filled with taverns, and prostitution is one of the oldest professions. Black Sails focused on a lot of the unsavory way of life. It showed some male nudity too, which was surprising, because usually males are off limits while females show everything and anything. So yay for fairness there.
I liked most of the characters. My favorites were probably Billy Bones, Jack Rackham, and Charles Vane.
There was one character that got on my nerves a couple of times and that was Eleanor Guthrie. She's supposed to be the strong woman on the show, so probably as a girl, it's awful for me to not like her, but I just didn't understand her. She was once involved with Charles Vane, but now she's in love with a prostitute in the brothel. It seemed like she kind of hated Charles Vane, but then she goes back to him and has sex with him?? I was just very confused by her. She kind of reminded me of Lexa from The 100, and I'm not the biggest Lexa fan either sooo...
John Silver was also a character I had mixed feelings for. I could never trust him plus he had a kind of manic gaze. The hairstyle was a little distracting also. He did have his funny moments though.
This was a very pretty show to watch with all the backgrounds and cinematography. I also really loved the soundtrack for the show. Such cool music that really did capture that pirate feeling.
Black Sails was not exactly what I wanted in the end. I found it interesting, but I wanted that more romanticized, fun version of pirates. Real life pirates just aren't as fun to me, in large part I think that's because they are murderers and criminals. I'll probably watch the second season, because I am interested enough to continue with it. I really like the inclusion of real, historical pirate figures in the show. I could do without all the nudity and sex. Not exactly the pirate's life I wanted to see, but it was still kind of cool. My feelings are just mixed on this, very mixed.