One of the hidden gems of pay cable for some time has been Black Sails. Hidden away on Starz, Black Sails takes on the age when being a pirate was more than just stealing cable or hijacking ships in Somala. Set during the Golden Age of Piracy, 20 years before “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson, we follow John Silver as he serves underneath Captain Flint aboard the Walrus.
As we begin the third season we’re slowly seeing the transition of John Silver to the Long John Silver of Stevenson’s tales. As he serves under Flint, and the first pushback against pirates begins by the British Navy, we see the world around them change as it builds to an epic season finale.
The series, which concludes in 2017 and seemingly has been built for only a shorter run, works because of two things. The show essentially has one main storyline that goes through all three seasons so far: John Silver becoming the pirate of Stevenson’s legendary novel. Everything has a through line developing this overall storyline throughout the series so far.
The other is that Starz has essentially given the series a hand off approach. This is a gritty looking series that matches the time frame in the same vein that Spartacus did so for the network earlier. It’s ruthless and savage, unafraid of bloodshed and mugging it up. It takes the sort of atmosphere the Pirates of the Caribbean established and brings a more savageness to it.
Black Sails may not dominate the ratings like The Walking Dead does but it might be one of the best shows on television no one is watching.
A handful of pieces that give some insight into the series, as well as a recap of season two, are included.
Anchor Bay presents Black Sails (Season 3). Starring Toby Stephens, Luke Arnold, Hannah New, Jessica Parker Kennedy. Run Time: 549 minutes. Not Rated. Released on 11.8.16
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