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This Month's Issue

Black Sails: The Complete First Season
Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Studio: Anchor Bay

Reviewed by: Jordan C.

Vampires are played out. Post-apocalyptic is passe. Zombies are dead (no pun intended). So what’s next? Pirates! Sure, Pirates of the Caribbean killed the box office for four summers but the franchise never spawned a phenomenon like say Twilight or The Walking Dead have.

In 2014 we got two bigger budget shows about pyrates, Black Sails and Crossbones. One stars John Malkovich and one is produced by Michael Bay. Seems clear from those facts alone which show should be better. However, it turns out Crossbones kinda blows, while Black Sails is on people’s lips (no pun intended there either).

The pilot and third episode of Black Sails are helmed by Neil Marshall, the director behind the penultimate and finale episodes of Seasons 2 and 4 of Game of Thrones (yes, the ones at Butcher Bay and The Wall!). Now, if that doesn’t grab your attention, how about the fact that this series serves as an unofficial prequel to Treasure Island and features John Silver, Billy Bones, and Captain Flint? Or that it features real life buccaneers Blackbeard, Captain Charles Vane, Jack Rackham, and Anne Bonny? And for those that like a good smattering of boobs in their evening viewing, Black Sails is not going to let you down.

I would be amiss to not mention that Toby Stephens as Captain Flint and Louise Barnes as Lady Barlow give the strongest performances in Season 1. Luke Arnold deserves mention as well for his portrayal of John Silver, as he comes across with just the right amount of smarmy and suave. The weakest link in the cast for me is Hannah New as Eleanor Guthrie. She seems to exude this petulance that contradicts the strong role she is supposed to be playing.

Your interest should be at least piqued by now. So, go grab a rum neat and give this pirate drama a try.

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