Since Black Sails wrapped up in 2017, fans of the Golden Age of Piracy have been somewhat starved for great content. This year Netflix released the docu-series The Lost Pirate Kingdom, and Disney announced a new Pirates of the Caribbean film starring Margot Robbie (although no movement has been seen on that in recent months), but there are no phenomenal small-screen series to take the place of the pirates of Black Sails.
Given that pirates have always held a fascination for audiences (something the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise proves), it’s likely that some new swashbucklers will come to the small screen soon… but in the meantime, there are plenty of reasons to return to New Providence Island.
10 To Appreciate Realistic Combat Scenes
Swordfights and battles are, of course, a huge part of any pirate franchise or series, and Black Sails does this incredibly well compared to most. Especially compared to the wildly unrealistic (but still impressive) swordfights of Pirates of the Caribbean, these are tightly choreographed and historically accurate. The series used a piracy historian and expert in naval combat, Benerson Little, as a consultant for these scenes, which is why they are so phenomenally realistic.
9 For The Female Leads
The upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean film is set to be a female-led one, with Margot Robbie starring and Birds of Prey‘s Christina Hodson writing. But fans of female-led piracy need look no further than Black Sails, which has a fairly well-balanced cast, especially for the subject matter.
Eleanor Guthrie, Max, and Anne Bonny are three of the biggest characters in the series, and while there are still more male characters than female, the cast feels significantly more balanced than that of many period pieces. In addition, the women are not particularly similar or stereotypical, but are nuanced and developed characters in their own right.
8 To Appreciate The Character Development…
Black Sails is, first and foremost, a character-driven series, and this makes a re-watch even better. Returning to the characters as they were at the start, with an awareness of where they will end up, allows for a new level of understanding of them – and of course, adds a level of either satisfaction (knowing that they will end up in a better place, like Anne and Jack) or a deeper sadness, even for less likable characters like Vane, knowing how their stories end.
7 … And The Foreshadowing
Despite being character-driven, there is plenty of foreshadowing to catch on a re-visit to Black Sails. Tiny details about the fates of characters and locations are included throughout, and would be easily missed the first time around.
For example, the Black figure of Death, seen most prominently in Flint’s dream sequences, appears originally in the tavern play – something that few fans would have initially picked up on.
6 As A Comparison To The Lost Pirate Kingdom
For fans who watched the Netflix docu-series, a rewatch of Black Sails is a perfect opportunity to consider the areas where the series is historically accurate, and where it uses history as inspiration only. The docu-series covers much of the same period, and focuses on how democratic pirate society was – something shown in Black Sails, as well, with voting in the crews. It’s not an entirely historically accurate series, of course, but as a re-watch post-documentary, it becomes even more interesting.
5 For The Blend Of History And Fantasy
Black Sails is a beautiful mix of period drama, adaptation, and pure period fantasy. On the surface, it is a prequel to ‘Treasure Island’, which is (of course) fiction, but it draws heavily from history as well, and balances the inspiration of the book and the time period with elements that are pure delight.
Wildly popular series Bridgerton does something very similar, adding elements that are historically inaccurate but that simply make the show more accessible and enjoyable, but it’s something that Black Sails absolutely did first.
4 For The Costumes
In the same way that the story and characters manage to combine historical accuracy with a fictional modern flair, the costuming in Black Sails is incredible. It’s not, arguably, the most accurate depiction of what Golden Age pirates would wear, but it’s not so inaccurate that it’s a problem. The costumes are handmade and created from scratch to perfectly fit the characters (literally and figuratively), and they are absolutely beautiful – and of course, a second watch allows fans to really appreciate them.
3 For A More Complex Pirate Story
For a long time, and especially with Pirates of the Caribbean, movies and series about the Golden Age of Piracy have tended toward the simplistic. Straightforward romance and swordfights abound, without too much attention paid to some of the bigger driving factors in the establishment of the Golden Age – like the military situation in Europe. However, Black Sails is intended as a more adult and complex take on piracy, and one that is more nuanced and satisfying than most.
2 Because It Addresses Tough Subjects
Black Sails is not for the faint of heart, and it deals with some truly difficult subjects, including rape and slavery. Enslaved people are fully developed characters in the show, and the desires and future plans of people who had been enslaved is a major story arc in later seasons. And while the cast is still predominantly white, there are multiple main characters, like Mr. Scott, who are POC – something that still isn’t seen enough on the small screen.
1 It’s Award-Winning For A Reason
Black Sails won 3 Primetime Emmys during its run, as well as several more awards (and many more nominations), and for good reason. Most of the wins were in SFX and sound editing, which is definitely a stand-out element of the show, but Black Sails is also a well-rounded series. Characters, plot, setting, costuming, and fight choreography are all excellent as well – and while it didn’t get the ending (or the length of run) that many fans may have wanted, there’s no denying that it’s one of Starz better recent offerings.
NEXT: 15 Shows To Watch If You Like Black Sails
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