Black Sails – Review
Black Sails – Seasons 1 and 2
Black Sails is a fairly recent TV series available on Amazon Prime. It’s set in the Golden Age of Piracy, (roughly 1650-1750), and follows the story of the pirates who colonised New Providence Island, otherwise known as Nassau, in the Bahamas. It was written as the prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, (if you’re not familiar with this story Google it now), and focuses on how Captain Flint acquired the Spanish Urca Gold.
The first series, whilst admittedly quite slow, provides the necessary background to the main characters. In the second series things get thrilling and frankly it’s worth the ride.
Here are all the main characters, pirates and civilians of Nassau:
Captain James Flint portrayed by Toby Stevens.
Flint is the main protagonist within the series. He is ruthless and pretty much will screw over anyone who stands in his way. There’s a lot of suspicions about him, and it is clear some of his crew believe him to be untrustworthy. Within the first series this shrouds Flint in mystery, and raises a lot of questions: Why does Flint want the Urca Gold so much? What are his motives? How will he use it?
Once an officer in the Royal Navy, in the second series we see flashbacks of his ‘past life.’ Like how he came to meet Mrs Barlow his lover. I love flashbacks in any TV Show, (think Lost), however, I feel as though I would like to see the flashbacks of the other main characters too. In this sense, the first series lacks a little bit of zeal when it comes to the appropriate context of the other pirates, and why they’re in the situations they’re in.
Favourite Quote: “Whoever arrives on our shores first, will be in for a most unwelcome surprise.“
John Silver portrayed by Luke Arnold.
The second character to be included from Treasure Island is Long John Silver. The heart throb of the series, (like honestly Luke Arnold is so hot.) Anyway, Silver joins Flints crew and their complicated relationship grows. Frankly, Silver is just as ruthless about the Urca Gold as Flint is, and this results in some positives and some negatives. The politics between the two, and how this correlates with the other pirates is very interesting to behold. Oh, and yes Silver does lose his leg in the series. *Gore Spoiler*
Favourite Quote: “I don’t know how else to say this, but no. I suppose there’s ‘fuck no,’ or ‘fuck you.'”
Captain Charles Vane portrayed by Zach McGowan.
No.2 Hottie is Vane. The only reason he’s second in line is because he’s a puppy to bitched-face Eleanor and this can get quite irritating at times. In the first season, Vane arrives in Nassau with his crew which includes; Jack Rackam and Anne Bonny. What is great about the series is that it includes pirates who actually existed, (Vane, Rackam, Bonny), as well as the fictional characters in Treasure Island, (Flint, Silver and Billy Bones.) All in all, this makes for a much rounded and believable story. Of course, Vane also gets involved in the antics concerning the Urca Gold, and in doing so, pisses quite a few people off.
Favourite Quote: “When I take something from a man – his ship, his money, his life – I don’t hide behind a clerk. I don’t hide behind the law. I don’t hide behind anything.“
Jack Rackam and Anne Bonny, portrayed by Toby Schmitz and Clara Paget.
The reason I’ve put these two together is quite simply because they come as a pair throughout the whole series. They were supposedly a couple in real life too, which only adds to the historical authenticity of the series.
Jack is a bit of a posh twit. That’s not to say he doesn’t know what he’s doing, but it’s pretty obvious he came from a privileged background, somehow became a pirate and now talks his way through, and out, of trouble. (This is why I wish we saw the other pirates history in flash-back, not just Flints.) In this sense, Jack is the comedian of the TV show, coming out with witty catchphrases and long words the other pirates don’t understand.
Favourite Quote: TOO MANY, but here’s a corker; “I feel compelled to state out loud…LIFE IS SIMPLY TOO FUCKING SHORT!!!“
If Jack is the brains, then Anne is definitely the brawl. I mean seriously this girl is super badass. It’s obvious from the very first episode that Jack and Bonny are worlds apart, (she speaks in this Eastenders-type London accent.) I quite like the irony behind this though, and the fact they’re total opposites yet lovers and best friends.
Jack and Anne do become very significant figures in the Nassau community, but will it all work out for the best? *no spoilers here*
Favourite Quote: every time Anne says “Fuck you Jack.”
Eleanor Guthrie portrayed by Hannah New.
Guthrie is the ultimate Bitch Queen. As the main merchant in Nassau, Eleanor controls all trade and presides over a lot of testosterone filled men. From the early onset, in the first series, it’s quite clear she can’t be trusted. (Eleanor seriously fucks someone over, very badly). From then on she begins to try a little too hard in keeping people happy. It’s like you can feel her pain, trying to juggle these six balls all at once. In some respects, I do feel quite sorry for her, in other respects, she deserves everything she gets.
Favourite Quote: “I think you misunderstand, I wasn’t asking you to help me, I was granting you the opportunity to help me.“
Max portrayed by Jessica Parker Kennedy.
Max is probably the character that develops most in the entire series. She works at the brothel located in Nassau’s town centre, eventually becoming the Madame. Max is gutsy and ruthless, and does a much better job of keeping it a secret than Eleanor. Having said that, she cares deeply about the people who mean something to her. Like all the characters, we learn a little about her past, but nothing is in flash-back unfortunately. Max is probably one of my favourite characters. I mean, a woman with that much sass just has to be admired.
Favourite Quote: “When the sea grows rough, you come to Max, Max is your harbour.”
All in all, the character set makes for incredible viewing. These are just the main characters, but there are a few others who weave in and out of the story. If you enjoy historical dramas, then this is definitely worth a watch. Whilst the first series is just setting the scene, the second series is so exciting, (and by exciting I mean the canon quite literally goes off.) I’ve started watching the third series already, and I have to say, there’s been enough twists to keep me watching. Amazon Prime is currently doing a six month free trial for students so get on that shit.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Oh, and here are all the characters Simpsonised:
Quite possible the coolest thing ever.
(Jack’s face is the best)
Lydia’s blog: strawberrydragon.wordpress.com