Black Sails: Is It More Than Blood, Boobs and Sex?

Black Sails Is It More Then Blood, Boobs and Sex

Black Sails, an ambitious series centered around the swashbuckling days of yesteryear, focuses on blood, boobs and sex instead of strong characters and captivating story lines. While the series may interest the curious, it may not have enough bite to go the distance.

In Black Sails, Starz makes another blood porn series using the same tactics of nudity, sex and violence that served Starz so well in Spartacus, not exactly the most creative level to aspire to, but a combination that has worked well for Starz.

While Starz lineup is heavy with historical pieces including, Da Vinci’s Demons, Outlander, and White Queen, it is more diverse than it is united which may introduce the idea that Starz is attempting to be as varied in their lineup as HBO, thereby increasing its appeal. However, Starz has yet to capture HBO’s reputation for delivering high-quality series.

Black Sails, a new pirate series by Michael Bay, takes place in 1715 during the “Golden Age of Piracy,” chocked-full of gratuitous sex, nudity, mayhem and carnage coupled with a complicated storyline sure to leave viewers rolling their eyes, wondering if Black Sails is more than blood, boobs and sex.

What is intriguing to watch is the way Starz tries to step away from being the blood and boobs channel, by introducing a new pirate series, but Black Sails seems to be a step in the wrong direction. The first episode was overflowing with sex, blood, swords and nudity, exactly what a Starz viewer has come to expect, however, slowly over the next three episodes, a stronger storyline tried to be developed indicating Black Sails has more desire then skillfully weaving a lesbian sex show into a sword fight.

The storyline becomes intricate and larger than one would expect coming from Starz, especially when pirates are involved, but the story rolls out at such a slow pace, viewers may find themselves channel surfing before the series has them hooked.

Co-written and co-created by Robert Levine and Jonathan Steinberg, Black Sails focuses on the drama of Captain Flint, (played by Toby Stephens), captain of the Walrus and is reputed to be the most feared man of all the captains in New Providence Island. Flint’s crew include, first-mate Billy Bones (played by Tom Hopper) and the quartermaster, Gates (played by Mark Ryan).

Capt. Flint is pursuing a Spanish treasure ship loaded with gold that no one is able to find, much less capture. He has found the gold ship’s sailing schedule, unfortunately the schedule now lies in the hands of John Silver (played by Luke Arnold), the shows scruffy looking bad boy. Silver is trying to survive while figuring out how to wring the most benefit out of the Spanish ship’s schedule.

Everything on New Providence Island flows around Eleanor Guthrie, (played by Hannah New). Her father, Richard, is the richest man in the Bahamas, operating a black market on the island. He left Eleanor in charge of deciding which of the captains get the black-market goods. Her assistant, Mr. Scott (played by Hakeem Kae-Kazim) is concerned with Eleanor’s relationship with Capt. Flint and his dangerous schemes. Eleanor has a lesbian lover, Max (played by Jessica Parker Kennedy) the local prostitute.

Capt. Vane (played by Zach McGowan) is Flint’s nemesis and runs the fast and deadly Ranger ship. Rackham, (played by Toby Schmitz) is the brains of the operation and Anne Bonny (played by Clara Paget) is both Vane’s bodyguard and Rackham’s lover.

Black Sails echoes the 1995 movie, Cutthroat Island, with the swashbuckling woman, Anne Bonny, and the savvy young pirate, John Silver, pursuing a treasure while other pirates are trying to get to the treasure first, Capt. Vane and Capt. Flint. However, Cutthroat Island had a captivating story, well-rounded actors and a clear-cut vision, unlike Black Sails. After four episodes, it’s hard to determine if Black Sails is going to offer more than sex, blood and pirates or if a depth to the story is going to develop. Views may wonder if Black Sails is more than blood, boobs and sex, only time will tell.

By Deborah Baran

Hollywood Reporter

 

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