Over the last four years, Black Sails was the best show on tv that you probably didn’t even know existed.
If you don’t know what Black Sails is, I can’t really blame you. Black Sails is a pirate drama that has been on Starz for the last four years. The series is a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Black Sails explores the origins of the famous pirates and shows you how they came to be the pirates that they were. The development of the characters in Black Sails, particularly Long John Silver, was terrific.
I have consistently felt for at least a couple years now that Black Sails was the single most underrated show on tv. Shows like Game of Thrones and True Detective are known by everybody because HBO is more mainstream and has better advertising. It feels like everybody knows the big shows on HBO but not nearly as many people know any of the shows on Starz. You can find Game of Thrones content and products all over the place but I could probably count on one hand how many times I’ve seen Black Sails in a general setting. Even the Black Sails subreddit, a place for the series’ biggest fans, only holds a measly 8,259 subscribers (as of right now).
It probably didn’t help that Black Sails didn’t get off to a hot start. When the first season of the show released in 2014, I didn’t think I was going to make it through the whole thing. I distinctly remember how plodding and painful the first few episodes were and it took a long time to finally get any form of momentum going. But once the ball got rolling, it never stopped.
Both the writing and acting in Black Sails were of the highest quality. From Toby Stephens’ Captain Flint and Luke Arnold’s Long John Silver to Zach McGowan’s Charles Vane and Luke Roberts’ Woodes Rogers; the performances were superb. The dialogue throughout the series was heavy but excellent. There were so many great pairings of characters that added all kinds of interesting dynamics and resulted in exceptional conversations. It was a series entirely about big shot pirates trying to make deals and stab each other in the back repeatedly; who doesn’t love that? It was a series that always had you on your toes because just when you thought you knew what was going on, the tables were turned on you.
I wish Black Sails got the attention that it deserved while it was airing but it didn’t. The show’s finale aired last Sunday night and it was a great ending to a terrific tv series. If you’re into pirates or just good tv in general, find a way to watch this show. It’s just so damn good and it deserves all the attention it will ever get. Oh, and it has the greatest opening in the history of tv.