[[quoteright:259:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/teaser_poster_for_black_sails_4328.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:259:A pirate's life for me.]]
BlackSails is a [[CostumeDrama historical drama]] airing on Starz, produced by Creator/MichaelBay (but don't let that deter you) and created by Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine. A prequel to ''TreasureIsland'', the series focuses on Captain Flint, his allies and his rivals during the Golden Age of piracy. It's meant to be a good deal DarkerAndEdgier than ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' and its like, and take up the mantle of Starz's signature show after ''[[Series/SpartacusBloodAndSand Spartacus]]'' reached its end.

The series became extremely buzzy after the airing of the pilot at Comic Con, and thus was given a second season order well before the first began. Though it was technically set to premiere on January 25 (before the editing of this page) Starz released the pilot a week early through specific outlets.

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!!Tropes:

* ActionGirl: Anne Bonny and Eleanor Guthrie.
* ALighterShadeOfBlack: Flint is this to Vane. Vane is this to Ned Low, who exists primarily to show that yes, there are pirates considerably worse than Charles Vane, which helps to swing Vane's growing status as an anti-villain.
* AManIsAlwaysEager: Being a Starz production, usually {{played straight}}. Sometimes horrifyingly straight.
** {{Averted}}, on a couple of occasions, amazingly enough as both Flint and Jack have sex with their (female) partners, despite being less enthusiastic about those particular proceedings than said partners. Its clear that they are doing it for their partners in that instance.
* AnachronismStew: Rackham's sunglasses are pure RuleOfCool, befitting the man [[http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/02/02/black-sails-ii-review IGN]] called a "Nassau hipster."
* ApologeticAttacker: Flint kills [[spoiler:Gates]], whispering his apologies and looking genuinely distraught while he does it.
** A variant. When the bulk of his crew is taken from him and his influence is all but destroyed, [[spoiler: Charles Vane]] seeks out his one-time captor Albinus, who has retired from piracy and set his own crew to work harvesting and selling timber. He convinces Albinus to loan him a dozen men, and then plays on the crew's discontent in an attempt to shame the rest into joining him as well. Albinus administers a terrible beating and, just before dealing the coup-de-grace, leans down and tells [[spoiler: Vane]] "I'm proud of you."
* ArtisticLicenceHistory: Some liberties are taken with chronology.
** Hornigold apparently knows about the collapse of the Jacobite rebellion and James' flight to France approximately nine months before James even got to Scotland in the first place.
** Anne Bonny is a key member of Charles Vane's crew, and the lover of his quartermaster Jack Rackham, in 1715. Historically Rackham and Bonny didn't meet until 1718, by which time [[spoiler: he was a captain in his own right]]. She may never have met Vane.
*** In 1715, she was probably still Anne Cormac; her husband James Bonny is nowhere to be seen in the series. Also, she has a Cockney accent and seems much more working-class than the well-spoken Rackham: in real life, Mary Read was the Cockney one - Bonny was a wealthy lawyer's daughter from Ireland.
** The pirate colony seems well established and even beginning to decay in 1715, when in fact it was just getting started.
** Season 2 features [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Low Captain Ned Low]] as an antagonist; Low's pirating career didn't begin until 1721, and he didn't become a captain until 1722. [[spoiler: He also wasn't killed by Charles Vane.]]
* BadassBeard: Flint wouldn't be the same without his waxed 'stache and beard, whereas in [[spoiler: Season 2 flashbacks he is a clean-shaven Royal Navy officer]]
** The pirate who may or may not be [[spoiler: Blackbeard]] has a huge one.
* BaldBlackLeaderGuy: Mosiah, who seems to speak for a sizable number of the black members of Flint's crew [[spoiler: until Captain Vane murders him]].
* BatmanGambit: At the end of the pilot, Flint devises such a plan to stop Singleton's attempt to seize captaincy. [[spoiler: He notices that someone was in his quarters and must have fiddled with Vazquez's log, so he presents Singleton as the culprit before his crew. He knows that Singleton will choose a duel rather than a trial by the crew. After he kills Singleton, he pretends to find the missing log page on the corpse and hands a blank page to Billy Bones as 'proof'. At this moment, he has no guarantee that Bones will support him since Bones, over the course of a night, has pulled a gun on him, called him out on his crap and openly wondered if Singleton shouldn't be captain. Flint hopes that with Singleton dead, Bones will see no other choice but to lie for him. Flint is correct. ]]
* BeautyIsNeverTarnished: {{Downplayed}} {{aversion}}. After Vane punches Eleanor, she has a bruise on her cheek for the rest of the episode, and the one after that. It isn't very large, but it's indicated Vane didn't hit her as hard as he could have.
* BigBad: Captain Vane appears to be shaping up to be this.
* BirdsOfAFeather: Flint and Eleanor. Both proud, driven and (most likely) unhinged given their obsession with achieving their goals. They're also TheNotLoveInterest to each other, as their reliance on each other makes up the crux of the storyline.
* BiTheWay: According to Hannah New, Eleanor and Max are most likely this or pansexual. [[spoiler:Anne Bonny]] ends up bedding Max as well. Later we see that [[spoiler:Flint and Hamilton]] also had a sexual relationship.
* BodyHorror: The syphilitic pirate whose [[{{Squick}} face is rotting away]]...
* {{Bowdlerize}}: The preview version has all of the swearing muted and all of the nudity and blood blurred out.
* CradlingYourKill: [[spoiler: Flint snaps Gates's neck when he goes to reveal Flint's deception to the crew, possibly costing him the Urca. Flint clearly didn't want to kill Gates, but felt he had to. Afterwards, he holds Gates's body and cries because of how much the treasure is costing him.]]
* CruelMercy: In the finale, [[spoiler:Vane decides to let Rackham and Bonny live rather than have them killed for killing their own crew-mates. Instead, he'll tell everyone what they did, ensuring no one will ever sail with them again. They'll simply have to run a whorehouse, and never be pirates again.]]
* CurbStompBattle: In the finale. [[spoiler: Flint manipulates the Spanish Man o' War into a perfect position to take several volleys of cannon-fire from both the front and aft by the ''Walrus'' and the ''Ranger''. The Man o' War takes everything they have, and then simply turns around and blasts both of them to pieces in seconds. Flint knew this would happen, and was trying to disable its rudder to prevent it.]]
* DarkerAndEdgier: Than more recent pirate fare.
* DeadpanSnarker: Jack Rackham, particularly during the negotiation between Flint and Vane.
* DemocracyIsFlawed: Pirate crews operate as a democracy with their leaders elected and any major decisions voted on by all crew members openly. A lot of conflict on the show stems from this, and it means that captains like Flint and Vane have to be very careful about their crews' wishes. Flint almost gets replaced as captain in the first episode because he tried to maintain secrecy about the treasure galleon. Rackham gets in serious trouble with his crew because he lost a lot of their money and even Vane will not be able to protect him if the crew votes to punish Rackham. Even a captain as feared and respected as Vane [[spoiler: loses his crew and ship when Eleanor tells his crew that they will not be allowed to join in the treasure raid if Vane is their captain]]. Eleanor's plans to maintain her power base on the island run into major problems because even captains friendly to her fear that they will not be able to sell her scheme to their crews. Billy experiences this on a matter as silly as having prostitutes present on the beach when the ship is beached for careening and repairs. They cannot afford the distraction but the crew outvotes him.
* DidntSeeThatComing[=/=]OutGambitted: [[spoiler: Eleanor Gutherie manages to masterfully create her own empire, with a consortium of captains as her allies. Then in the finale, Vane storms the fort with a consortium of psychos no one even knew about, and manages to ensure he is her top partner.]]
* DirtyCoward: The cook on the merchant ship in the beginning episode obviously thinks of John Silver like this, although Silver sees himself as an opportunist. The cook is a hypocrite because he himself is hiding and abstaining from the fighting on the pretext that he is a cook and thus it is not his job to fight.
* DoomedByCanon: The fates of [[HistoricalDomainCharacter Historical Domain characters]] Charles Vane, "Calico" Jack Rackham, and Anne Bonny. [[note]] Vane will be arrested in 1720, and then hanged in 1721. Rackham and Bonny will be captured in 1720; Rackham will be hanged, but Bonny will live to die of old age in 1782. If Mary Read appears, she will die during childbirth in 1720.[[/note]]
** Given that John Silver eventually becomes Captain Flint's Quartermaster, things don't look good for his current Quartermaster Gates. [[spoiler: And they're not-Flint killed him.]]
** Averted with [[spoiler: Ned Low, who was last heard of in 1724 rather than decapitated by Vane in episode "XI"-Vane himself had been hanged by then.]]
* EndOfAnEra: The time for the pirates of New Providence Island is running out. A British warship has arrived in the Caribbean [[spoiler: with an arrest warrant for Robert Guthrie]]. Without a safe haven on the island and the ability to sell their loot through the Guthries, the pirates will not be able to maintain their ships or pay the crews. Flint has predicted this long ago and is pursuing the treasure galleon as a way to raise enough funds to avert or at least manage the coming disaster. Gates supports the plan as OneLastJob before he has to give up piracy. Eleanor is about to lose her freedom and independence so she does not hesitate to throw her support behind them.
* EveryoneIsBi: So far there's Eleanor Guthrie, Max, [[spoiler:Anne Bonny, Captain Flint, and Lord Thomas Hamilton]].
* FateWorseThanDeath: Referenced almost by name. When [[spoiler: Captain Vane]] discovers that his former quartermaster's lover dragged him into a plot to kill the last remaining members of [[spoiler: Vane]]'s crew, he decides to let the quartermaster live. After all, everyone already knows he betrayed his sworn brothers because of a woman; the quartermaster will never sail beneath the black again, which [[spoiler: Vane]] reckons will "sting worse than death."
* FriendInTheBlackMarket: The Guthrie family are this.
* FollowTheLeader: Despite its grittier aspirations, it probably wouldn't have been greenlit without [[PiratesOfTheCaribbean POTC's]] success.
* ForegoneConclusion: The plot of the first season of BlackSails revolves around the crew of the ''Walrus'' trying to track down and capture an extremely rich Spanish treasure vessel. This is the same treasure that TreasureIsland revolves around.
* FullFrontalAssault: [[spoiler: Charles Vane]] is [[CurbstompBattle mercilessly beaten]], buried alive, and left for dead. He climbs out of his hole in the dead of night and, naked and covered in mud, stabs [[spoiler: Albinus]] to death and [[YouKillItYouBoughtIt assumes command of his crew]].
* GambitRoulette: The scheme to capture the treasure galleon is dependent on dozens of different things going right and a single failure can derail everything. Flint {{lampshades}} this to Billy when they are chasing the Andromache and he tells him that there is a one-in-three chance at best that they find their prey on the open sea and if they do find it, they have to catch it and then defeat its crew. If they cannot do so, the rest of the plan becomes moot since they need the Andromache's guns.
* GoodScarsEvilScars: Mosiah's black crew mates all seem to have extensive ritual scarring, and support Flint (at least after being bribed by Gates). Singleton challenges Flint's authority and wants to be voted in as captain, and also has many terrible scars across his face. Of course, since they're all pirates (and supporting or opposing Flint doesn't necessarily make one good or evil) this is all rather ambiguous.
* GuileHero: John's method of operation.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Take a shot for everyone who's also in AssassinsCreedIVBlackFlag-Charles Vane, Benjamin Hornigold, "Calico" Jack Rackham, and Anne Bonny. [[spoiler: And it's been confirmed that Season 3 will introduce Blackbeard himself.]]
* HistoricalPlotArmor: The real-life Hornigold eventually went to work for the British as a pirate hunter and died in a shipwreck during a hurricane. Also Rackham and Anne Bonny are immune until Mary Read arrives.
** Averted with [[spoiler: Ned Low. While the real Low's fate is unknown, given that the bulk of his pirating career happened after Vane was hanged (and didn't even start until after Vane's arrest), it's safe to say that in real life, he wasn't killed by Charles Vane as he was in the show.]]
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: There is no doubt that the real Anne Bonny was a badass and a pirate. A taciturn DualWielding killing machine, though? Not so much.
* HonestyIsTheBestPolicy: In the season 2 premiere, when Silver and Flint are caught in their attempt to capture the Spanish warship, the officer of the watch offers a reward of gold to whichever one of them will tell him who they are, what they hoped to accomplish, and how many more of them there are. Silver immediately answers all of the above truthfully, collects his gold... and brains the officer with a large [[GrievousBottleyHarm bottle]] as soon as his back is turned.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: In episode five the ''Walrus's'' marksman is able to hit with two out of three shots using a flintlock musket, at a range of several hundred yards, from one moving ship to another. Improbable doesn't really cover it.
** Not really that improbable. Rifled Muskets were in use during that period... primarily as hunting weapons, but also in the hands of military sharpshooters and specialist formations. A flintlock long rifle had an effective range of at least 250 meters. Their drawback was that (until the invention of the Minie ball) reloading a rifle took well over a minute, while a trained musketman was expected to fire 3 rounds per minute. The shot in question is difficult, but would not outside the capabilities of a Kentucky rifle in the hands of an expert.
* TheLadette: Definitely Anne Bonny, and Eleanor to a degree.
* LovableRogue: John Silver seems to be attempting to invoke this trope. Nobody actually likes him, though, and his cunning plans only fall through half the time on account of people not being complete idiots. In practice he's more of an opportunistic BunnyEarsLawyer.
* MasculineGirlFeminineBoy: Flamboyant thinker Rackham and gruff fighter Anne.
* NotSoSafeHarbour: Nassau.
* OhCrap: Several of these during the finale.
** Flint and the crew of the Walrus as the giant Spanish man'o'war prepares to unleash a fifty-gun broadside on their ship.
** Rackham and Anne, twice. First when they hear someone has taken over the fort with them very much suspecting who was responsible, and than when Vane shows up in the brothel.
* OutlawCouple: Rackham and Anne, in line with their historical backgrounds.
* OnlySaneMan: Billy Bones and Gates support Flint but think his plan is somewhat crazy. Mr. Scott fills a similar role for Eleanor, trying to discourage her from loaning money to Gates because pirates are a poor investment.
* PlotArmor: As long as the series treats TreasureIsland as canon, any characters named in the book will have this until the book says otherwise.
* RapeAsDrama: Max is raped by one of Vane's crewmen, but since it happens when she's being taken away by Rackham to be murdered, this actually saves her life. He [[KarmaHoudini rapes her again]] the next episode.
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: Hamund is established as a particularly horrible bastard by the fact that he makes a point to rape Max, despite having just been told she'll make it more enjoyable if it's consensual.
** When Vane takes Abigail hostage he warns her guard in veiled but clear terms that she's not to be raped.
* SettingUpdate: A rare reverse example, in that it pushes the setting of TreasureIsland BACK in time. WordOfGod is that the show begins about twenty years before the timeframe of the novel - which would place the events of ''Treasure Island'' about 1735; the book is in fact set in 1760. (It's understandable that they'd want to bring in all the famous pirates who were around in the 1710s, though.)
* ShoutOut /CallForward: As a prequel to TreasureIsland, it has several to the book-notably that John Silver's job on the ship is as ship's cook, much like his position in the novel.
** Billy the bosun's full name is listed as being Billy Bones, the pirate whom Jim Hawkins gets the treasure map from at the beginning of the book.
* TheyReallyDoLoveEachOther: Anne Bonny and Jack Rackham would have to be the strangest OddCouple of all time, but it's clear with each passing episode that they're devoted to each other. One of Bonny's {{batman gambit}}s relies almost entirely on her faith that Rackham would choose her over the rest of the crew.
* AThreesomeIsHot: [[spoiler:Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny and Max]].
* ThreesomeSubtext: [[spoiler:Captain Flint, Miranda and her husband. Each has been intimate with the other two, though not necessarily at the same time]].
* TortureAlwaysWorks: Completely averted.
--> '''John Silver:''' “Torture won't work. I have an extremely low tolerance for pain. I'll say ''anything'' to make it stop.”
* VillainProtagonist: Probably Captain Flint and definitely John Silver, according to [[TreasureIsland canon]]. Probably every pirate, in all honesty.
* WouldHitAGirl: After Eleanor punches him, Vane floors her with a right cross. The conversation that follows makes it clear that this was necessary to maintain his authority with his crew, but he shows absolutely no hesitation or regret.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: John Silver [[GenreSavvy refuses to tell Flint the Urca's entire course, convinced Flint will kill him if he does.]] When Flint points out he could do that once they ''do'' capture the Urca, Silver comments he's hoping "they'll be friends by that point". Ultimately Silver proves useful to Eleanor, so she tells Flint she expects Silver to survive.
** As of the end of episode 7, [[spoiler:the crew, headed by [[BadassBookworm Dufresne]], the new quartermaster, decide to kill Flint after the Urca's prize is captured. This is shared with Mr. Gates, who, in light of his recent misgivings with the captain, [[HeelFaceTurn consents to the plan.]] ]]