Reviews: Black Sails

Sqwark! Pieces of Shit! Pieces of Shit!

Among other things, the 2010s will be known as a decade of gritty franchise prequels that no one ever asked for. I think the high water mark for this is Gotham (aka Batman Villains Before They Were Interesting), however Black Sails has a good go at giving us a flimsily connected and largely superfluous prequel to Treasure Island.

Treasure Island was a book for children about an adventurous boy, some buried treasure, and a mono pedal pirate. Black Sails has none of those things. The show goes for that puerile HBO style of constant nudity, so it avoids having any children on the cast. I'm most of the way through the second series, and the treasure in question is still leagues away from pirate control. John Silver is in it at least, but he has both legs for now, and has yet to change his accent from received pronunciation to a hammy Bristol growl.

Being a character driven drama, characters are this shows highest and lowest point, in that each character is interesting in their own equally ludicrous way. Whether it is Captain Flint, who sounds a little too much like Withnail for me to take seriously, or Captain Vane, who seems to have swapped his vocal cords for tractor parts, or Notkeiraknightley, whose constant effing and jeffing sadly fails to disguise how bloody awful her dialogue is.

I have a general rule that ignoring the source material is fine for a show, as long as they give us a reasonably entertaining alternative. Black Sails is consistently trash. Childish, meandering, stilted trash. And yet I still find it interesting enough to keep watching. Maybe its because I just can't get enough of period settings, or maybe I am kept hooked by the lingering promise that this might someday start to take the shape of something familiar to that great adventure story.

Either way, I'm stuck with it but you don't have to be. Save your time for binge watching other shows.