blacksails

The golden age of piracy collides with encroaching civilization in four action-packed seasons of “Black Sails,” from Executive Producer Michael Bay. The action begins in 1715 on New Providence Island, lawless and overrun with history’s most notorious pirate captains. The most feared among them? The complicated, driven Captain Flint. Joined by Eleanor Guthrie, a smuggler’s beautiful daughter, Flint schemes to win the ultimate prize and keep his adversaries at bay. But enemies abound, in the form of the infamous Captain Charles Vane, the Royal Navy, Flint’s fellow cutthroats, his own inner demons, and an exiled legend whose name brings on the shivers – a man called Long John Silver.

Studio: STARZ/Anchor Bay
Year: 2018
Release Date: October 16, 2018
Run time: 2158 minutes
Rating: NR

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Disc Spec: 3 BD50
Region: A

 

Season 1

This show is a magnificent production. Detailed settings, costumes, and ships. Talented actors. A haunting introduction and a riveting score. Everything is well-done. A lot of care has been put into this show.

The writing is tight, the dialogue is convincing, and the plot twists in ways you might not expect. No one is altogether good or bad in this series, which makes sense considering we are dealing with pirates here. But the characterization is such that you will feel dirty for rooting for some characters and curious that you are rooting for others. Incredibly dark and conflicted characters abound here. There is only one truly “good” character so far, and I think he might be dead.

The history of pirates and privateers is truly brought to life. Incredibly violent life. So far I have seen the brutal, painful truth of warfare at sea. The bloody boardings. The cannonballs crashing through ship and crew alike, smashing both to pieces. Murder, rape, a man’s throat bitten open–it’s all in there. When this series brings the action, it brings it in a BIG way. When it displays the lack of humanity in characters, it does so in a big, revolting way.

Season 2

While season one was good (to me anyway) it was quite clearly setting the scene and introducing the characters for us. Whilst watching it, I kept thinking, ‘where’s the open sea, the tall ships and pirates behaving like pirates’ that was until near the end…then it was full steam ahead. Agreed, there is some nudity, but bear in mind that Black Sails is not a historical or educational program but it is based upon pirates and their lives, fictional lives that is. Also, it is made for entertainment, and it is not a Disney production like Pirates of the Caribbean. That said, the reproduction details of clothing, ships and weapons etc look very authentic.

Once you accept all of the above, then I’m sure that like me, you’ll become a fan of the show. Don’t get me wrong, I was a little hesitant with season one and wasn’t sure where it was going but now that the characters have developed a little and Captain Flint has his ship, this has become a ‘must watch’. The shipboard scenes are such that you can almost smell the salt of the Ocean and feel the ships hull lurching beneath you, whilst sailing through beautiful panoramas of the Caribbean.

Season 3

Season 3 begins, offering great promise. Taking place a number of months after the events that took place in season 2’s finale, the war for Nassua has begun. In addition, Black Beard is finally introduced. I’ve been waiting anxiously for his integration into the series since the very first episode of Black Sails. I have a feeling that Ray Stevenson (Black Beard) will be a great addition to the cast. As far as production value goes, Blacks Sails is not lacking. The CGI is on par with many mega-budget movies, probably second to only Game of Thrones. Starz certainly sees the potential that this series brings to their network, and has continued to improve upon it season after season. If you are a fan, you will be pleased to here that Season 4 has already been ordered.

Season 4

Last season of this fine series. Well written and acted. The story of Long John Silver and the pirates living and fighting in the Caribbean makes for a tail well worth watching. Life was not easy for most of the people in the islands which was fought over and ruled by England, France and Spain. Who controlled each of the islands was important to explain much of the story line. Putting all of the places and people into proper perspective was done with a great deal of thought to make the locations and dress typical of the times. The writers did an outstanding job of telling how each of the main characters lives would go on after the last chapter.

Movie Content: 9/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. I initially watched the whole series on STARZ broadcast television and then had the pleasure to view this in high definition on Blu-ray. The show got better and better in quality on the video front with each passing episode. ‘Black Sails’ encompasses the gritty atmosphere in content as it does on print. I found colors to be strong throughout the entire presentation. Blacks are deep. Fleshtones have a natural look and feel to them. Details are excellent throughout holding a very strong look and feel for this time piece show. The details in costumes and in the ships will really make you feel as if you are onboard the ships. Fans of the show will not be disappointed at all to own this collection on Blu-ray.
Video Quality: 9/10

The audio mix is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. This series has a nice mix between battle and dialogue driven scenes. This is can be an overly aggressive sound mix as one would expect during the ship battle sequences. Dialogue is centered properly through the center channel providing a nice deep clarity. During dialogue driven films, this is very important on the depth as I have seen with a few TrueHD mixes lacking dialogue depth.
Audio Quality: 9.5/10

Special Features

SEASON ONE:

  • “‘Black Sails’: An Inside Look” Featurette
  • “Dressed to Kill” Featurette
  • “Pirate Camp” Featurette
  • “Folklore Is Finished” Featurette
  • “A Place in History” Featurette
  • “Building the Behemoth” Featurette

SEASON TWO:

  • “Inside the World of ‘Black Sails'” Featurette
  • “Man O’War” Featurette
  • “Expanding Worlds” Featurette
  • “High Seas Action” Featurette
  • “History’s Influence” Featurette

SEASON THREE:

  • “Season Two Recap” Featurette
  • “Blackbeard: An 18th-Century Pirate” Featurette
  • “The Storm” Featurette
  • “A Pirate’s Last Words” Featurette
  • “Woodes Rogers” Featurette
  • “Inside the World of ‘Black Sails'” Featurette

SEASON FOUR:

  • “Inside the World of ‘Black Sails'” Featurette
  • “Creating the World” Featurette
  • “Roundtable: Women in Piracy” Featurette
  • “Roundtable: The Legends of Treasure Island” Featurette
  • “Roundtable: Fearless Fans” Featurette

Special Features: 9/10

Final Thoughts

I absolutely love Black Sails, and I’m sad the series has ended. It’s hard to adequately describe this series, but the tales of the pirates and the Caribbean islands is fascinating. The characters in the series are wonderful, the action is great, the scenery and the ships, oceans, waves, locations – everything was fantastic.
Overall Rating: 9/10