• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 25, 2014
Season #: 1, 2
Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 211 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Created by creator Jonathan Steinberg as a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island set in 1715, pirate Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) and his crew prepare to fight the British Royal Navy over New Providence Island with the help of Eleanor Guthrie (Hannah New), a daughter ofCreated by creator Jonathan Steinberg as a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island set in 1715, pirate Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) and his crew prepare to fight the British Royal Navy over New Providence Island with the help of Eleanor Guthrie (Hannah New), a daughter of a local smuggling kingpin. Expand
  • Genre(s): Drama, Action & Adventure
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 27
  2. Negative: 2 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Jeff Jensen
    Jan 17, 2014
    83
    Not even a guilty pleasure, Black Sails is arrrrrr-estingly good. [24 Jan 2014, p.65]
  2. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    Jan 21, 2014
    75
    A winsome opportunist (Luke Arnold), a ruthless captain (Toby Stephens) and a tough-talking tavern owner (Hannah New) are just a few of the colorful characters involved in a brutal power grab in the 18th century Bahamas.
  3. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Jan 24, 2014
    75
    Filmed in South Africa, Sails is awash in lush scenery, bloody expensive sets and brutal action. You’ve probably never seen a sword fight like the one that caps tonight’s episode.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd VanDerWerff
    Jan 23, 2014
    50
    Black Sails is a handsome illusion at times, but it rarely finds its way beyond that.
  5. Reviewed by: Jeff Korbelik
    Mar 27, 2014
    50
    The drama is nothing more than a video game, with a story secondary to the blood and sex.
  6. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Jan 24, 2014
    50
    The cast is stunning, the music enticing. Yet Black Sails lands too quickly on an island (shot in Cape Town) and the best parts of the spectacle--the open sea vistas and the claustrophobic shipboard scenes--run aground.
  7. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Jan 23, 2014
    30
    What's mystifying is why Starz and the creators of Black Sails seem to think that, given the expanding array of options available to consumers, any content creators can get away with peddling fare that can't even manage to be consistently mediocre.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 55
  2. Negative: 9 out of 55
  1. Mar 14, 2014
    10
    If you loved Spartacus then this by far a show you must watch !!!! Love the plots , characters, action ....great story line ....cant wait forIf you loved Spartacus then this by far a show you must watch !!!! Love the plots , characters, action ....great story line ....cant wait for a season II Expand
  2. Mar 12, 2014
    10
    Unless one makes the mistake to confuse Black Sails with a history lesson, it is one of the best shows currently produced. The characters allUnless one makes the mistake to confuse Black Sails with a history lesson, it is one of the best shows currently produced. The characters all have credible motive within the fictional setting and they act on it, which is more than most shows can boast.
    Casting, acting, dramaturgy, set and prop design are all spot on.
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  3. Jan 27, 2014
    10
    This is really a decent pirate show... If you like the style and atmosphere of Starz's Spartacus series you'll certainly fall in love withThis is really a decent pirate show... If you like the style and atmosphere of Starz's Spartacus series you'll certainly fall in love with this too - raw and real experience of a pirate's everyday life including brutality, violence, sex and nudity. Cast seems to be fine and especially Toby Stephens works quite well as Captain Flint. Visuals, music and costumes are amazing both on sea during the action as well as on the land. Big budget works pretty good and I have to admit that this shows looks very promising after the first episode.
    Hint: Don't take mainstream (full of unsound and empty arguments filled with "political correctness") reviews too seriously
    Expand
  4. Feb 9, 2014
    9
    Black Sails has a plot that has a clear end goal and every episode working towards that goal. Throw in some alliances/betrayals, a largeBlack Sails has a plot that has a clear end goal and every episode working towards that goal. Throw in some alliances/betrayals, a large budget, quality acting, and enough sexual content that anyone with any sexual desires can get into, you've got yourself a show that can be your not-so-guilty pleasure. Expand
  5. Mar 31, 2014
    8
    A show that provides plenty of pirate action, lush locales, and sexuality to the table, but rises above salaciousness to bring some genuinelyA show that provides plenty of pirate action, lush locales, and sexuality to the table, but rises above salaciousness to bring some genuinely interesting storylines. The characters are well-established fictional (and sometimes real) names from pirate lore, but are vividly presented. Captain Flint provides an interesting mix of cerebral politicking and brutal thuggery, but several other characters hold the screen well. none of them were actors I recognized, but notables include the pirates' enterprising female banker, and the shifty John Silver (apparently not Long yet). As befits the subject matter, no one seems really to be the good guy, and allegiances between characters shift frequently. The audience likewise is challenged about who they want to root for.

    The production values are high. It's odd that this is shot in South Africa rather than somewhere in the Caribbean, but it looks pleasant nonetheless. The ample grit and grime of the struggling criminals counterpoints the beauty of the beaches.

    The central narrative of the show is surprisingly high-minded; it's a battle for the soul of the New World, with the pirates having designs on an oddly democratic (if debauched) new society, while seemingly coming to terms with the inevitability of their failure in the face of imperial powers. That being said, plenty of small-scale character issues are portrayed as well. There is ample material on gender and racial issues, and the culture as a whole feels reflective of reality, if heightened by dramatic conceit. Unlike with a certain pirate franchise, I don't see undead creatures popping up any time soon.

    The show succeeds in capturing what's so classic and irresistible about pirates, while bringing some new intrigue to the table. Good thing it was renewed for a second season the first came out.
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  6. Jan 30, 2014
    7
    As far as pirate TV dramas go, this one is unparalleled in quality. Mostly because it has no competition. But the pilot was well directed andAs far as pirate TV dramas go, this one is unparalleled in quality. Mostly because it has no competition. But the pilot was well directed and well acted. And the central is ambitious and interesting. A major complaint could be the lack of action and scenes shot in the sea, but the scenes on land were interesting too, so far as one is interested in the politics that go into running a pirate ship. I'll continue watching because it really is beautiful (the scenes at sea are really well done) and the world feels authentic, and not so much for the central plot. Expand
  7. Feb 25, 2015
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I sort of enjoyed this for a few episodes, but the recent writing is just awful. Richard Guthrie has an unbelievable metamorphosis from an ass to a caring father, not believable. And Captain Flint with a gay affair? Please. I know the writer must be gay, but does that mean everyone else in the world has to swing from your side of the plate. It was bad enough when Anne Bonney had to be a lesbian or bisexual or whatever. So I guess we just get one dimensional writing where every character has gender identity issues. Ms Barlow explains to us that Flint is a violent pirate blowing up the fort because he feels guilt about his gay affair? ROTFL. And then Rackham has to make a choice between Max and Anne because the crew can accept one but not two women? LOL - how contrived. Guess the writing room has writers block, so they are definitely mailing it in for season two. Didn't take long to jump the shark, just barely into season 2 and it is no longer worth watching. Expand

See all 55 User Reviews

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