Black Sails : Season 1

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  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 25, 2014
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4
Black Sails Image
Metascore
58

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

User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 367 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

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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: 57 out of 69
  2. Negative: 7 out of 69
  1. Mar 7, 2014
    10
    I love this series! I can't wait for the next chapter to come each week! Granted.........I am a pirate at heart so I may be biased!!
    In my
    I love this series! I can't wait for the next chapter to come each week! Granted.........I am a pirate at heart so I may be biased!!
    In my youth I lived on a boat for a year so can sympathize
    a little with the pirate life.
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  2. Mar 2, 2014
    10
    Excellent show! Historically accurate and highly enjoyable escapist entertainment. Costumes and sets are amazing, I hope it returns forExcellent show! Historically accurate and highly enjoyable escapist entertainment. Costumes and sets are amazing, I hope it returns for further seasons. Expand
  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
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  4. Jan 26, 2014
    9
    Surprisingly good is the only way to describe the pilot. This thing actually has a plot and characters. I don't know what the critics wantSurprisingly good is the only way to describe the pilot. This thing actually has a plot and characters. I don't know what the critics want in a pirate series if not that. The (surprisingly democratic) pirate politics were also deep and deftly handled, Game of Thrones style. People keep bringing up the sex, but it's NOTHING by pay cable standards. We're talking brief flashes of R rated bits, so far at least. Somebody blew it by giving Black Sails ZERO promotion when it had the best pilot episode of the season. Expand
  5. Aug 1, 2014
    8
    I really like this show There are a few weaknesses. It loses focus around the middle. But the beginning and the end of the series wereI really like this show There are a few weaknesses. It loses focus around the middle. But the beginning and the end of the series were brilliant. However it was very annoying just how little seafaring we saw. They spent most of the season at nassau. They should have gone on a few little adventures. Exploring islands and other stuff. The story of nassau the character Eleanor Guthrie was a little irritating and in season 2 her storylines need serious work. But there were good moments too. Its a show that shows great promise. And needs a bit of work in the other storylines aside from the main quest. Expand
  6. Mar 7, 2014
    8
    The first two episodes of Black Sails are a bit of a chore to watch. So many characters and their sub-plots are thrown at you that it'sThe first two episodes of Black Sails are a bit of a chore to watch. So many characters and their sub-plots are thrown at you that it's difficult to even remember who some of them are, and you'll find yourself confused by their muddled-up background stories. The amount of gratuitous, pointless sex and nudity is borderline juvenile and, at times, actually outright comical in it's complete lack of importance or impact on the current situation. It comes across as if they're saying "Yeah, I imagine you people aren't following this very well, so here's a couple naked prostitutes to keep you from changing the channel". That being said, though, the show starts to steer away from that around the third episode, and by this point you're developing ties to the characters. The sub-plots sort themselves out, and the web of lies, tricks and personal/political agendas really get interesting. At first, I agreed with some of the more "mainstream" reviews out there, but I've really grown to enjoy the show and the direction they went with it. It's refreshing to see a pirate-themed show that understands that life for a pirate wasn't all cannon fire, rum and sword fights and doesn't insult your intelligence by sticking to the old "Arrgh me mateys!" pirate cliches. I'm interested to see where they go with this show in the future. Expand
  7. Dec 8, 2016
    0
    What a load of pretentious nonsense this is. I was so looking forward to watching this before I subscribed to Amazon Prime, especially as theWhat a load of pretentious nonsense this is. I was so looking forward to watching this before I subscribed to Amazon Prime, especially as the concept looked inviting, but it just goes to show that IMDb's ratings can sometimes be so wrong.

    Some of the acting is laughable: the Charles Vane character is right over the top. And "Long" John Silver doesn't look too long to me. Billy Bones looks like he's been in the gym too long, and the women all look like models from Playboy. And can Anne Bonney stop trying to look enigmatic all the time with that silly hat on?! At least Calico Jack seems real.

    The drama isn't credibly dramatic at all, and apart from a few London accents there aren't any Cornish/Devonshire etc accents at all: too many of these pirates sound like BBC newsreaders. It's obvious that a load of money has been thrown into this, however it would have been money well spent if they had hired some decent script writers rather than trying to make early 18th C Nassau look like Benidorm. Definitely for the American market.
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See all 69 User Reviews

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