Black Sails : Season 1

  • Network: Starz
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 25, 2014
Season #: 1, 2, 3
Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 27
  2. Negative: 2 out of 27

Where To Watch

Stream On

Critic Reviews

  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: Andrea Reiher
    Jan 27, 2014
    80
    Four episodes in, Black Sails is actually spinning a cleverly-crafted tale of intrigue, secrets and deceit surrounding a race for an enormous cache of gold in a Spanish galleon.
  3. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Jan 24, 2014
    80
    While it looked like a Starz show, with all the pretty, naked people and bursts of horrific violence, it also felt like a show for grownups.
  4. 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.
  5. Reviewed by: Tom Long
    Jan 24, 2014
    75
    Alliances are made and broken, power shifts go this way and that, blood is spilled, and wenches keep wenching. It’s oddly addictive, and the cast--made up mostly of British, Australian and Canadian actors--is as sharp as you’d expect from pay cable.
  6. Reviewed by: Diane Werts
    Jan 23, 2014
    75
    Bloody pirate battles? Check. Graphic sex scenes? Check. Shoreside conniving/intrigue? Intense.
  7. 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.
  8. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Jan 27, 2014
    70
    While the series, which opens with a ship being boarded and taken, does have its moments of big, noisy action (see: Michael Bay, above), it spends a lot of time on land, as well, with the main characters taking care of business, making plans, laying traps and working on their surprisingly complicated personal relationships. There is also, tedious to relate, an abundance of female nudity.... Other than that, Black Sails' depiction of daily life among the pirates is plausibly authentic and workaday, and the Nassau through which they roam feels real and well-peopled.
  9. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Jan 21, 2014
    70
    Better dense than dumb, however, and the move by Black Sails into something unexpected--better acted and better written than you might have guessed--is its own little treasure.
  10. Reviewed by: Vicki Hyman
    Feb 13, 2014
    67
    The era is a rich vein to mine, and to their credit, the creators are light on pirate cliches--I do not believe one "aargh!" is uttered--but at the same time, there's a little too much emphasis on pirate economics and labor disputes than is necessary, and the sprawling cast and hierarchy a little hard to keep straight.
  11. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Jan 23, 2014
    63
    While its glimpses into the democratic world of piracy are interesting, Black Sails could cull a few plot barnacles and give viewers more action.
  12. Reviewed by: Gail Pennington
    Jan 23, 2014
    63
    Steinberg promises that Black Sails, with no parrots and no peg legs, will be pirate-cliché free. Unfortunately, the female characters don’t escape sexist stereotypes. And that keeps Black Sails from being as much fun as it might have been.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 339 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 70
  2. Negative: 10 out of 70
  1. 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
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 25, 2014
    10
    This show is well worth your time. It's is bloody and savage. The main character is educated but brutal when he needs to be. He is veryThis show is well worth your time. It's is bloody and savage. The main character is educated but brutal when he needs to be. He is very believable as a pirate captain. Full Review »
  3. Jan 25, 2014
    10
    I love the first episode, violence and sex. It could get worse and it could be better. There are some characters that are just not believable.I love the first episode, violence and sex. It could get worse and it could be better. There are some characters that are just not believable. I am looking forward to the next one. Full Review »