Black Sails: Season 1 (Blu-ray)
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Review of "Black Sails: Season 1 (Blu-ray)"
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Black Sails is an American historical adventure television series set on New Providence Island and a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island. The series was created by Jonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine for Starz. It debuted online for free on YouTube and other various streaming platform and video on demand services on January 18, 2014] The debut on cable television followed a week later on January 25, 2014. Me and my boyfriend came across this TV Series on Amazon where we were browsing to try and find something to watch. We actually watched this season last year and continued to watch the others, so we have now seen every single episode and season. There is a total of four seasons, the 4th which was shown in April this year. This TV series isn’t available on Netflix. I am a member of Amazon Prime so we were able to watch this series for free. Series one is a short season with just 8 episodes, so once we started one episode, it didn’t take us long to finish the whole first season, which we watched over the course of a very cold, wet weekend!
Black Sails is set roughly two decades before the events of Treasure Island and during the Golden Age of Piracy. Feared Captain Flint brings on a younger crew member as they fight for the survival of New Providence island. According to the first episode, "In 1715 West Indies, the pirates of New Providence Island threaten maritime trade in the region. The laws of every civilized nation declare them ‘hostis humani generis’, enemies of all mankind. In response, the pirates adhere to a doctrine of their own war against the world." Real life pirates who are fictionalized in the show include Anne Bonny, Benjamin Hornigold, Jack Rackham, Charles Vane, Ned Low, Israel Hands and Blackbeard. The plot of the first season focuses on the hunt for the Spanish treasure galleon Urca de Lima.
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This series is exclusive to Amazon, and Amazon Prime members can watch this for free. You can purchase Season One on DVD for £5.80 or on Blu-ray for £18.00 from Amazon.
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• Toby Stephens as James McGraw/Flint
• Hannah New as Eleanor Guthrie
• Luke Arnold as "Long" John Silver
• Jessica Parker Kennedy as Max
• Tom Hopper as William "Billy Bones" Manderly
• Zach McGowan as Charles Vane
• Toby Schmitz as Jack Rackham
• Clara Paget as Anne Bonny
• Mark Ryan as Hal Gates
• Hakeem Kae-Kazim as Mr. Scott
• Sean Cameron Michael as Richard Guthrie
• Louise Barnes as Miranda Hamilton/Barlow
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• Episode 1:” I” – This episode starts off with plenty of action straight away as two ships battle against each other. The first main character we meet is John Silver when he joins Captain Flint’s crew as the ships new cook. We already know that John Silver isn’t a cook and that he is holding a valuable page of the Captain’s log, as we see him steal it from a cook on the other ship. Right from the start John Silver comes across as a very crafty person and he seems to be very clever and knows what he is doing. I have to admit that I was a little surprised at the amount of nudity during one specific scene. Eleanor Guthrie comes across as a rather tough woman who knows exactly what she wants. Max works in the local whore house and she is a lady who also knows how to get what she wants. She is a very strong woman to which John Silver finds out, when she finds his hidden Captain’s Log. We also meet Charles Vane in this episode as well. Miss Guthrie clearly isn’t happy to see him when she punches him in the face. The end of this episode is rather tense when Captain Flint realizes that a page has been taken from the Captains Log. There is a rather violent fighting scene towards the end of this episode.
• Episode 2: “II”- The beginning of this episode starts off with nudity as Eleanor and Max have spent the night together. John Silver starts to worry that the original cook from Flint’s ship knows that he has stolen the Captain’s Log and he gets very nervous about this. When Flint and Billy Bones on the ship suspect John Silver, he has no choice but to jump overboard into the sea so he can get away. Charles Vane isn’t too impressed when he finds out that Rackham has almost cleared their reserves so he can purchase the Captain’s Log from John Silver. John Silver and Max are forced to hide in the brothel as Captain Vane, Rackham and Bonney and determined to get hold of the missing page in the hunt for the ‘Urca de Lima’. John Silver asks Max to meet her so they can disappear together from the island. Max has strong feelings for Eleanor; how-ever it’s obvious that Eleanor and Max asks her to decide on wealth or love. Max is upset by Eleanor’s answer but will Max still go with John Silver anyway and disappear from the island?• Episode 3: “III” – Captain Flint wakes up in a small house to which Miranda Hamilton/Barlow owns. This is the first time we meet Miranda, whom comes across as a kind and caring lady. It comes across as quite obvious that maybe Flint and Miranda may have had some sort of relationship in the past. Billy and John Silver don’t seem to get on very well when they have to work together. Billy isn’t happy that someone else was blamed and killed for Silver having the Captain’s Log. Eleanor goes to her father to ask him for help with the business and tells him that she thinks they need a new partner. Richard Guthrie how-ever seems to be very reluctant to help which infuriates Eleanor. Flint goes to Captain Hornigold to seek help and to borrow his ship in the search of the ‘Urca de Lima’. Hornigold agrees that they can borrow his ship. When a captain’s meeting is held to strike a deal, Eleanor is impressed by Vane’s voice of reason, little does she know that Rackham is the one whom has convinced Vane to go to meeting and remain calm. It’s obvious Vane and Eleanor have a bit of a thing for each other; how-ever her mind is changed very quickly when Vane’s crew commit something she can’t forgive them for. This is when we see a different side to Captain Vane, one that comes across as quite surprising. There is a scene of violence towards the end of this episode.
• Episode 4: “IV” – This episode starts off with Captain Gates ship the crew have to decide on a new quarter master to which Gates suggests ‘Billy Bones’ which they all agree on. Flint becomes angry with Miranda and Miranda tells Flint how she is feeling. Although Flint and Miranda are obviously in a relationship with each other, it’s not yet quite clear on what has happened in the past with Miranda. A new character appears in this episode that we haven’t seen before and Vane seems shocked and also a little scared to see him. Eleanor turns to her father for help when Captain Bryson arrives in New Providence. Eleanor wants the cannon that is aboard his supply ship and for protection in the search for ‘Urca de Lima’; how-ever he denies her so she has no choice but to ask for her father’s help. John Silver is trying to work his way into the crew further by trying to turn Flint against some of his crew; how-ever Captain Flint tells him that he trusts Billy Bones more than he will ever trust him! Anna is angry with Rackham because he won’t let Max go and little does he know that she has been stopping men going to her. There is some swearing in this episode and one sex scene.• Episode 5: “V” – Flint asks Billy Bones whether he trusts him and tells Billy that he wants him to be completely honest with him before Flint and his crew play a deadly game of naval warfare when they engage Captain Bryson and his crew on the open sea to gain precious cargo. Eleanor is angry with her father when her father makes an announcement to the locals about his assets being liquidated. This causes a mob to riot against Eleanor who goes to Hornigold for help. Rackham and Vane become owners of the local brothel. When Bonny goes to see Max, she confides in her about her past with men. From this point, Max sees a different side to Bonny, despite Max blaming partly blaming her for what has happened to her. There is some swearing in this episode, although not as much as other episodes. This episode is full of plenty of action. Some of this action does include some shooting so there are some bloody scenes.
• Episode 6: “VI” – When Max wakes up in the middle of the night she is surprised to see Bonny sitting outside the tent and is taking a stand against Hamund and his men from doing further harm to Max. When this gets back to Rackham, he’s not very happy and he tells her to pull herself together before something happens to her. Billy learns more about Captain Flint and Mrs. Barlow, when he finds a letter asking for a pardon for Flint’s murderous actions aboard the ‘Maria Aleyne’. Bonny turns to Eleanor for help whom then in turn goes to John silver to help form a plan. Things get violent when Flint loses some of his crew to the Bryson’s men whom are being held chained up in the hull. Some of the scenes on the ship are quite bloody and violent. This episode had a very interesting ending to it, so interesting that it made me want to watch the next one pretty much straight away.• Episode 7: “VII” – Randell tries to get Silver in trouble when he tells others that Silver is a thief, which puts Silver in tight spot with the new quartermaster. When Mr. Scott tries to explain his previous actions to Eleanor and Eleanor comes down on him hard, he decides that he no longer wants anything to do with her partnership with Flint, so he becomes part of Captain Hornigold’s crew. We get to meet the man from Vanes past. This character comes across as slightly scary and someone that is not to be messed around with. Captain Flint has to tell Gates about Mrs. Barlow when he questions Flint about Billy’s disappearance. Vane managed to borrow men from the man from his past; how-ever this doesn’t quite go to plain when he ends up fighting a battle to death. In this particular scene of the film there is some violence and some blood. Captain Flint and Mrs. Barlow come to blows when they have a big argument. She wants nothing more than to move away; how-ever Flint doesn’t seem to want to. Max steps in and helps Rackham to run the brothel when she realizes that the girls in the brothel are lying about what they are earning, so that they can pocket the money themselves. It’s nice to see Max back to her normal self and to her normal character.
• Episode 8: “VIII” – The first scene in this episode is at the whore house, so expect to see some nudity for a short amount of time. Rackham isn’t happy with what Mrs. Mapleton has been taking from the profits; how-ever when he tries to tell her that she is no longer able to take what she does, Mrs. Mapleton threatens Rackham. Max steps in to help Rackham and between them they dismiss Mrs. Mapleton. Silver tells Flint the schedule in the hunt for the ‘Urca de Lima’, however Flint isn’t yet sure whether he can trust Silver yet or not. Things get serious, when a group of men take over Hornigold’s fort and start sinking the supply ships in the bay. Naturally everyone, especially Eleanor is worried and have no idea who has taken over the fort. Captain Vane returns and wants to make a deal with Eleanor; how-ever will Eleanor give in to his demands? There are plenty of twists and turns in this episode as well as very good action scenes. There is also a large fight scene as well which is rather bloody and violent. The way this series ended, makes you want to start watching the next one to see what happens.= = = = =
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I would personally say that all the characters in this series are quite strong. John Silver is definitely the smartest and you can tell that he knows exactly what he is doing. He comes up with ideas that he, himself will benefit from. He is a very likeable character and one that you can’t really dislike. Captain Flint is a very strong character; although he does have a violent side to him which we see early on in the series. Despite this though, he does come across as a caring man sometimes and wants the best for him and his crew. Eleanor Guthrie is trying her best to keep things together but there are times when she struggles with things and she wants nothing more than her father’s help; how-ever he refuses to help her which infuriates her. It’s fairly obvious that she has some feelings for Vane as well as having feelings for Max. I like Eleanor, she’s a likeable character. I like Max as a character. She’s very strong willed and knows how to get her own way. There is something attractive about Charles Vane, probably the fact that he is a bit if a bad boy and isn’t bad looking which is what attracts me to him; how-ever he can also be a very nasty man and this is revealed very early on in the series, particularly in episode three. Bonny and Rackham are very close and it’s obvious that Bonny has feelings for Rackham; how-ever he doesn’t seem to see this and if he does he always chooses to ignore it. Bonny can be a quiet character but she’s not someone to get on the wrong side of. I really like Bonny and she’s actually, probably one of my favorite characters out of everyone in this series.
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There are plenty of special effects through-out this series, particularly shooting and scenes where they are explosions. These scenes are done very well and look very realistic. As well as explosions and shooting there are fighting scenes as well which are rather bloody and the make-up and special effects used for these are also very good. Some of the scenes are extremely bloody and graphic and they have very done well to make these look realistic.
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• On Rotten Tomatoes Season One holds a rating of 6% based on 44 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10. The site's consensus reads, "Black Sails boasts visual appeal, but the show's bland characters aren't strong enough to keep the show from being dragged down into its murky depths of aimless exposition".
• On Metacritic season one has a score of 58 of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
• On IMDB Season One has a rating of 8.3/10 rated by 69,006 users.
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As soon as me and my boyfriend watched episode one of this series, we were glued to it. There was a little more nudity than we imagined in the series and we didn’t expect to see quite so much nudity in the series; how-ever when you have watched a couple of episodes, your no longer surprised by it. The nudity in the series aren’t for long periods, but expect to see boobs a fair bit throughout this series. The storyline/plot to the series is brilliant and I think everyone does a fantastic job at playing their characters. As with all TV series, some characters are more likeable than others. There is a lot of violence and some bloody scenes in the series, and in almost every episode there is some sort of violence, although there is more violence in some episodes than others. I found the storyline easy to follow and the more episodes you watch the more you learn about the different characters and as the series goes on we see different sides to some of the characters as well. Some of the characters aren’t as nice as what you might first think. This TV series obviously isn’t going to be to everyone’s tastes especially if you don’t like watching anything too violent or bloody and don’t like a lot of nudity.
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Creators: Robert Levine, Jonathan E Steinberg
Running Time: 56min (Each Episode)
Product Information : Black Sails: Season 1 (Blu-ray)
Manufacturer's product description
Franchise Name: Black Sails
DVD Region: Blu-ray
Actor: Toby Stephens; Luke Arnold; Hannah New; Jessica Parker Kennedy
Classification: 18 years and over
Production Year: 2014
Listed on Ciao since: 23/10/2014