I’m going to miss Black Sails, and it didn’t really hit me until I had a chance to preview the first two episodes of the upcoming season just how much I’m going to miss it. While watching, it hit me that the series is more unique than people are giving it credit for, and certainly more unique than it appears at face value. I mean, after all, it is a show about pirates — how deep could it possibly get?That sentiment is common among its potential viewers, and if you skipped out on the first three seasons of Starz’s pirate drama, I can admit that the barrier to entry is quite high for watching Season 4 (especially since it premieres tomorrow night). Still, the first three seasons are gold for those pirate-loving mateys out there, and Season 4 puts the series on course for a proper series finale.
That sentiment is common among its potential viewers, and if you skipped out on the first three seasons of Starz’s pirate drama, I can admit that the barrier to entry is quite high for watching Season 4 (especially since it premieres tomorrow night). Still, the first three seasons are gold for those pirate-loving mateys out there, and Season 4 puts the series on course for a proper series finale.
The season starts out with an epic sea battle that sees the fate of one of our leading pirates in jeopardy, which reminds us how brutal this show can be. Obviously, it’s not going for the eye-popping (and unsettling) gore that The Walking Dead‘s latest season premiere had, but it still provides a hefty dosing of blood. The fights are well choreographed, with many great moments of tension and (mostly) equal parts resolve.
It’s a bit tough to properly discuss the Black Sails Season 4 premiere without getting spoilery, but what we can say is that there is some treachery among pirates in the finale season. There are also numerous story threads laid in the first couple of episodes, and there are a couple of new developments that we must’ve missed some time during the voyage between season 3 and season 4. Still, these threads are laid in a way that’s easy to digest, and you don’t feel lost when you’re watching.
Also worth noting is that it appears as though Season 4 could potentially take place entirely on land (after a brief bout at sea in episode 1). While I believe Black Sails is at its best when there are pirates at sea adventuring for treasure and raiding lone galleys found out at sea, what’s presented in the first two episodes looks to be just as action-packed. Sure, we get the duller story moments between Eleanor, Rogers and Max, but they’re (luckily) still not the focus of the series.
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In the first couple of episodes, it’s clear that Black Sails is basically more of the same — and that’s a good thing. Great, in fact. All too often shows get into their later seasons and lose what made viewers want to tune-in in the first place, and it feels like Black Sails isn’t going to do that.
We’re still getting the same multilayer characters we’ve grown to love and hate since season 1; we’re still getting the ultra-violent fights; we’re still getting sexy pirates. It’s more of the same, and again, that’s exactly what we want.
It’s really going to be tough to put a pretty bow on the short-lived series, though. It feels as though four seasons of Black Sails simply isn’t enough, regardless of how they’ll bring it to a close. With all of the rich pirate history and lore, we wish Black Sails could go on for a few more seasons to explore some of them and give their own twist (like they’ve done with John Silver, Blackbeard, etc). Hopefully, we can at least be presented with some sort of satisfying resolution for pirate life on Nassau. And what’s more, hopefully other networks will take notice that pirate dramas can work.
If you’re looking for some new TV shows to get into, check out our compendium of all of the new TV series on the way in 2017.
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