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162 Reviews
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103 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait.
I've been following the US response to this new Pirate drama the reaction has been generally good, so it's great to see Amazon investing in it. As with many modern historical dramas compromises with accuracy have been made, the characters have a contemporary edge in keeping with the needs of a modern audience but performances are uniformly excellent. Toby Stephens is not...
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer

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3.0 out of 5 stars Black Sails...Potential that deserves a second series
Black Sails does require effort to get past the first two episodes as it gathers pace and introduces us to the characters. Having fictional characters from literature aswell as genuine pirates such as Anne Bonny and Charles Vane, we get a good mix of history and creative license. The character of John Silver here quite annoyed me at first but he grows into a lovable rogue...
Published 11 days ago by Naomi_B


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103 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait., 4 April 2014
I've been following the US response to this new Pirate drama the reaction has been generally good, so it's great to see Amazon investing in it. As with many modern historical dramas compromises with accuracy have been made, the characters have a contemporary edge in keeping with the needs of a modern audience but performances are uniformly excellent. Toby Stephens is not an actor I particularly enjoy but he makes a compelling Captain Flint and Mark Ryan as his Quartermaster Gates is a worthy support.
In tone and language the series is reminiscent of Deadwood, with its portrayal of real historical figures alongside fictional characters and it forms a prequel to Treasure Island . The production design is top notch and Bear McCreary has provided a score worthy of mention. There is some potentially gratuitous sex, nudity and language in keeping with the current trend but I can accept that. The portrayal of conflict at sea is impressive and the many ships of the era are beautifully rendered and the Pirate nation rings true as does the democratic nature of Pirate politics. Altogether Black Sails is an exciting and compelling story crafted with flair and I hope it runs and runs.
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68 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pirates for Grown Ups in a simply excellent Show., 15 April 2014
By 
Tommy Dooley (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Black Sails - Season 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Well everything you heard was true this is just rollicking good fun. Designed to be a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's `Treasure Island' this show takes real pirates and some fictional ones and throws them into a bawdy mix of greed, lust, jealousy, violence and pirate folklore. Real pirates include Anne Bonny, Charles Vane and Benjamin Hornigold - their real stories are explosive enough but this adds to the fun.

The plot is centred around the pirate stronghold of New Providence Island, where Captain Flint is trying to broaden his power base by biting off more than he can chew by capturing the prize of the biggest Spanish Galleon `Urca de Lima'. The island is run by the daughter of the corrupt governor and she has a taste for power, money, men and yes ladies too! We also have John Silver and a more sly opportunist would be hard to come across even on such a lawless island.

Then there is the Royal Navy, the shenanigans of the local brothel and bawdy house, double deals a-plenty and more swashes than you could buckle in a life time (probably). This is a full grown up `Pirates of the Caribbean' with all the filth and bedroom action thrown in to make it both believable and modern enough to cater for a spoilt twenty first century palate.

The actors are all universally brilliant as are the sets and attention to detail. It is hard to single out any for individual praise but here goes; Toby Stephens as Flint and Toby Schmitz as the wonderful rake Rackham are just excellent. We all know this has gone down so well that a second ten episode run is already in the pipeline and if that is not enough to shiver your timbers then you are truly hard to please - absolutely ruddy excellent.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars in truth, 18 April 2014
Well acted, great locations, camera work and atmosphere. Hampered by an inconsistent script, that is at times clumsy, and at others delightful.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rich beyond you dreams, 16 April 2014
love this, great story line. plot twist and characters. cant wait for the second season. enjoy the mix of fiction and non-fiction. sets look amazing
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable.., 25 May 2014
By 
Ian Turner "Ian" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Enjoyed the different setting to most modern series - mostly well acted, well shot and some good characters - feels more like Hollywood than TV Series.. bring on season 2.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Black Sails...Potential that deserves a second series, 9 Dec 2014
By 
Naomi_B (southport,england) - See all my reviews
Black Sails does require effort to get past the first two episodes as it gathers pace and introduces us to the characters. Having fictional characters from literature aswell as genuine pirates such as Anne Bonny and Charles Vane, we get a good mix of history and creative license. The character of John Silver here quite annoyed me at first but he grows into a lovable rogue of sorts offering much of the smile inducing moments alongside the intriguing Randell. Toby Stephens as Captain Flint and Zach McGowan as Charles Vane give us the better acting in the piece although I do love the portrayal of Toby Schmitz as Jack Rackham and Clara Paget as Anne Bonny. I don't really mind the little action on the seas, I know as a pirate show we come to expect a lot of battles at sea rather than the politcal aspects on the pirate island but I quite like how this offers us an insight into the wheeling and dealing beyond the sea life. However and one of my main grating points of the series is of the main character Eleanor Guthrie, I can't help but see a spoilt Elizabeth Swan trying to lord her superiority over everyone who stands in her way. Her character lacks intrigue and Anne Bonny aswell as Miranda Barlow offer much better equals to their fellow man here. I will definitely give the second series a go as I think it is still an enjoyable series, just not one that at the moment offers much in the way of repeat value viewing. I would also say that as there is very little blood and guts throughout the series that if they did away with the sex as it offers very little captivation that perhaps they could get a 15 certificate rating and attract a broader range of viewers or go the other way and utilise the 18 certificate much in the way Game of Thrones and Vikings and offer more of a blooded sexed up rampage on the seas.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great swashbuckling fun, 10 April 2014
This review is from: Black Sails: Season 1 (Amazon Instant Video)
Definitely a cut above the norm and full of some very good acting talent didn't realise i'd finished the season on such a cliffhanger whens the next one???
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely well done, 20 Jun 2014
Authentic, a great tone, well acted and craftily written. A series in which you have to think. True, there's plenty of nudity (both sexes) and violence, but there's also a deep, multi-layered and contemplative plot in there.
Characaters are multi-dimensional, with John Silver a particular favourite.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mumblers again. And no English subtitles., 8 Nov 2014
By 
S. Ramsey-Hardy (italy) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Black Sails - Season 1 [DVD] (DVD)
As in some other recent series, the actors here are competing in the All-England Mumbling Championships.

I tried almost deafening myself with the volume, but still no clarity. Fewer than half the words are understandable. Personally, I think actors should make themselves understood - is this asking too much ? Have they stopped teaching this at RADA ? Maybe the makers of this series think only the visuals count, and the words don't matter ?

If so, they can't think much of their script. Only the Anglo-Saxon expletives are made loud and clear.

(Do a little experiment: press the pause button, then repeat the last 2 lines spoken by the actors -if you can!)

I must be an old-fogey. I think the words are important: dramas are about WORDS, and I like to know what the characters are actually saying, otherwise it's hard to follow the plot.

"Use subtitles again!", I thought.
But there ARE NO English subtitles, not even for my friend Arda Vearing (you're ok if you're German or French or Dutch, but I'm not.) The series must have cost millions, so naturally they want to sell it abroad, but the makers appear to think the words aren't worth the bother for the English.

(On the Amazon page there is no info whatever about subtitles, which is not a great help. And as it turned out, not even any subtitle-info on the box. Question avoided.)

I'll try to gather what's happening in the story through the body-language, but the edge is off the entertainment. Actors who can't be understood aren't doing their job.

P.S. After a couple more episodes, my interest in this series evaporated. This really is kids' stuff (apart from the pointless sex). In fact you wonder if the repetitive sex scenes, explicit language (no mumbling of those words), flash colours, etc., are there to distract from a weak storyline. If this really is "an historical drama", as the Most Helpful Review puts it, then so is "Allo Allo".
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4.0 out of 5 stars This one is fantastic entertainment and judging from the rows and rows of ..., 3 Nov 2014
By 
David S. Haazen (Dorset) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black Sails - Season 1 [DVD] (DVD)
I was somewhat dubious about this series when I first heard about it, but Eddie Izzard wasnt in it, so I must have been thinking of some other pirate show. This one is fantastic entertainment and judging from the rows and rows of positive reviews, there are lots of people who are enjoying this series. There was however one stand out scene which illicited a ` Really ` from me when one of the charactors is seen wearing what can only be described as very modern,almost futuristic sunglasses. Now come on...Ray Bans in the seventeenth centuary??? did they really have to add that piece of unbelievibility to what was a pretty gritty and acurate portrayal of pirate life, and did no one on the writing team or the director think it was somewhat misplaced????, but other than that this is a cracking jape and will certainly be waiting for the second series.
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