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Black Sails: Season 1 (2014)




Average Rating: 6.1/10
Reviews Counted: 36
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 15

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.


Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 10

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.



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 235

My Rating

Season Info

This action-adventure chronicles the escapades of a swashbuckling and brutal pirate, Captain Flint (Toby Stephens), his shipmates and his rivals in the early 18th-century C aribbean. The series is a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island," and is set 20 years before the events depicted in that literary classic. While bounding the Spanish Main and jolly-rogering across the seas, Flint accepts a young recruit, John Silver (Luke Arnold), to join his crew, while later quashing a

Network: Starz




Air date: Jan 25, 2014


A chronicle of the adventures of pirate Capt. Flint, his mateys and his rivals in the early 18th-century Caribbean begins with Flint facing a mutiny, while buccaneer cohort John Silver keeps something of great value under wraps.

Air date: Feb 1, 2014


Flint deals with a thief among his crew; Vane voices an objection to Rackham chasing a score; Silver and Max hide in a brothel; and Eleanor is faced with a difficult decision.

Air date: Feb 8, 2014


A partner is sought to assist in the hunt for the Urca d'Lima; Silver comes up with a solution to Billy's morale issues; a suddenly reasonable Vane makes an impression on Eleanor; and Gates is promoted.

Air date: Feb 15, 2014


Disaster strikes a mission undertaken by the Walrus crew; Flint is warned about Billy; Rackham and Bonny set out to recapture their livelihood; Eleanor's father steps up to help her; and Vane is surprised by a visitor from his past.

Air date: Feb 22, 2014


Flint and crew engage in a deadly encounter on the open sea; Richard forces Eleanor to make a decision; Rackham tries his hand at a new career; and Bonny has a confession to make.

Air date: Mar 1, 2014


Chasing the Andromache proves costly; Eleanor realizes she'll need help from Silver; Billy encourages Gates to confront Flint; and Bonny decides it's time to take a stand.

Air date: Mar 8, 2014


Flint comes clean to Gates; Silver is put in a tough position by Randall; Eleanor experiences loss; Rackham gets help from Max; and Vane has a life-or-death encounter.

Air date: Mar 15, 2014


The hunt for the Urca continues; Eleanor's plans become unsettled; and Bonny and Rackham are haunted by their past indiscretions.

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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (15)

Another notable criticism is the pacing, as after a fair battle in the opening scene the rest of the episode fell straight down the cliff. A long, boring cliff.

January 29, 2014 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

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.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source:

There are pirates aplenty, but their romantic nature is stripped down to a more personal and gritty reality that's worth your attention.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: ScreenRant

Black Sails clearly wants to inject some complexity into its sand-and-swords premise, but the drama runs aground of ambitions it doesn't have the skills to fulfill.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Huffington Post
Huffington Post

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. More swashbuckling please.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger

As a political tale, a pirate tale and simply a story of people carving out lives for themselves in the days when their standing in the world was slipping, Black Sails succeeds

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: TV Equals
TV Equals

The show is aiming for a "truer" depiction of piracy in the days of Blackbeard, but in aiming for the grit and dark world of pirates, the show has bypassed everything people have enjoyed about entertainment featuring pirates.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: TV Equals
TV Equals

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. These things draw you in as much as the slow-blooming intrigue.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times

A fascinating blend of historical, literary and new fictional characters.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Your Family Viewer
Your Family Viewer

I was impressed by the conceptual framework of the series and by most of the characters, acting, and conflict.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly

Maybe they were going for "Deadwood on the Beach," with the politics of organizing an unruly bunch the underlying theme. Instead, they got "Spartacus Island," a less-elevated narrative with violence in keeping with the Starz brand.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post

That doesn't mean that Black Sails is solely about sex and violence. It actually has a lot more to offer, including a complex plot and a compelling roster of characters -- both fictional and factual -- that combine to create an effective fantasy world.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

If you're tuning into a Michael Bay production, you expect things to blow up, and his new Starz pirate adventure series Black Sails thrills from the start.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

If you're more action-oriented, you'll soon find yourself shouting at the screen, "Less talking, more cannon fire."

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer

It's a show where things continuously seem about to happen, only for the story to wander off in search of other, less pressing concerns.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source: AV Club

Black Sails goes for authentic over ostentatious in presenting the always intriguing world of civilized savagery.

January 25, 2014 Full Review Source: IGN Movies
IGN Movies

To paraphrase Woody Allen's paraphrase of an old joke, what Black Sails has to offer is mediocre, and the portions are small.

January 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Media Life
Media Life

Black Sails never quite takes off, developing into a tired treasure hunt with indifferent casting and stock characters.

January 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Variety

This Treasure Island prequel is a pirate story put through the Starz breast-and-blood blender, with the sex and violence set to high. Yo ho - no.

January 24, 2014 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today

Sails becomes stubbornly becalmed by its landlocked third and fourth hours, as tiresome wheeling and dealing triggers a bout of Restless Sea Legs Syndrome in the impatient viewer.

January 24, 2014 Full Review Source: TV Guide
TV Guide

Black Sails offers many little treasures... it just makes viewers endure choppy waters to find them among all the unneeded sex, complicated plots and endless conversation.

January 24, 2014 Full Review Source: RedEye

Through its first two hours, Black Sails is entertaining enough but not nearly as addictive as Spartacus came to be through its first season; perhaps in time that will change.

January 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It's all flash and no substance, and the flash fades pretty quickly, no doubt right around the point the production accountant realized just how much it costs to film extended sequences with ships in water.

January 24, 2014 Full Review Source: HitFix

It's reasonably interesting but not particularly fun or involving. Sometimes you just want a good yo-ho-ho.

January 24, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times

Black Sails is rigidly unspectacular, and it comes at the worst possible time for a show like this not to be very good: You can go to plenty of other places to buy what Black Sails is selling.

January 24, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture

Starz brings its own demands, meaning muddily plotted "adult" content balanced oddly against Steinberg's deeper desires. And then there's movie-spectacle-king executive producer Michael Bay. Yes! Stuff blows up!

January 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Newsday

It's far from perfect, but the setting is richly detailed and the characters make enough speeches, tell enough stories, and fight enough fights that Black Sails is a fine vehicle for Starz in lieu of Spartacus.

January 24, 2014 Full Review Source:

This is one gorgeous show.

January 23, 2014 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Yo-ho humdrum. Who knew pirating was about as adventurous as a business meeting?

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle

If this sounds (a) like the least merry pirate yarn ever constructed, and (b) a little bit like Game of Thrones, feel free to shiver your own timbers.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Grantland

But there's an intelligence to its treatment of the Nassau community and whether a settlement based on lawlessness and a shadow economy is sustainable -- one that takes the series in some complicated and unexpected directions.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: indieWIRE

As Black Sails progresses, it evolves rather surprisingly into a more serious story with lots of secrets, backstory and intrigue.

January 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Reporter

Black Sails may not be the most well written or riveting story on TV at the moment, but it's certainly going to fill that lustful void for violence and graphic action.

January 21, 2014 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

Transformers executive producer Michael Bay brings big-screen theatrics to Starz' new swashbuckling series.

January 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times

Black Sails is exactly like the 18th-century Caribbean pirates it brings to life: dirty, amoral and worth stomaching only when there are no women around.

January 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

At times Black Sails feels like it wants to be taken seriously as a complicated, premium cable drama (a la Game of Thrones). At other times, it feels more like cheesier, more niche material (a la Spartacus).

January 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post

Audience Reviews for Black Sails: Season 1

April 25, 2014
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

March 1, 2014
Noah Nemeroff

Super Reviewer

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