Imagine it all, you Black Sails fans! The year is 1715 and the island of New Providence, a former British colony, is now a lawless territory ruled by some of history’s most notorious pirates. Their leader is the fearsome and legendary Captain Flint played by Toby Stephens.
Black Sails is an American historical adventure series created by Jonathan Steinberg as the prequel to Treasure Island, the adventure novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. The series debuted for free on January 18, 2014 on video streaming channels like YouTube and several video-on-demand services. The television debut followed a week later, garnering more positive reviews for the series from critics and audiences around the world.
The story of Black Sails is set twenty years before the events of Treasure Island transpired. It takes place during the golden age of piracy in the Caribbean. The mighty Captain Flint must fight to retain control of the island of New Providence, which the British Royal Navy is fighting to reclaim. Technically, pirates are enemies of all mankind under the laws of the land. The series features some of the most famous pirates in history such as Anne Bonny, Charles Vane, Blackbeard, Jack Rackham, Israel Hands, Benjamin Hornigold and Ned Low.
To emerge victorious and keep New Captain Flint in line with Eleanor Guthrie, the beautiful daughter of the leader of the local drug trafficking group. His main duty is to make a profit from whatever pirates loot. They set their ambitions on the biggest prize of all and begin to formulate a plan to win it, but they are not without opposition; the British Navy, jealous rival captains, Eleanor’s father and his conflicting ambitions for the island, and John Silver – a young sailor aboard Flint’s ship who continues to find a way to derail this agenda, are some of the enemies they fight against.
Hundreds of dead British naval officers and pirates line the shores and forests around the island, but Captain Flint is determined to do everything in his power to win the ultimate prize.
Black Sails has received many honors and recognition. He has been nominated for 10 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, including three awards, as well as 7 annual Visual Effects Society Awards, including two.
Black Sails Cast
Toby Stephens – Captain Flint
Toby is popularly known as the youngest actor to play a James Bond villain after starring in Die Another Day. He plays the main protagonist in Black Sails – Flint, the captain of a pirate ship named Morse. His reputation is talked about around the West Indies and he is widely regarded as the most powerful and feared pirate of the Golden Ages. He was once a British naval officer and turned to piracy after being betrayed and disgraced. He leads a fleet of pirates and slaves who seek to control the New World.
Hannah New – Eleanor Guthrie
Hannah studied acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama before starring in Maleficent alongside Angelina Jolie. She plays the daughter of Richard Guthrie, the richest drug kingpin in the Bahamas. He charges her with pirates in Nassau, where she runs a tavern. Eleanor is a very powerful woman who knows what it takes to make things happen. His collaboration with Flint is his boldest stunt to date. She could give her the freedom she so badly needs or her future.
Toby Schmitz – Jack Rackham
Toby is an award-winning playwright and actor, known for his performances on stage, television and film. He starred in productions of Hamlet, and the Spielberg miniseries The Pacific. In Black Sails, he plays Rackham, the quartermaster on a pirate ship called Ranger. He is a devious and dangerous man who is willing to risk everything to appease his burning desire for revenge, which means rebelling against the regime of Woodes Rogers.
Jessica Parker Kennedy – Max
Jessica is a Canadian actress who has played various roles across film and television. Her character in the series is called Max, a cold-headed seductress who works as a prostitute. She is the love, savior and friend of Eleanor, who must battle internal and external demons to save her relationship and the land she loves before war and idealism destroy them.
Luke Arnold – John Silver
Luke Arnold is an Australian actor who played Michael Hutchence in We Are Apart. His character, John Silver, is an ordinary sailor who is recruited to join Flint’s crew. He is an opportunist who claims to work for the collective good while secretly nurturing his own aspirations. He rebels against authority, which constantly puts him at odds with Captain Flint. a rift that only grows as they are forced to work closely together to find the treasure fleet. He must decide if he wants to cement his legend by becoming the Pirate King or if he gives up on a new goal.
Clara Paget – Anne Bonny
Clara hails from royalty and is the daughter of the 8th Marquess of Anglesey. She is also a top model alongside Suki Waterhouse and Cara Delevingne. Her character, Anne Bonny, is superb, level-headed and fiercely loyal. He is one of Bane’s top henchmen, as well as Rackham’s lover. She is borderline psychotic but has a brilliant mind that is constantly disturbing.
Luke Roberts – Woodes Rogers
Luke is a British actor best known for playing Joseph Byrne in Holby City ; he also starred in Mile High and Crossroads. His character, Woodes Rogers, is determined to defeat Captain Flint at all costs and restore civilization, even if he loses everything he holds dear.
Louise Barnes – Miranda Barlow
This South African actress starred in Jozi-H and The Shipwreck of Laconia. Her character, Miranda is one of the few people who knows Captain Flint’s secrets. Throughout the series, she embodies the love of several important characters and makes them confide in her without getting too lost.
Ray Stevenson – Edward Teach
Ray is an Irish actor known for playing Titus Pullo in Rome and Dagonet in King Arthur. He plays the fictional character of one of the most notorious pirates to ever live in Black Sails, Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. He’s attached to Flint’s plan to reclaim Nassau in hopes of one day placing Eleanor’s severed head on a stake.
Sean Cameron Michael – Richard Guthrie
Like Louise Barnes, Sean is a South African actor, singer and writer. He had television roles in projects such as When We Were Black and Of Kings and Prophets. His character, Richard, is the wealthiest black market seller in the West Indies. He lives hidden on a farm in Nassau. However, he is determined to regain his freedom, no matter what it takes.
Tom Hopper – Billy Bones
Popularly known for starring in The Umbrella Academy, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones , and Merlin, Tom is a British actor and his character in the series is that of the pirate ship’s boatswain – Walrus. Billy has great faith in Captain Flint’s plans and remains loyal to him despite the many tests he faces. He is an essential part of the crew.
Zach McGowanCharles Vane
Zach is an American actor and voice-over artist. He is known for the characters he portrays on Shameless, Agents of SHIELD, and The 100. He plays Charles Vane in Black Sails, a pirate with big dreams and a fiery temper as big as his financial strength. He is also on his way to becoming the next great pirate captain of the island of New Providence.
Hakeem Kae-Kazim – Mr. Scott
The British and Nigerian actor is famous for playing George Rutaganda in Hotel Rwanda. You’ll also find him in Lost, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Gotham, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He plays the role of Mr. Scott, a former slave and Eleanor’s right-hand man in Black Sails. Her loyalties threaten to change once her relationship with Flint deepens.
Nick Borraine – Peter Ashe
Another South African actor on the Black Sails cast, Nick is known for his roles in Promised Land and District 9. His character, Peter, is a wealthy aristocrat convinced of the need to destroy piracy in the West Indies. His power and wealth make him and his family targets for pirates.
Seasons – Is the TV series over, why was it cancelled?
There are four seasons of Black Sails available for viewing. The first season follows Lima’s hunt for Urca, a Spanish treasure fleet that sank near Fort Pierce, Florida. The second season was dedicated to the journey to the Urca de Lima and the struggle that saw her captured by Jack Rackham and his fleet and taken to the island of New Providence. It also discusses the story of Captain Flint, how he grew from a British gentleman and respected British naval officer to the most feared pirate in the West Indies. The third and fourth seasons follow the war for control of New Providence between the British Empire and the pirates.
Unfortunately for lovers of pirates and maritime action, and fans of the phenomenal adventure series, Black Sails, the TV show was canceled after the fourth season. All the main storylines were wrapped up in the final season. The main reason the show wasn’t renewed for a fifth season is that it was always meant to be a prelude to Treasure Island, and the storyline was already close to that time. It was necessary and timely to end the show before the narrative started to encroach or conflict with Treasure Island.