Oct 222018

Black Sails was Starz’s attempt to have their own version of Game of Thrones and while it never quite reached those levels of quality in terms of writing, I will say the production and costumes designs were mostly impressive and the ensemble cast was absolutely wonderful.



Black Sails
— The Complete Collection —

Genre(s): Adventure, Drama
Lionsgate | NR – 2196 min. – $59.99 | October 16, 2018

Date Published: 10/22/2018 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Various
Writer(s): Jonathan E. Steinberg & Robert Levine (created by)
Cast: Toby Stephens, Hannah New, Luke Arnold, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Tom Hopper, Zach McGowan, Toby Schmitz, Clara Paget, Luke Roberts, David Wilmot, Ray Stevenson, Louise Barnes, Rupert Penry-Jones, Tadgh Murphy
Features: Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 12
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 7.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

Note: Portions of this review were copied from my season 2 and 4 Blu-ray reviews.

THE MOVIE — 3.75/5

Series Summary: The golden age of piracy collides with encroaching civilization in four seasons of Black Sails. The action begins in 1715 on New Providence Island, lawless and overrun with history’s most notorious pirate captains. The most feared among them? The complicated, driven Captain Flint (TOBY STEPHENS). Joined by Eleanor Guthrie (HANNAH NEW), a smuggler’s beautiful daughter, Flint schemes to win the ultimate prize and keep his adversaries at bay. But enemies abound, in the form of the infamous Captain Charles Vane (ZACH MCGOWAN), the Royal Navy, Flint’s fellow cutthroats, his own inner demons, and an exiled legend whose name brings on the shivers – a man called Long John Silver (LUKE ARNOLD).

Quick Hit Review: Black Sails never was a favorite series of mine, though to be fair, I rarely kept up even with the best of them (see: Bosch on Amazon or HBO’s Game of Thrones), but this series was a lot of fun using some historical characters and tweaking them in service of some interesting plot lines and conflict. The acting itself was mostly top notch, notably Toby Stephens, Hanna New, Luke Arnold and, in the third and fourth seasons, Ray Stevenson was the infamous Blackbeard, were the highlights.

Also rather impressive were the production and costume designs and although sure some of the visual effects aren’t the best, still wasn’t terribly distracting and aided in making an all around entertaining series. Lasting only four seasons, not sure why but presumably due to low viewership, and each season only being 10 episodes, does make for some reasonable binge-watching…


SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5 (Avg.)

This 12-disc set are split into two HD keep cases and comes with a matted slip cover. Inside the season 3 & 4 set is a redemption code for the entire collection.

SEASON ONE (2.5/5)
Black Sails: An Inside Look (9:03) takes us behind the scenes with cast and crew interviews and background on the real life events and characters the series was inspired by.

Dressed to Kill (1:44) looks at the elaborate costumes of the show.

Pirate Camp (2:23) shows the training the cast went through for their roles.

Folklore is Finished (3:26) is on how the show tries to redefine the pirate clichés.

A Place in History (1:32) is on the historical elements of the show, particularly how Africans were presented.

Building the Behemoth (3:05) breaks down the creation and challenges of the main ship, using a half version for floating while the full was land locked.

SEASON TWO (2.0/5)
Inside the World of “Black Sails” (21:32) takes viewers behind-the-scenes of the second season and includes interviews with, primarily, members of the crew, as they talk about the storylines and characters.

Man O’War (4:10) – This looks at building the Man O’War ship.

Expanding Worlds (4:06) – This featurette covers the new characters introduced in season two.

Season 2 Recap (4:30) is a good way for viewers to get caught up.

Inside the World of Black Sails (24:03) is on the events of the third season with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew.

The Storm (3:43) breaks down the storm sequence key to our main characters escaping another ship on their tail.

A Pirate’s Last Words (4:03) looks at the curtain call for one of the central characters.

Blackbeard: An 18th Century Pirate (10:03) has cast and crew members discussing the inclusion of the latest pirate played by Ray Stevenson.

Woodes Rogers (5:33) chronicles the character and he brought to the season.

Inside the World of Black Sails (18:10) is a behind-the-scenes featurette for the entire season beginning with the premiere and overall story and character arcs.

Creating the World (2:58) is a short featurette on the production design, stunts, and costumes.

Roundtable: Women in Piracy (1:53) has the ladies of the cast (Hannah New, Clara Paget, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Zethu Dlomo) discussing their roles.

Roundtable: The Legends of Treasure Island (2:03) – Here the men (Toby Stephens, Luke Arnold, Tom Hopper) talk about their respective characters and the basis for them from the classic novel.

Roundtable: Fearless Fans (1:18) has the same guys talking about the fandom for the series.


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Black Sails docks onto Blu-ray presented in its originally televised 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 1080p high-definition transfer. The series offers sharp detail with bright, natural colors though tend to go more on the darker scale in keeping with the plot lines and corrupt characters. The transfer appears clear, free of major signs of aliasing and artifacts.

AUDIO – 5.0/5

Give the show, and the studio, credit. Each episode is accompanied with a fantastic and strong Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track. With a wide range from ship-to-ship fights to dialogue-centric sequences which show off the lower end of the scale. It’s one of the more dynamic and depth-filled tracks I’ve come across especially for a television series.


OVERALL – 4.0/5

Overall, Black Sails was Starz’s attempt to have their own version of Game of Thrones and while it never quite reached those levels of quality in terms of writing, I will say the production and costumes designs were mostly impressive and the ensemble cast was absolutely wonderful led by Toby Stephens as well as Hannah New and Ray Stevenson’s appearances as Blackbeard. This Complete Series collection is a nice set and saves a little shelf space versus the individual releases.

** Click Here to See the Screen Captures from Season 4 **

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