It’s no secret that I love this Starz pirate drama – I scream about it every Saturday night at 9. And in my opinion, there just aren’t enough of your voices screaming with me. There are a lot of reasons why I think Black Sails is perfect for this YA community, and I’m going to outline them here for you. Be prepared to let yet another television show take over your life.
What is Black Sails?
Black Sails is, essentially, a pirate drama. Set in Nassau during the Golden Age of Piracy, Black Sails follows a colorful cast of characters around the island as they try to self-govern and ruin each other’s lives. It features real historical figures, like Anne Bonny and Charles Vane, along with our favorite fictional characters such as John Silver. It’s realistic without losing the gorgeous pirate visual themes we’ve all come to love. And it really humanizes these characters for us. Set years before Treasure Island, we’re introduced to John Silver’s and Captain Flint’s histories. It’s a wonderful jumble of drama, action, and politics and I love it.
Eleanor Guthrie is the head bitch in charge at Nassau. She might be a young woman, and because of that, so many try to take advantage of her, but she’s no shrinking violet. Not. At. All. Eleanor is trying to build a real, sustainable economy at Nassau, using pirate crews as merchant sailors. Somehow she’s able to keep all these rowdy pirates in line under her. She’s also headstrong, which can kind of get her into trouble sometimes. Bonus: she’s bisexual! (You’ll soon learn that Black Sails should actually be called Gay Pirates.)
Max is very, very my favorite. She is one of those characters that takes a monumentally traumatic thing and turns into fury and fight and magic and rebuilds herself. She is a conniving, clever prostitute in a brothel in season 1 and let’s just say, her station is very, very changed by the beginning of season 2. Max is another woman that the men don’t take very seriously, but given her profession, you’d think they learn. She uses all the tools at her disposal to further herself and she basically owns two very important characters by mid-season 2. She’s also beautiful and very, very funny. Bonus! She’s bisexual, too!
Charles Vane aka Captain Jacked
Charles Vane is probably the most ruthless, fearsome pirate on the island right now, and for good reason. He’s tremendously successful as a pirate, and he’s got a huge reputation for brutality as well. There’s actually a scene in a later episode where he cuts someone’s head off with a fucking knife. A KNIFE. He has one weakness, and that’s Eleanor Guthrie. Whenever she’s involved, his brutality turns to recklessness, but this also shows his softer side, so I’ll take it. He’s easily my favorite male character on the show because of his complexity, and his… unorthodox ways of showing people he cares about them.
I’m sure you know of Captain Flint, but I can guarantee you’ve never seen him like this. Flint has one of the most storied histories of all the characters, and it’s a shame they waited until mid-season 2 to show us. He and Vane are rivals at Nassau and so much of the tension and politicking that goes on in this series is the two captains butting heads. But where Vane is sort of chaotic, Flint is very methodical and he has real goals for himself, his crew, and his home. He might be a pirate, but his intentions are noble and I absolutely love the camaraderie between he and Eleanor. Mild spoiler: he’s bisexual too!
Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny
Oh, Anne and Jack. Jack and Anne. Theirs is a story of redemption and it’s full of hilarity, hate, and romance – just maybe not with each other. Anne and Jack are notoriously clever, but they always end up in unfortunate circumstances. They come to Nassau in search of a new crew and instead find all sorts of drama. Their later story, with Max, is complex and interesting, but in season 1, they aren’t the most important characters on the show. Bonus! Anne is bisexual. Seeing a theme here?
If you’re one of those people – like me – that prefers their ships more f/f and m/m (and maybe some f/f/m) then you’re in the right place. Black Sails doesn’t shy away from this kind of representation, and just when you think you know a character, surprise! They’re bi! One of my favorite things about this show is that my ships will actually set sail (hahahah, pun) and instead of being left in a ball of quivery, bisexual fury, I’m left being really fucking excited about where each new episode is going to go.
So, in short, you should really be watching this show! Season 1 is out on DVD now, and we’re halfway through Season 2 on TV. And Season 3 was just announced! There is the beauty of the island setting, the awesome pirate imagery, all the sexy actors, the f/f and m/m ships, the SHIPS. There is drama and intensity and rivalries and the CLIFFHANGERS. And there are many, many more amazing side characters that I just didn’t have time to showcase. If you like your LGB ships, pirates, and bad-ass ladies, Black Sails is seriously the place to be!