Tom Hopper’s Billy Bones, the pirate he plays on Starz’s drama-at-sea, Black Sails, has already been punished aplenty on the show: In the first season of the Treasure Island prequel, Bones was presumed dead after falling into the ocean. Then he was captured and tortured by the British Army the following season.
Black Sails will continue sailing the high seas.
Starz has renewed the swashbuckling drama for a fourth season, which is slated to return in 2016, the network announced at the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour on Friday.
Ray Stevenson, who smashed heads (and our hearts) as Volstagg in the Thor films, is hitting the high seas in season 3 of Black Sails. The Rome and Insurgent actor will play the notorious pirate Blackbeard, Starz announced Tuesday.
Cops. Mobsters. Spies. Serial killers. Superheroes. Witches. Wizards. Television has tapped almost every genre archetype that exists to create easily marketable programming for our geeky-pulpy culture. One of the few exceptions: Pirates. And for good reason. Shooting on water? An expensive, logistical nightmare. (See: Waterworld, Titanic) Also? Pirates are fuuuuuu-gly, all scruffy and greasy and dentally challenged and eye-patchy. What good, image-conscious actor in their right, vain mind would sign up to look like that for years and years?
Listen up, Black Sails. I’m gonna hit you with some cannonballs of truth. I like you. I like how you take place in a universe where everyone has blue-green eyes that shine like the ocean reflected through a diamond filtered through a watercolor Instagram filter. I like how everyone on this show uses f-bombs as punctuation marks. But when one is watching a show about pirates, one might expect that said pirates will do pirate-y things at some point.
Given Captain Flint’s reputation as a vicious bloodthirsty uber-ambitious go-go bang-bang buccaneer, you probably figured he was a ladies’ man. With a girlfriend in every port, and a mistress in between every port, and maybe a friend-with-benefits he visits whenever a girlfriend breaks up with him because she found about a mistress. Nothing could be further from the truth. Turns out Flint is in a long-term relationship with a genuine lady. This isn’t, like, just physical or anything guys. This is a deep connection.
Pradha Mitchell woke in the morning nude and thoughtful. She perambulated in the altogether, her mind dark with bleak possibility. There were fearful rumors. There were unconfirmed sightings of British ships. Long ago, when her father first arrived at Pirate Island, it was populated entirely by leprous mole-people who used rat feces as food and as money. Now, Pirate Island was a burgeoning city of thieves. That could all disappear in a moment. Her naked fear was palpable, and also she herself was naked.
The second episode of Starz’ pirate adventure Black Sails airs Feb. 1, but Aussie Luke Arnold, who plays John Silver, is already teasing the season 1 finale. “There’s one scene in it – it takes about 30 seconds, but we spent the whole night shooting it – it was just nuts,” he says of the eighth episode. “It was my favorite day of shooting anything, ever. This show is really physical, and not just for the actors but for the crew.
The new pirate drama Black Sails has a lot on its mind. The brutal march of civilization. The rise and fall of the frontier. The socioeconomic implications of black market economies. Swords. Boobs. Guns. Perfect, incandescent white teeth that actually seem to glow neon in contrast to perfect sunbaked skin. Boobs. Perfect hair. Beards. Swears. Democracy. Michael Bay produced this show, and I choose to read Black Sails as the origin story of the entire Michael Bay-verse. Sean Connery in The Rock is descended from Toby Stephens in Black Sails.
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