TV Review: Starz’s ‘Black Sails’

Starz premieres Black Sails—executive produced by Michael Bay—on Saturday Jan. 25, 9:00 p.m. ET. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“After all the G- and PG-rated pirates brought to life in the Disney-ride-turned-movie era, the prospect of pay-cable buccaneers, complete with all the expected violence and debauchery that entails, sounds promising. Yet BlackSails never quite takes off, developing into a tired treasure hunt with indifferent casting and stock characters.”
—Brian Lowry, Variety

“It has a fairly large story to tell and, even by the end of the fourth episode, is unspooling it slower and with more care than one might have imagined when considering the words ‘Michael Bay’ and ‘pirates’ and ‘Starz.’”
—Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

"Black Sails isn't entirely uninteresting, thanks to rich visuals, landlubbing though they may be, and several colorful performances from main cast members. Stephens, always one of Britain's most reliable and capable actors, brings seamless credibility to the role of Flint.” 
—David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle

“If the show were just about Flint, it might be an agreeably rip-roaring good time. But Black Sails wants to be about seemingly everyone in its pirate world, and that proves to be the show’s undoing.”
—Todd VanDerWerff, A.V. Club

“This sense of epic, expensive swashbuckling action lasts about five minutes, an elaborate bait-and-switch before Black Sails settles into landlocked tedium, as the series suggests a pirate's life for me, you or anyone else involves far more bureaucracy than pillaging.”
—Alan Sepinwall, HitFix