Cast: Toby Stephens, Zach McGowan, Luke Arnold
Release Date: Available On Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD January 6th
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 8/10
“BLACK SAILS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON” begins in 1715 The Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean is at its apex. The former British colony of New Providence Island is now lawless territory, controlled by a few dozen of the most notorious pirate captains in history. The most feared among them is Captain Flint (Toby Stephens). s the British Navy returns to these waters, and the threat of extinction looms, another side of Flint emerges. A man driven by deep, complicated, even romantic motives. He will ally himself with the beautiful Eleanor Guthrie (Hannah New), daughter of the local smuggling kingpin who turns the pirates’ loot into profits. Together, they forge a plan to hunt the ultimate prize, and by winning it, stave off reclamation of their home by a resurgent empire. Arrayed against them are a series of opponents: rival captains, jealous of Flint’s power; Eleanor’s father, whose ambitions for the island conflict with his daughter’s; and a young sailor, recently recruited onto Flint’s crew, who will somehow manage to constantly undermine his captain’s agenda. His name is John Silver (Luke Arnold).
For those unfamiliar with ‘Black Sails’ it’s the new hit Starz Originals Series created by Robert Levine and Jonathan E. Steinberg ( as well as executive produced by Michael Bay through his company ‘Platinum Dunes’) which first premiered with its first season airing on Starz back in January of 2014 to instant success, including solid ratings for Starz in addition to faster season renewal orders than we usually ever tend to see for Television (the series was already renewed for a third season months ago with its second season yet to even debut on Starz until late January 2015).
‘Black Sails’ takes place in the late 1700’s during the Golden Age of Piracy and centers mainly around the actions of the Pirate Captain Flint and his crew, including the newly recruited John Silver who continually undermines and challenges Flint at every opportunity presented to him in order to further his own plans. Flint’s association with the daughter of a kingpin who runs one of the most famous Pirate trading and enjoyment areas in existence is also a key focus. Together they take action to try and find a treasure so crucial it just might preserve their existence which is threatened by the British Navy who is beginning to take actions that just might threaten their way of life forever. The series also follows a number of other individuals, including the activities of Captain Vane and his crew who continue to work towards their own sinister agenda.
While I have been interested in the series and its concept since first hearing about its existence, I was nonetheless a bit unsure what to expect from ‘Black Sails’ when initially beginning to watch it for the first time here on Blu-Ray. Therefore it was quite a pleasant surprise to discover the well crafted and overall exceptional bit of television that this series is. It perfectly captures what you’d imagine this period in the early 1700’s to really represent in this kind of place, as well as on the seas; doing so not only in scenery and objects, but in the costumes and landscapes along with every other possible aspect imaginable. In addition to looking absolutely beautiful overall, it is smart, sexy and also features some of the most astounding and well constructed action sequences I’ve ever seen on Television.
Fans of the series will definitely want to pick up a copy of ‘Black Sails: The Complete First Season’ on Blu-Ray to add to their collection. The absolutely phenomenal high definition video and audio presentations that greatly compliment this fantastic series, along with a few bonus goodies (detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below) that fans are sure to enjoy make this a definite must own. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of checking out the series but find the concept of interest, I would highly recommend giving it a shot and this gorgeous Blu-Ray release is certainly the best possible way that you could do so.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Black Sails: The Complete First Season’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the show’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on all of the first seasons episodes. The video presentation looks pretty fantastic as a whole. The colors are sharp and bright, the complex backgrounds, surroundings and character’s detailed, smooth and always looking great. The numerous action-packed and fast moving sequences never falter and always look solid as well, never harmed due to the influx in activity. Fans and newcomers to the series alike should be very pleased with these high definition video presentations.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack on all 8 Season One episodes. These lossless soundtracks are probably the most impressive aspect of the Blu-Ray release and they sound wonderful; complimenting the series in a huge way. The calmer sequences which tend to be more discussion concentrated still contain background audio elements that really add a lot to immerse the viewer in the environment, such as animal noises and crowd chatter on land. Creaking of the ship and water hitting the boat are present when such discussions occur on a ship, almost making you feel as if you’re there on it with them. The action sequences never hesitate to hit full force when presented the opportunity to do so, with debris and everything else you can imagine constantly whooshing past the viewer while still keeping all dialogue or other auditory elements from becoming distorted or inaudible at any point. These Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtracks are top notch and should provide a great time for everyone able to utilize them. They should also certainly leave the masses more than satisfied, pleasing even the fellow audiophiles out there.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Black Sails: The Complete First Season’ doesn’t contain too much in the way of bonus content, but it does include a number of short Featurette’s that explore various aspects of the series featuring Behind The Scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew. The included Featurette’s are: ‘Black Sails: An Inside Look’; ‘Dressed To Kill’; ‘Pirate Camp’; ‘Folklore Is Finished’; ‘A Place In History’; and ‘Building The Behemoth’. Each of the Featurette’s run approximately two or three minutes apiece with the exception of ‘Black Sails: An Inside Look’ which runs just over nine minutes in length.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.