HDCC Week - Series Tip: Black Sails

Ahoy maties! It's Heroes Dutch Comic Con Week on Conmose and today we are going to talk about a show that stars two of the guests at the upcoming edition this weekend. Have I already told you I love pirates? No? Well, I love pirates! Yes, I know in real life pirates are really bad guys and I have no affection whatsoever for them, but I love movies and series about pirates. There is something about the pirate life that has an incredible attraction on me. I don't know if it's the freedom to do what you want, the sun or the blue seas. When I heard about a tv show about the shenanigans of Captain Flint and his pirates, 20 years prior to the story of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island", I was intrigued, to say the least. This week our series tip is "Black Sails".

The story

As I already mentioned the show serves as a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island" and is set in the Golden Age of Piracy (early 18th century). It is set 20 years prior to the story of "Treasure Island" on New Providence Island (near The Bahamas). The story centers on Captain Flint and his group of pirates on the ship "The Walrus", one of the most powerful ships to sail the seas surrounding Nassau. However, the pirates are declared enemies to mankind and are being chased down by the British (who had a lot of colonies in that part of the world). At first the plot focuses on the hunt for the treasure of the "Urca de Lima" (a Spanish ship that sank near Fort Pierce in Florida). In the latter seasons the story of Flint and why he became a pirate is panned out, as well as the war for New Providence Island.

Lead characters and the people behind them

Captain Flint is portrayed by English actor Toby Stephens. Flint turns out to be a disgraced former Royal Navy Lieutenant, by the name of James McGraw. how and why he became a pirate will be further explained throughout the series. Flint is famous and feared for his combat skills, but he can also be very reasonable and a good talker. Because of the things that happened in his past, there is a lot of rage concealed in Flint. This amounts in some very violent outbursts. Flint wants to become the ruler of Nassau and will do anything to achieve this. Toby Stephens is the younger son of Dame Maggie Smith (whom you might know as Minerva McGonagall in the "Harry Potter"-franchise, among others) and Sir Robert Stephens (a famous British actor). Toby also has a famous older brother in Chris Larkin (known for another pirate movie "Master and Commander" among others).

Tom Hopper plays the role of one of Flint's best and most loyal men: William "Billy Bones" Manderley. At first Billy serves as the boatswain (the foreman of the deck crew), later he becomes quartermaster for the Walrus. Bones chose to become a pirate after Flint rescued him from The Royal Navy (he was their prisoner). We met Tom Hopper at Dutch Comic Con late 2017 and he was very nice. He was born in Coalville (UK) on January 28th, 1985. Hopper played the role of Dickon Tarly in HBO's "Game of Thrones" and Sir Percival in "Merlin”.

Hal Gates, portrayed by Mark Ryan, is one of Flint's right-hand men and the most senior member of the crew of the Walrus. Initially Gates is the Quartermaster of the Walrus, before Flint makes him captain of the Ranger. Mark Ryan has been a guest at Dutch Comic Con in Utrecht in 2015 and 2016 and will be a guest again for the upcoming edition (march 31st&April 1st). Mark Ryan was born in Doncaster (UK) on June 7th,1956. He did a lot of stage work in London's West End, before he moved to the US.

Make way for the bad boy! Zach McGowan plays the role of the vicious Captain Vane. As a young boy Vane was a child laborer on the ship of Albinus, but he managed to escape and became one of the most successful pirates of his era. In the first season Flint and Vane are enemies, but throughout the seasons they developed a friendship. Zach McGowan was born in the Big Apple (New York City) on May 5th, 1980. You might also know McGowan as Prince Roan in "The 100".

Long John Silver is played by Luke Arnold. At first Silver is a crewmember on a vessel that attacks the Walrus. Cowardly he hides below decks, together with the cook of the vessel. During a struggle he kills the cook and takes a page of the Vessel's log. Unknowingly that this is a very important document he takes it and when he is discovered he says he's the cook and thus becomes a member of Flint's crew. Luke Arnold was born in Adelaide, Australia on the 31st of May, 1984.

And then there is the woman among all this testosterone. Hannah New plays the role of Eleanor Guthrie, the daughter of Richard Guthrie, the wealthiest black marketeer in the Bahamas. Eleanor is determined to become successful herself. Her father leaves the pirate business at providence Island under her care and she runs the tavern at the Main Street of Nassau. Hannah New is an English actress and model. Besides her role in "Black Sails" Hannah played the role of Rosalinda Fox in "The time in Between".

How many seasons?

"Black Sails" ran for four seasons from January 2014 until April 2017 and has a total of 38 episodes. It was filmed at the Cape Town Film Studios in Cape Town, South Africa.

My opinion

"Black Sails" received mixed reviews from the beginning, but I love it. At some points "Black Sails" is a visual spectacle, filmed in extraordinary beautiful surroundings. Billy Bones and Vane are my favorite characters. I already met Tom Hopper at Dutch Comic Con - Winter Edition 2017 and Zach McGowan, as well as Mark Ryan, will be a guest at the upcoming edition. I can't wait for the "Black Sails" panel! If you are into Pirate movies and adventure movies/series, give "Black Sails" a try!

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