Blu-ray Review: BLACK SAILS: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON

BLACK SAILS was created by Jonathan Steinberg and Robert Levine and executive produced by Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners Brad Fuller and Andrew Form. The fourth season stars Toby Stephens as Captain Flint, Hannah New as Eleanor Guthrie, Luke Arnold as Long John Silver, Jessica Parker Kennedy as Max, Tom Hopper as Billy Bones, Clara Paget as Anne Bonny, Toby Schmitz as Rackhamwith Ray Stevenson as the iconic pirate Blackbeard and Luke Roberts as Woodes Rogers. The music is by Bear McCreary.

Welcome back to the early 1700’s, about twenty years prior to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “Treasure Island” when The Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean was at its apex. The series centers around the former British colony of New Providence Island, a lawless territory controlled by a few dozen of the most notorious pirate captains in history. It’s war in the West Indies, and the shores of New Providence Island have never been bloodier. While Eleanor Guthrie and Woodes Rogers hold Nassau, Captain Flint sails to strike the final blow . . . and from the interior, an insurgency builds, fueled by the legend of Long John Silver. But the closer civilization comes to defeat, the more desperately, and destructively, it will fight back.

The fourth and final season of Black Sails continues to tell these exciting stories that are well written and character driven. It’s all about these fascinating characters! The main focus of the series has always been about who holds claim to Nassau with Eleanor being at the heart of it and the one who’s watched over this prized location but that all ends this season when tragedy strikes. When this happens Max steps up and shows her strong leadership abilities but she is left with some difficult decisions to make. This is also when Captain Flint and John Silver’s uneasy alliance is put to the test to protect the land from Woodes Rogers and his military. Not everyone is on board with Flint and Silver and this turns into a violent departure for some of the men, including Billy Bones who sees things differently than his former captain. Anne Bonny and Rackham get in on the action because they also don’t want to lose their home. Rackham sneaks off to ask for some much needed help and surprisingly gets it and this gives their small army a fighting chance. They all ultimately secure Nassau so Eleanor’s dream lives on and then there’s the elusive treasure that Flint buried. Let’s just say Long John Silver and Captain Flint strike a bargain that sends the tired old captain off to finally find some peace. And the rest is history.

Black Sails features these interesting characters, their relationships with each other and the love and betrayal they experience. Where new characters are introduced, others give their tragic fairwell and this season was no different because several of the main characters didn’t make it. Blackbeard shows just how tough of a pirate he really is this season when he comes face to face with the enemy and is tortured to death. This is one of the most brutal scenes in television history! There’s also this exotic location where Black Sails is filmed that is absolutely amazing and the sets are also really impressive. The ships in this series are stunning and are a mixture of practical effects and green screen and it’s also so well done. The authentic look of these pirate ships are all spot on. This is a gritty and brutal era that these fascinating characters live in and with that comes a lot of action and violence. There’s a lot of blood to go along with these fight scenes and battles that are all very well orchestrated and choreographed. So much has gone into the making of this fantastic pirate drama that has become one of my all-time favorite series on the small screen.

The packaging comes with a nice slipcover. The outside front of the case features a lenticular cover with the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes series details, some images and list of special features. The inside of the packaging is a little different from the previous seasons. The others from Anchor Bay featured a thick fold out that housed each of the discs where Lionsgate’s is more of the traditional plastic keep case that stores the discs. Each Blu-ray disc also includes its own individual artwork and features a main characters on each of the three discs. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Black Sails: The Complete Fourth Season was a really exciting watch and a satisying end to this fantastic pirate drama. It’s always great for a series to be able to tell its full story and end things the right way. There’s action and adventure as well as heartache and love. The stories have all been well written and thought-provoking and all of these characters have been so interesting and fun to follow. Nassau has always been the centerpiece and what these people have been fighting for but it’s really all about them and their relationships. Even though the sets and locations are all so stunning, the series itself is definintely story and character driven and have been its core strengths from the very beginning. Over the four seasons John Silver has slowly transformed from this manipulating opportunist to the infamous pirate so many of us have read about. Captain Flint and Eleanor Guthrie didn’t always see eye to eye but at the end of the day they both cared about this prized location and were willing to fight for it. Anne Bonny and Rackham get to have a lot more fun this season and Anne shows just how tough of a pirate she really is. These two characters really came into their own this season. And last but not least there’s Max who steps up when tragedy strikes and leads the fight against the outsiders who want to seize their island. Black Sails: The Complete Fourth Season will be available on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) on August 29th and is definitely worth checking out.

Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Run Time: 3 Discs / 10 Episodes / 596 Minutes

Rated: TV-MA

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1)

Blu-ray Audio: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 / French and Spanish Dolby Surround 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

Special Features: The extras include five behind-the-scenes featurettes and cast/producers Q&A’s and a digital copy of the final season.

  • “Inside the World of ‘Black Sails’” Featurette (18:10)
  • “Creating the World” Featurette (02:58)
  • “Roundtable: Women in Piracy” Featurette (01:53)
  • “Roundtable: The Legends of Treasure Island” Featurette (02:03)
  • “Roundtable: Fearless Fans” Featurette (01:18)
  • Digital HD Copy

 

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