OK, fans of the Starz series Black Sails are going to be disappointed that the show has been cancelled. It's been the best source of swash-buckling action and drama since the first season. But, at least we know that the news isn't all bad. It looks like we will, indeed, get a fourth season of the pirate drama in 2017 before it shuffles off the plank and into the great ocean of TV shows that once were.
Starz confirmed to CinemaBlend today that Season 4 of the action adventure will air sometime in 2017, and that the season will, unfortunately, also be the last for the drama. The fourth season will feature 10 episodes, and will focus on the pirates at war in the West Indies, with civilization fighting back by any means necessary. Season 4 of the drama had originally been ordered about a year ago.
Black Sails is a prequel tale to the Robert Louis Stevenson classic "Treasure Island." The show is set about 20 years before the novel, during what's known in history as the Golden Age of Piracy. The show focuses on the crews of several pirate ships and their captains, and their fight for survival on New Providence island, a place populated and run by pirates. Black Sails' main pirate leader is Captain Flint (Toby Stephens), who takes on new crew member John Silver (Luke Arnold) in 1715, while his crew and others are all searching for the Spanish treasure galleon, the Urca de Lima.
Captain Flint is a man of mystery; when the series starts out we soon find that he was actually a London gentleman and navy officer. We don't find out until Season 2 why a man who would have seemed to have everything going for him turned to a life of crime on the high seas. The pirate way of life on the island, and in the open seas, is being threatened by all civilized nations, since, you know, pirates steal things and disrupt lawful trade. Several real life pirates are fictionalized in Black Sails, including Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny, Charles Vane, Blackbeard, Ned Low and Benjamin Hornigold.
Series co-creator Jonathan E. Steinberg noted in a press release that he and the producers of Black Sails were forced to make a difficult decision when looking to end the show after Season 4, but they all felt that what they had planned for that season would be the best way to cap off the ramp up to "Treasure Island" that the show had always been. While Black Sails has received overall mixed reviews from critics, the show has done quite well for Starz. The first three seasons of the series averaged 3.6 million multi-platform viewers for each episode, with the show being distributed in almost 200 countries and territories. The program has also been nominated for 20 awards, and won two Emmys in 2014, for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and Outstanding Special and Visual Effects in a Supporting Role.
Black Sails is truly one of the most down-and-dirty historical dramas ever put to the small screen, and it will be sad to see it go. But, at least we can look forward to one more blood-soaked season of double crosses, dirty fighting and gold chasing next year.