Black Sails is an American TV series created by Starz, set in 1715, the Golden Age of Pirates. Many of the characters in the series are taken from Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous pirate adventure Treasure Island (1883) and tell the story of what happened before the events from the novel took place. Two of these characters are Captain Flint, played by Toby Stephens and Long John Silver (played by Luke Arnold). Flint, the most feared pirate of the West Indies, is the hero of the show while John Silver, his rival, is a new member of crew and at the beginning of his pirating career.

The story is set in the Bahamas but mostly filmed in South Africa. Whilst the series was considered very realistic and attentive to detail, critics weren’t always convinced by the plot. They said that the pirates, unlike Stevenson’s originals, didn’t actually do much apart from look for treasure and kill each other. The series ran from 2014 to 2017 but making the action last for 38 episodes proved difficult. There often didn’t seem enough imagination (or money) to keep a good story going all that time with more emphasis on politics than sea battles.

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Illustration by Paolo D’Altan, taken from Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Reading and Training, Step 3 (B1.2))