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Black Sails: The Complete Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Lionsgate is all about getting these full seasons sets of their shows running on Starz out quickly. I recently reviewed the Ash Vs Evil Dead Complete Collection just a little bit back and now we are on to Black Sails. Granted, the last season set to come out for the show was August last year, but they are on it in terms of collecting it. Those holding out for the full series were rewarded this week (Release date was October 16th), when the set came out. Like Ash Vs Evil Dead, this is just a collection of all the discs from the previous single season sets compiled together in some trimmer, space saving, basic packaging. It’ll come with digital copies of the episodes as well. If you’re looking to pick it up, please consider using the Amazon link following the review.

Film 

The golden age of piracy collides with encroaching civilization in four action-packed seasons of “Black Sails,” from Executive Producer Michael Bay. The action begins in 1715 on New Providence Island, lawless and overrun with history’s most notorious pirate captains. The most feared among them? The complicated, driven Captain Flint. Joined by Eleanor Guthrie, a smuggler’s beautiful daughter, Flint schemes to win the ultimate prize and keep his adversaries at bay. But enemies abound, in the form of the infamous Captain Charles Vane, the Royal Navy, Flint’s fellow cutthroats, his own inner demons, and an exiled legend whose name brings on the shivers – a man called Long John Silver.

Michael Bay looked toward television with a few of his familiar producing compatriots and delivered four seasons of Black Sails. Black Sails is the prequel series to the Robert Louis Stevenson classic novel Treasure Island. It depicted events that took place during the period set twenty years before that adventure. It leaves an interesting door open for it, should they want to explore that avenue down the road (Its rumored they will). This show was quite popular and well reviewed, so it could easily win over more fans, importantly having people discover this show, when they “deliver the goods” with a title that is very familiar to the casual show peruser.

This show is a bit of a tale of two halves, with the first two seasons playing a bit closer together in terms of plot and narrative arcs, as well as the third and fourth doing the same. We are introduced in the first half to a treasure search, find and then taking it back. And in the last half, you get a story about war between pirates and the British Empire.

Over the span of four years, the show was pretty well received, but like many Starz shows, it was popular yet still felt underseen. It did land plenty of Emmy’s and nominations for the Creative Arts Emmys during its run. Now that its come to an end, we sit and await the possible Treasure Island spin-off that almost plays like the Joker card at the end of Batman Begins. If that happens, cool, if not, this show is pretty good one that delivers upon the goods in which you would expect from the well known book while being an original adventure.

Episodes

This set contains every episode for all 4 season of Black Sails, spanning over 12 discs.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Blacks Sails retains all the same video presentations of the first four seasons and that’s fine, they don’t ever really need to touch them. These are quite sharp, crisp and full of really fine details. Starz shows tend to look really vivid, bright and well defined, and this show is at the forefront of what they are able to produce. I mean just look at how great the sea looks (And that’s no easy task).

Depth:  It comes with a pretty spacious look throughout the environments. Movements are smooth and natural with no real distortion issues.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and can get consuming in a welcoming fashion when it comes to darkened caverns or shadowy areas. Most detail is held on to pretty well. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty strong and bold with good saturation throughout the clothing worn and such. There aren’t any obvious kinda popping colors, but the browns and regular, grounded ones do get some strong looks.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and stay that way over the course of the seasons and series (Give or take a filtering her or there). Details are very crisp on facial features with a real precise display of textures down to visible pores.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: This release carries over the impressive 7. Dolby TrueHD tracks previously present (Cuz they are the same discs, duh). Its very loud and impactful, but also features some good, intricate layering and depth with its sound effects. The score gets to be pronounced and wonderfully boasted here without stepping on the vocal or effect toes.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Its booming, but nothing taking away from other aspects and just compliments and intensifies very well.

Surround Sound Presentation: With much of TV it can wind up being front heavy, but not Black Sails. Bullets and water whiz and rush around the room. Unique sounds filter in from behind and to the side. Movement is accurate and at times can feel rolling.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras 

Black Sails: The Complete Collection is a 12-disc Blu-ray set and comes with digital copies of every episode. These discs and bonus materials are identical to the individual Season sets previously available. They are now combined in 2 multi-disc amaray cases inside of a slip cover.

Season 1, Disc 3

Black Sails: An Inside Look (HD, 9:03)

Dressed to Kill (HD, 1:44)

Pirate Camp (HD, 2:23)

Folklore is Finished (HD, 3:26)

A Place in History (HD, 1:32)

Building the Behemoth (HD, 3:05)

Season 2, Disc 3

Inside the World of Black Sails (HD, 21:32)

Man O’War (HD, 4:10)

Expanding Worlds (HD, 4:06)

High Seas Action (HD, 5:08)

History’s Influence (HD, 4:35)

Season 3, Disc 3

Season 2 Recap (HD, 4:30)

Inside the World of Black Sails (HD, 24:03)

The Storm (HD, 3:43)

A Pirate’s Last Words (HD, 4:03)

Blackbeard: An 18th Century Pirate (HD, 10:03)

Woodes Rogers (HD, 5:33)

Season 4, Disc 3

Inside the World of Black Sails (HD, 18:10)

Creating the World (HD, 2:58)

Roundtable: Women in Piracy (HD, 1:53)

Roundtable: The Legends of Treasure Island (HD, 2:03)

Roundtable: Fearless Fans (HD, 1:18)

Summary 

Lionsgate’s Complete Collection of Blacks Sails is merely the previously available 4 seasons, their exact discs, repackaged to save space and have them all together in one set.  The image and audio quality, as well as the extras present before are here as they were and nothing has been added or subtracted. If you already own the seasons, stand pat, if you’ve never owned it before, this is a way to go for the best bang for your buck.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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