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Black Sails: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray Review)

Black Sails  In the wake of the burning of Charles Town, all the New World lives in fear of Captain Flint. But when his campaign of terror crosses over into madness, and new threats emerge to challenge his supremacy, it falls to John Silver to locate the man within the monster, before Flint’s war against the world consumes them all. Meanwhile, on the pirate island of Nassau, it’s a new day. With Eleanor Guthrie facing judgment in London, Jack Rackham sits atop a fortune in Spanish gold, hoping to secure his legacy as a king among thieves. To do so, he’ll have to compete with the return of one of history’s most notorious captains, who holds a different vision for their home, as well as a complicated past with Rackham’s chief ally, Captain Charles Vane. All will be tested when a new opponent arrives to claim Nassau, one the pirates could never have anticipated. It knows them. It understands them. And in the blink of an eye, it will do the one thing they never thought possible… turn them against each other.

Black Sails

The Series

Black Sails has returned for an explosive third seas via STARZ. In this action packed third season we have Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) fully embracing the madness of being leader of men. After burning down Charles Town – Flint has become legendary in his exploits. Only his loyal friend John Silver (Luke Arnold) can reach him and try to bring him down to size. Complicating matters is the introduction of a new player – the infamous and potentially legendary in his own right: Blackbeard (Ray Stevenson).

Off to the side but intertwined is Jack Rackham sitting on several tons of Spanish gold that the Spanish Armada is actively searching for and will have it by any means necessary. Spies and informants have been placed and Jack and those closest to him are in grave danger. Of course, this being Jack, he takes it all in humorous yet unhinged stride. Captain Charles Vane (Zack McGowan) is also along for the ride and is there to watch over Jack and the gold. If you know anything about Charles Vane then you know he doesn’t mess around.

I was excited to dig into Black Sails: Season 3 on Blu-ray – having been a big fan of the show since the first season (on Blu-ray, as well). I binged the entire third season and am quite proud of that achievement. Season 2 acted as a focus point to Captain Flint’s inner turmoil and his sadness along with stripping the character to the bare skeleton. It was great and unexpected writing. As season 3 starts up we see that he is reveling in the madness but there really isn’t anywhere for it to go and gets redirected to his men. Not good. Silver, the voice of reason, is there for his friend and Captain and seems to be the only person onboard that can calm the animal down.

There are several story arcs that revolve around the same group of characters previously introduced in earlier seasons that are still present. Season 3 of Black Sails does introduce one of baddest men around (in a good way) and that is of Blackbeard played to an unbelievable “T” by Ray Stevenson. I would not be surprised if Stevenson gets nominated for an Emmy or something. He’s this huge presence that overshadows everyone he comes to contact with, because Blackbeard isn’t just a warrior. He’s smart, articulate, and is literally a master of arms. He packs swords, knives, and muskets all on his person and has incredible speed while maneuvering with weaponry. It was pretty damn cool to see him in action.

This season is also staged a bit like a 3-act story. The first couple of episodes are the action packed ones then the bulk of the middle episodes allow time for one to catch their breath before coming back to rip your heart out in the end. An early episode features an amazing storm that tosses ships and people around like that scene from Mad Max: Fury Road where they drive into the sandstorm – but this one is water. Yeah, visualize that and see how amazing it actually looks. The budget is still consistent and it’s like watching one long and lush production. In any event – Black Sails: The Complete Third Season should not be missed.

 

 

Black Sails

Video

Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: Black Sails looks terrific on Blu-ray. There are traces of haze and softness here and there but I figure it’s due to treacherous seas conditions – it actually lends itself well to the overall aesthetic.

Depth: There’s a terrific level of immersion watching the show enhanced by a lush production design. The Blu-ray captures the series almost as a moving painting of sorts.

Black Levels: Black levels are crush-free.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is rich and comes off pastel-like in certain scenes, which is great.

Flesh Tones: No complaints here. Folks’ complexions range from vibrant to sickly. Although, I’ve yet to see characters succumb to scurvy, but that’s a complaint for another day.

Noise/Artifacts: Noise, debris, artifacts, etc., were not found on this Blu-ray set.

 

Black Sails

 

Audio  

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

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: The Blu-ray experience has been consistently on the reference side of things since the beginning. It would be redundant of me to try and rehash what I previously wrote on the sound levels.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer highlights involve giant cannon balls being fired from large ships to other ships and to people on the mainland. It’s a sight to behold.

Surround Sound Presentation: Every splinter ricochets from speaker to speaker when people ripped through shreds by mortar, musket, and cannonball fire. All this and it never muddles up the front stage portion of the program.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are clean and crisp – everyone sounded off without a hitch.

 

Black Sails Season

 Extras  

The special features included in the season 3 set are the same sort of features that were included in the previous two season – on Blu-ray. We have a couple of featurettes focusing on production design, historical featurette, and detailed featurettes focusing on some of the fantastic visual effects in certain episodes – in this case, we get to see how they created the phenomenal storm scene featured in an episode. Rounding out the special features is a Digital HD copy of the entire season.

  • Season Two Recap (HD)
  • Blackbeard: An 18th Century Pirate (HD)
  • The Storm (HD)
  • A Pirate’s Last Words (HD)
  • Woods Rogers (HD)
  • Inside the World of Black Sails (HD)
  • Digital HD UltraViolet Copy 

 

Black Sails Season

Summary

The withdrawals kicked after I finished this Blu-ray boxed set. The fourth and final season premieres in January, so there’s a 2 month or so wait for completion. Black Sails: Season 3 has stellar video and audio, with the basic batch of special features. Overall, it’s a decent television Blu-ray package that would please new viewers and fans of the show.

 

Black Sails: The Complete Third Season 

is available on Blu-ray & DVD!

ORDER NOW!

Black Sails

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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