Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Since humans do not hibernate, the only ways to get through a winter as awful as this one, are to read books and to watch TV. The former never fail, but the latter does, especially in January and February when we are anesthetized by dull sports spectacles and awards shows that preempt what few decent programs we depend on.

"Grimm" and "The Blacklist" are buried under ski-jumps for another two weeks, and no other network dares to put on "The Good Wife" or "Revenge" while someone gets bumped out of a bobsled.

I have never watched any premium cable series offered. I know nothing of "Da Vinci's Demons" or "Game of Thrones", but a few weeks back I started watching "Black Sails" on Starz, and I have kept on watching.

"Black Sails" is about a Caribbean island run by pirates, and about one crew who hope to find a sunken Spanish treasure ship.

This would be a great program for children, who have always loved pirates, but Starz has dosed it heavily with four letter words, nudity, and steamy scenes of every possible human combination.

Nevertheless, it is an intriguing saga that becomes more interesting as it progresses,though I have read comments criticizing the show for letting its characters talk. But that is what people used to do,before the Phone and Thumb Age.

These pirates have reasons and motivations and alliances, and these are better explained by conversation than by blowing things up.

This past episode on Saturday veered dangerously towards literacy, when a mysterious woman, fully clothed and in possession of an inner life, read a passage from Marcus Aurelius out loud. Usually,in screen spectacle land the only characters who read classic texts or listen to classical music are homicidal maniacs who want to take over the world.

This does not appear to be the case in "Black Sails",but sadly, knowing my countrymen, I know that intelligence does not sell.( If it did "Pan Am" would still be on).

I expect lots of compensatory demolitions on the next episode-


Out on the prairie said...

I have only caught a few snippets of black Sails, but they are some real bad dudes.

Sam said...

"Spoils of Babylon" on IFC is brilliant, a send-up of the epic (and awful) 1970's mini-series genre.