Every second of film related to Black Sails is precious, so there should be no question that these are valuable by now, right?
Inside the World of Black Sails
This segment is always a joy for its reliving of each episode, but I think season 4’s “Inside the World” is the best. There are the creators glorying in the new sets they created (and demolished). There are the fun tidbits that Luke Arnold took scuba lessons to conquer his fear of drowning or that Tom Hopper and Toby Stephens shot their 402 fight for ten hours. There is the throwaway insight that Silver’s “You sound just like him” to Madi in 405 is the basis of his fear that she will be the next person killed for being drawn into Flint’s world, which honestly went a long way toward making me empathize with him. And it ends with a Toby Stephens appreciation bit, which is exactly what I wanted.
Creating the World
The attention to detail and historical accuracy in making the costumes and sets of Black Sails seems to be nearly at the level of the Lord of the Rings crew, and I can think of no higher compliment. However, this segment was less than three minutes long, and they would have done well to imitate LotR’s hours-long special features here.
Roundtable: Women in Piracy
This should have been so much longer!! Introducing “a pirate, a governess, a madam, and a princess,” we get to hear a seconds-long description of Anne, Eleanor, Max, and Madi from their respective actresses. I especially loved Clara Paget’s love for Anne’s simultaneous vulnerability and badassery as well as Jessica Parker Kennedy’s assertion that by season 4, Max no longer uses her sexuality to accomplish things, but that she’s undoubtedly learned many skills such as charm during her time as a prostitute.
Roundtable: The Legends of Treasure Island
This time it’s Flint, Silver, and Billy’s actors talking about how their characters have reached a point where they could believably become the people in Treasure Island. I laughed out loud when the camera chose to show Toby Stephens tilt his head at Luke Arnold’s quote about Silver being “the only man Flint ever feared,” and I loved the discussion about Israel Hands being the devil on Silver’s shoulder while Flint, ironically, is his angel.
Roundtable: Fearless Fans
We stay with our Treasure Island actors as they delightedly relate stories of fan interactions, especially Tom Hopper meeting a man who’d spent months growing his hair to look like Captain Flint just after Tom finished filming season 3 in which that hair has been shaved off. It’s such a joy to see these guys smiling and sharing stories and laughing together. I wish there were more of that, both in the show and in special features.
After previous seasons increasing the length of their special features, I was disappointed by how the majority of season 4’s segments were dramatically shortened. The content is excellent, but they end just as they’re beginning. The DVDs are $22.87 on Amazon, and honestly, we should all throw our money at this unfairly ignored masterpiece – but in all honesty, this is not the best showing for DVD special features.