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NBC (ended 2014)

Crossbones S01E01: "The Devil's Dominion"

The best thing about pirates is that everybody calls each other "mister" all the time. "Mr. Chadwick, secure the rigging!" and so on. Okay, maybe that’s the second-best thing. The real best thing is what I like to call "the swashbuckling factor"—taking dangerous risks, gambling with fate, adventuring on the high seas. Yes, all that stuff is what makes pirate life fun. There’s a unpredictable movement to it all, a wild urgency paired with barebones preparation. Ducking cannonballs while drunk on rum. Sword-fighting above shark-infested waters. That thing where you cut a rope and fly up onto a mast, also while drunk on rum. In short, pirating casts a vote for anarchy in the face of the stuffiest of authorities: the Royal Navy (a.k.a. the Man a.k.a. Ye Olde Tightwad). Freedom is the greatest treasure of all, and any pirate king worth his weight in doubloons will tell you as much. "The Crown says we can’t sail the seven seas, does it? Screw that!"

In this pilot episode of Black Sails titled "The Devil's Dominion," alleged Crossbones focus Edward "Blackbeard" Teach (John Malkovich) touted himself as "a fellow with no wish to be governed, inspected, indoctrinated, preached at, taxed, stamped, measured, judged, condemned, hanged, or shot." No, this is not the story of the Tea Party. It’s a tale existing in the wake of TV’s other recent pirate drama, the Starz/Michael Bay ditty Black Sails. There, Captain Flint held a similar freedom-seeking point-of-view against England—but since it's a stance that's natural to piracy, I’ll can forgive the similarity in Crossbones (there’s another similarity I won’t forgive, but more on that later). I prefer high stakes in my television, and taking on the ideology behind the throne is suitably epic. 

When we first encounter "Commodore" Blackbeard, he's barefoot and seated among a whole bunch of clocks, cradling his troubled pate. What is bothering him? Time itself? He's hiding on the secret island of Santa Compana, where the name Blackbeard is swapped out for the more respectable "Commodore." Malkovich, whether he's been directed to or not, plays the dread pirate legend with sinister excess—his performance recalls some combination of King Lear, Gus Fring from Breaking Bad, and Christopher Lloyd in Camp Nowhere. His kingdom consists of Kate the quartermaster (Claire Foy), puzzle-hungry advisor Selima (Yasmine Al Massri), stoic warrioress Nenna (Tracy Ifeachor), male warrioress Charles (David Hoflin), and rebuilder of broken things, the wheelchair-bound James (Peter Stebbings). So yeah, these scallywags... 





That's the crew of speaking characters. There are also a ton of scummy island types: roustabouts, riff-raff, hooligans, gypsies, tramps, and thieves. Also probably a few beach witches. They exist to burst through doors or corner people—you know, general mob stuff. And as their "non-leader" leader (he states, "This island has no king nor wants one. I serve the pleasure of my people until it's no longer their pleasure"), Blackbeard demonstrates an uncanny knack for assessing people’s weaknesses. He's a psychologist in that respect, a charismatic man with an eye for reading people, someone who grows bored without equal mental company. Oh, and coexisting with this eccentric persona is a madness that makes him see and fear ghosts.  




Now, an esteemed and educated viewer such as yourself might ask, "Didn’t Blackbeard die when he was 38? I mean no offense to John Malkovich’s face and gray hair and 22 years seniority, but..." Tut, tut unimaginative skeptics! Crossbones has you covered: Blackbeard DIDN’T die. We know this because a British spy supervisor (played by Julian Sands) says as much to the man who's tasked with killing the retired pirate, our hero Tom Lowe (Richard Coyle). I know all of NBC's promos implied that Crossbones would be a Malkovich vehicle, but really we’re following the dashing brillo head who's been assigned to off the pirate at the Royal Navy's behest. 

Coyle does such a fine job as the roguish lead that it's a shame the series hasn't marketed Lowe and Blackbeard as more of a pair. When we meet Coyle's Lowe, he’s traveling on a British ship undercover as a surgeon, along with a device known as a "chronometer." Basically a chronometer is a historical GPS prototype that provides sailors really accurate information about location, and it seems very steampunk in nature. In fact, this machine of gauges and shined brass is so valuable that Blackbeard's cronies burned Lowe's fingertips in an effort to get more information about it.


Somehow the Crown predicted that Blackbeard wouldn’t be able to resist going after that big juicy chronometer, and the next thing we knew, Lowe had shot the device to pieces and poisoned its inventor, Mr. Nightingale (Henry Hereford). Total spy move. We then followed Lowe and his annoying-ass loblolly boy Mr. Fletch (Chris Perfetti) as the two were captured by 'Beard’s thugs and held in tropical custody. Seriously, Fletch came off as a gibbering, wide-eyed comic-relief character in a Disney cartoon, and I did not care for his boorish antics. He was helpful in the expositional dialogue department, though. 

The remainder of the hour involved a lengthy decoding of a book bearing all the secrets of the chronometer (and ostensibly how to rebuild it), and whether or not Tom Lowe and Fletch would be put to death. There were a lot of frustrating stops and starts to this thread: First, Blackbeard threatened death upon Lowe should he fail to keep the poisoned Nightingale alive. Then Nightingale died, but luckily Lowe found the cloth key to deciphering the code in the dead man’s pocket. Lowe committed it to memory and burned it, à la John Silver from Black Sails. Historically speaking, this is a common pirate trick used all the time in cases of maps and treasure.   

It’s clear that Crossbones wants to play up the relationship between Lowe and Blackbeard—and it should, as the pair shared multiple engaging scenes full of banter about existential topics. At one point, the husband of the lady quartermaster Kate pegged the duo as "sharks circling each other." I'd agree, as they do achieve this feeling. When an astute Blackbeard described Lowe as a man afraid of being discovered... as a coward, he wasn't far off. But there's no other Blackbeard to describe Blackbeard, unfortunately, so the show fills in his story with myth and town gossip. We don’t see Blackbeard "drink the marrow of infants," but there's plenty of talk to be had about how he haunts people's dreams and is an all-around legendary nightmare. However, he did slit a dude's throat after saying, "Allow me to introduce myself," and he also threatened to string Lowe up by his "bollocks." So I guess that’s terrifying. Also he acupunctures his own head. 


There’s kind of a thing going on with Kate and Tom, too, because everyone else on the island is too busy humping coconuts. So far their longest conversation has been about "swimming," which is apparently a rare activity for inhabitants of this island. By episode's end, they were taking a dip together and they had the ocean all to themselves. I guess during shore leave, all a pirate wants to do is hole up with his riches indoors, get tipsy on rum, and sleep with a prostitute. 

Meanwhile, intent on completing his mission, Lowe successfully poisoned Blackbeard by dabbing some lethal fluids exactly onto the corner of the codebook, where people always touch when they lick their fingers and turn pages. Then Blackbeard passed away and his spirit turned to seafoam...

OR DID IT? See, I told you there were stops and starts. While Fletch and Lowe were about to escape in the dead of night, they saw none other than ALLESANDRO D’ALVARADO, righthand man to the viceroy of New Spain! As the wretched Blackbeard lay dying, Lowe raced back to provide him the antidote. P.S. A good spy always carries the antidote to his poisons. Clearly with the arrival of Allesandro D'Alverado, something much bigger than one measly chronometer was at stake, and Lowe did not want to miss out.

So begins our adventure: Blackbeard and Lowe engaged in a mental chess match with deadly odds, Lowe and Kate entering a possible romance, Lowe himself a murderer several times over with mysteries all his own, the 1729 equivalent of a space race, and a plot against England involving the alliance with New Spain. These are all threads worthy of exploration and I'm happy to be along for the ride. I just hope Crossbones knows where it's going.


What did you think of Crossbones' debut?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/2/2014

Season 1 : Episode 9

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Good few cast,but show is boring. I am gonna kill you.nope gonna save you,nope gonna kill you.nope wait..save you. I am gonna kill him,nope gonna save him... and all this in 1st episode:D Female "leads" drag to watch. No thank you---pass
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i probably would have been able to appreciate it if i hadn't seen black sails first. i couldn't help but compare and this show seemed like a cheap knockoff. the characters just don't have the grimyness of black sails which makes black sails come off a little more visually realistic (minus the sunglasses of course). generally love john malkovich but i'm not sure if he's enough to carry the show and outweigh the annoying sidekick to lowe. i'm on the fence as to whether i'll give it another chance.
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I literally stumbled upon this show while channel surfing on Friday night. I love Malkovich's portrayal of Blackbeard and the historical aspects of the show. But, there were times I was not sure if this show is supposed to be a comedy or a drama or a drama with comedic aspects or a comedy with dramatic aspects. I'm guessing it's a drama with comedic aspects or at least that's the impression I got from the pilot. The characters of Blackbeard and Lowe seem well developed enough but the rest need a lot of work! Overall, it was passable Friday night entertainment.
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I like it but I had a dejavu feeling... (black sails)
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Haven't seen the pilot yet but what the F is up with that Pinhead photo!?
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I haven't ever seen Black Sails so I can't compare the two.

It looks like it might pick up next week so I'll probably give this show a chance since there isn't a whole lot else on TV right now with most shows being on hiatus for the summer.

I didn't really understand why Lowe decided to change his mind about killing Blackbeard when the Spanish showed up. Wasn't his mission to kill him? Why not just do that and then escape and report back that the Spanish are there?
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umm - because then Malkovich would be dead and no more stories to tell?
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Part of the trouble with this is can't go far enough into more realistic darkness. Whereas Black Sails could but failed to do so. And as such both share the implausible story line of pirates living peaceably on an island with a kind of democratic law. Shame Putin isn't a screen writer.
Where's the infamous black beard (that even featured in pictures of him), as it's not exactly a secret as to who he is on the island, but instead looks like some foppish weirdo.
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The trouble with John Malkovich acting is that you can always spot that he's acting, giving him a role where he gets to chew the scenery is just enabling him as far as I can see...
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It would have been so much better if someone who knew how to edit was in charge. I'm wondering if they had originally planned a 2 hour premier and instead of just cutting it in half decided to combine the whole thing into an hour. There were scenes that jumped time and location without any indication at all, and other transitions that were oddly placed and broke up the narrative.

I recently watched the Lethal Weapon 6 episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and was strongly reminded of Mac's insistence of constantly explaining what was going on while it was happening so the slower members of the audience would be able to follow. The scene with Lowe and his assistant where the assistant went through the entire plot up to that point was exactly that. It's one of those moments where you realize that the people behind the show think you, or at least most the viewers, are idiots.

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After watch Black Sails, this series feels weak. And the lag of T & T is not helping it at all! The story alone is at the point of comedy! However the female characters here are way better! That is a huge plus!
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Malkovich is so devilishly good. He is calculating, sinister, and quite intellegent as Blackbeard. It almost makes the little things that should have been obvious like why didn't the pirates search Nightingale sooner if the cypher was in his pocket? Was that just too simple? I know Blackbeard had sea smarts but it is hard to imagine most seamen as literate much less anyone one in the Caribbean who would be into acupuncture. I do like the that there are two strong female characters who have more between their ears than a pretty face.

I did enjoy this pirate tale more than Black Sails although both incarnations seem to be spending an awful lot of time on the land instead of the sea.
Fletch could be an entertaining comic relief character if the writers do it right. All we need is for Captain Bligh to show up with some breadfruit trees.

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I'm not saying it's the best, but so far it is much much more compelling than Black Sails.

I really wanted to like Black Sails, but what a snooze.

Here we have great character interactions, recognizable actors (yay Malkovich forever), more female characters (yes! and not just prostitutes either), and and a twisty plot I can follow (yes, sometimes exposition is necessary). So good on you Crossbones, do what Black Sails could not, and keep me entertained!
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Too many similarities with black sails. Not original at all.
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I think what you mean is, too many similarities with all other pirate stories.
Black Sails wasn't any more original.
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I meant that both Lowe and Jack learnt by heart what the pirates wanted.
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Yes, Fletch is a bit of a Jar Jar Binks.
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The main regret I have with this is the number of women and their too important role ...

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The first episode was not perfect, but quite good. The scenario lacks some continuity, the actors (except for Black beard) needs to improve a bit. Otherwise, it has my preference over Black Sails which is too like a cartoon, too cliche and which I quit after 3 very deceiving episodes. Crossbones looks more likely to be quite a good show.
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You could tell they were trying to do a cable show but couldn't actually show as much. They had plenty of obscured nudity, even to the point of a completely and pointlessly blurred image right in the middle of a show. I would rather they just avoid the nudity altogether. They also had what appeared to be a flayed body only for it to be explained as a wax figure, but there was absolutely no point of it even being there aside from making for a striking opening shot.

The chronometer looked very steam-punk. It is a fact that the British Navy did offer a reward for the development of an accurate timepiece but it wasn't anywhere near as fancy. That thing looked more like the Antikythera mechanism.


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Meh, it was ok.

Malkovich and Coyle are good together, but the scenes without Malkovich are a bit clunky at times.

Some examples:

When Lowe is looking for his medicine ingredients to "help" Nightingale - why didn't he just say "I need them for a job for Blackbeard, I'm sure he'll pay you".
Instead it was just an excuse for Kate to get a monologue.

The scenes between Lowe and Fletch have little or no chemistry and Lowe explaining every detail of his plan to him doesn't help - especially when this has already been covered in the flashbacks. Coyle came across as a bit hammy while this was happening, but this could have been because of the script (I can't see anyone else doing a better job in the same situation)


There were also a few other problems:

*When Blackbeard "introduced" himself to Lowe - Lowe enters the house in handcuffs, but when he overcomes his captor and saves the random sailor he is manacle free.

*Lowe sneaks into Kates house, steals the keys from under her pillow without disturbing her, gets to his trunk - only to be confronted by Kate with a gun.
Why not spend 5 seconds to show Kate opening her eyes as Lowe turns around.

*Watch The Name of the Rose - they ripped off a plot from a Sean Connery film!

*The antidote appears from nowhere.


Overall, it was ok.
I was impressed by the opening scenes - the fleet and individual boats looked very lush, and it would seem that this will be a very good looking show.
They seem to be rushing the plot though - "MY GOD...THE SPANISH ARE HERE!!!" and all of Lowes explanations to Fletch. Hopefully they have got this out of their system and episode 2 will be better.
I'll stick with it for a few more episodes, but if it starts stalling in the same way Black Sails did, then I'm done.

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Yeah it all seemed derivative, toss in a dash of Name of the rose, a little bit of Windtalkers, a flash of Hellraiser, some Dr No, a good seasoning of Pinky and the Brain and whatever else they can get away with! :-)
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The show needs to be sent to the whore tent!
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I know that the more accurately you keep track of time the more accurate navigation & the entire Global Positioning System is, but I don't see how a super-accurate clock that will make navigation more precise would enable the British Navy to wipe out pirates or combat piracy more effectively. Theoretically it would ensure a ship was always on it's intended route, which may mean a vulnerable ship could avoid an ambush by pirates, but it wouldn't dramatically improve their navigational abilities of warships enough lead them to right to pirates anymore than a compass, sextant, and very accurate maps & star charts would.
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Yeah, they are definitely overstating it with regard to pirates. Accurate navigation is, without question, an advantage in any nautical endeavour, but enough to wipe out all pirates in one fell swoop, I don't think so.
The advantage was more against the rival Spanish empire. The more of their treasure ships that got home safely, the bigger the advantage over their rivals.
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I can't believe all the whining here. It was at least OK. It's especially weird that everyone is praising black sails all of a sudden. It didn't get much praise before.
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I liked the pilot but it needs to get more interesting for me to keep watching
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I liked the pilot enough. John Malkovich does well. I guess NBC was hoping he will carry the show just like James Spader did for Blacklist. Unlike the blacklist, the other main character here Lowe is very good too. The chess match between this two would be the highlight for the show.

Two things bothers me though.

1) It had too much similarities to Black Sails I would have thought the show is ripping off Black Sails. Someone commented below the show was done before Black Sails, I am not sure how true it is.

2) Now that I liked it, it is likely NBC would cancelled it as they always do.
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When compared to Black Sails it surpasses that show very easily, imho. Malkovich is just great in it. When he and Lowe (Coyle) are in a scene together they raise it up another notch.
After the first episode of Crossbones I felt a lot more interested in what stories it has to tell than I did after the first episode of Black Sails.

I'm defenitly sticking with it for now. Will re-evaluate after 4 episodes...
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I feel bad you had to review this show... So boring... After 15 minutes it felt I had been watching it for hours...
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Well, I gave it a try... but ya...no. I thought Black Sails was pretty terrible, but this barely raised a pulse. I feel a little bad, because clearly Malkovich is having some fun and definitely "out acting" the rest of the cast, but nothing here is interesting, or note worthy, or exciting or warranting of turning in for a second episode. Bland both unlikeable and un-hateable characters, boring set pieces, excessive exposition from punchable side kick.

And then we reach the climax of the episode and it's - "The spanish are planning something..." That's your hook?

Nothing is wrong with a slow build (look at Penny Dreadful for example of excruciating and yet completely enthralling plot pacing) but Crossbones is full of so much "who cares" that I can't see myself sticking around to finding out if it gets better.

Verdict: Arrr she blows.

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It was quite boring and expected (and I don't watch Black Sails so that wasn't the problem).

The narrative and the exposition were like pulling teeth. Not difficult to grasp, just painful. The narration in the beginning? Good grief.

I watched this because of Malkovich, but neither he nor the others were believable. I look as much like a spy as "the other guy who isn't Malkovich".

And you gotta love a historical piece where the men are all dirty and tattered, but the women are always lovely (even the pirate one) and are wearing 21st century make-up and eyebrow designs.

By the way: "At one point, the husband of the lady quartermaster Kate pegged the duo as "sharks circling each other." No, it was Kate who said that line.
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Better than Black Sails, not sure if it's going to last, but that's something at least.

More focus on the plot, less on the rumpy pumpy is always welcome.
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I tried, but I found it so boring.
Summer tv sucks honestly
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That was some good piratey fun.
But the premise is utterly rediculous. To invent the notion that Blackbeard is still alive 11 years after his, confirmed, death, just to have name recognition, is silly.
Also that overly elaborate contraption they call the Longitude Chronometer looks like something out of the 'DaVinci Code'.
The real world device they are referring to is simply a clock that isn't influenced by motion, so that it stays accurate on board a ship.

And what's with Blackbeards wierd accent? He was an Englishman, wasn't he?
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I don't get the hatred from Black Sails fans. It's such a rip-off because it's so different?? Blackbeard is a person/legend of history, while Black Sails is based on a work of fiction. (Yes, both shows are fiction.) It's network TV versus pay channel. Malcovich/heady vs Bay/physical. Drama vs action. Generals and intelligence (spies) vs. captains and sailors.

I'm not at all angry that nobody in Crossbones said "Arrr!" all the time. I enjoyed it and look forward to more.
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"It's network TV versus pay channel."

Ever since the series 'Hannibal' hit the air, that excuse is no longer valid.
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I disagree about 90% with that. In one respect, blood & gore, Hannibal did "push the limits" for network TV, but limits still exist. Jason Rothenberg, creator & EP of The 100 tweeted just this week, "You would not believe how strict the rules are about gutting a fish on TV."

But for the profanity and "soft porn" often seen on pay TV series, broadcast certainly still has significant prohibitions.
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Part of the problem is that they have taken the name of a historical person and inserted it into a story that has absolutely nothing to do with him in real life.
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Very good show, I was pleasantly surprised. Talented cast, compelling story and excellent writing. Never a dull moment, suspenseful, and intriguing. Such clever and intelligent dialogue between Tom Lowe and Blackbeard, one feels compelled to watch again in case you miss something the first time. Not familiar with Black Sails, and don't think it's fair to compare the two shows just because the premise involves pirates. In fact, I don't know why people keep calling this a “pirate drama” because it seems to be much more than that.

I really didn't think I would care for this show. I watched it primarily for John Malkovich, whose presence on television is an event in itself... but instead found myself totally mesmerized by Richard Coyle as Tom Lowe. He reminds me of Russell Crowe, and has a very seductive delivery and tone to his voice.

I would recommend it to anyone. Not bad for a network show, a decent attempt by NBC to offer something different. I'm only sorry that they didn't release it last year as scheduled, I do remember reading that Hugh Laurie (House) was originally chosen for the Blackbeard role.

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Haven't watched anything this bad in a long time...
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I find that very hard to believe.
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Bleh. I was bored throughout it all. With this and Black Sails both boring me greatly, maybe I'm just not as into pirates as I thought I would be.
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Sorry to burn a pirate show, but this is clearly a big pile of crap.
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Another good concept show ruined by the feminists. Right from the start we get the little black girl with a sword, skinny arms and itti bitti titties beating up men. We see it on the shows where the social engineering writers and producers have this formula where the woman is portrayed as stronger than the man. Men on most shows are demoted to nitwits or the woman takes the lead as the men cower and act helpless in the background. You don't need to make a strong woman character by belittling or demeaning men.

Then we get the little girl bossing around supposed tough men on the dock while the men cower in the background looking like nitwits. I am sure the feminist EEOC board of reviw was pleased.

Hollywood wonders why they are losing audience.
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Staff
Yeah men have it really bad in Hollywood, and also most of society. I'm not sure I agree with your point of view in terms of "social engineering," because a) I don't think anyone would hold this show up as an example of feminism, and b) for as many woman authority roles you point out (two - I guess you're cool with Selima?), they are both minor characters (Nenna - who I thought was kind of a badass, only had one line), when compared to the much more central Lowe and Teach.

You don't seriously think that any man can defeat any woman, regardless of skill in swordsmanship? What other shows are portraying men as nitwits and belittling or demeaning them?
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You really shouldn't take him too seriously. Any time a show has a woman who is anything other than eye-candy, he sees it as a feminist plot to emasculate him.
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Thanks for the tip!
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So, if she'd had big tits she could beat up men?
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I thought this was a bit of a wash, to be honest, though I'm happy to see John Malkovich on the smaller screen. It had a few strong points -- namely the disease that is causing him to see things, and some of the scenes (like the self-accupuncture that brings up images of Pin-Head), but this doesn't have the feel or hold a candle to Black Sails. Even though the latter didn't go far in story, it was far better and has more potential. Crossbones needs to take it up a notch.

Pirates may be the new zombies in terms of popular genre (hurry up and come back TWD!!!), but it won't last with shows like this.
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I thought the pilot was okay. Pilots are usually not the best episode of any series, so I won't hold it against the show, and I'll watch again to give the show a proper chance. I was a bit disappointed with John Malkovich's Blackbeard, he came off a bit goofy.

It's really hard not to compare this to Black Sails, but I'm going to try not too. They are completely different shows, with completely different tones, despite being about the same subject... but so far I think Black Sails was far superior to Crossbones. It looked better, and had much better acting for the most part. Now, I'm going to try to put Black Sails out of my mind, lol.
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I find it incredible that anyone who claims not to have seen Black Sails could then claim that Blackbeard, this over-blown over-budgeted flabby piece of shite isn't a direct rip-off of Black Sails, especially the whole scam around memorising a secret that the evil boss needs to know.
The plot is so similar to Black Sails I have to assume they had a plant in the Black Sails production.

That would be forgiveable if the show had class to it, Hollywood has been ripping itself off since the days of the Keystone Cops.

The trouble is chiefly Malkovich, the studio system died nearly 50 years ago yet Hollywood execs are still delusional about the whole 'star' thing.
They imagine that putting some big name such as Malkovich or Bacon in their show and it won't matter that the script is a derivative piece of garbage and the costumes are lamer than that no legged fellow currently on trial for murder.

The costumes ah the costumes respondible for ruininh the initial piracy scenes.
In black Sails the costumes were genuinely scary, the seemingly amateurish war-paint and 'found' clothing created an atmosphere of genuine fear, but the BlackBeard pirates looked more like guests at a Manhattan Halloween party, the makeup was neat & precise and the costumes tidy & fresh like they had just come back from the cleaners

Lame lame lame

But the worst of all was Malkovich whose attempted voice was meant to make him arrogant cruel and supercilious, however his too high pitched, nasal, imitation mid-atlantic elite voice - the one which Malkovich has been dragging out in one form or another for so much of his career, comes across as a man striving to sound arrogant cruel & supercilious.
It goes without saying that a man striving to sound arrogant, cruel and supercilious is none of those things - he is a weak nonentity trying to spin the world but copping the big fail.

This travesty deserves the TV.com award of the silver bacon rasher.
This award, given to woefuly bad network shows that rely too heavily on the celebrity status of the lead actor, has been cast in the shape of a slice of bacon in commemoration of its first recipient; that confused, and confusing, yet ultimately tiresome filler between commercials, "The Following" Yep-the TV show which has done for the FBI what Irish jokes did for Ireland has finally won an award.

Black Sails is a long way from being a great TV show yet watching Blackbeard has caused me to look back at Black Sails with feelings of unrequited nostalgia,
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/agree
...and people are so clean, it almost looks like a commercial.

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I'm surprised by all the comparisons to black sails considering the pilot was shot Over a year ago and black sails aired several months ago. I want to know about this show not about the similarities to other shows.
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Well, I thought it was a fine introduction into the universe of "Crossbones". I did not watch "Black Sails", and I am quite happy not to be forced to compare! I loved Blackbeard as well as Lowe and their elaborate banter spiced up the dialogues. I believe they will just make a nice pairing and I expect lots of charismatic character play, antagonistic power moves and likewise artfully allying if it suits the situation.

Thankfully Lowe is not an immaculate hero, bound in honour, but rather knows how to play the dirty game if convenient. I can foresee some blurry lines moral-wise regarding the greater good (Long live the King! Just which one seems to be the question...)
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Does the lack of crassness, nudity & violence automatically mean a fail in your books? Seriously if it is a bit of fun with tongue firmly planted in cheek why not take it for what it is a silly ride.
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I was not blown away by this episode in a "I can't wait for next week" way but I thought it was good fun. I'll watch next week.

Having not seen "Black Sails", I can't speak to any comparisons. And I'm thinking that might be a good thing.
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I was not impressed with its pilot. Black Sail pilot was better. I guess that is why NBC placed it late on Friday nights. :P
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&That;'s the crew of speaking characters. There are also a ton of scummy
&island; types: roustabouts, riff-raff, hooligans, gypsies, tramps, and thieves.
&Also; probably a few beach witches.


That leads like the closing paragraph of a TV.com "about our staff" page. :-)


I've been waiting for this show to air for a while now (expected it last summer) so between that and this review I'm definitely going to check it out. Thanks!
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Should be "That READS like...."
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Staff
Dang, is it that obvious that Tim is a beach witch?
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For those who read the above review, and don't already know this, a "chronometer", while used for navigation, was NOT a "historical GPS prototype", any more than was a chart, compass or sextant. It was simply a really accurate clock. That's why really accurate clocks and watches are still marketed as "chronometers" today.

Learn some history. There really were ways to get around before GPS made it so easy. Back in the day, navigation relied on measuring the positions of the sun and the stars at various times of the day, and knowing precisely when you measured them. The more accurate the time, and the more accurate the measurements, the better the navigation, and the more likely that you'd end up in Santa Compana at the end of your voyage, instead of Greenland for instance. In Blackbeard's time, such technology was cutting edge, and would have given the holder the kind of advantage that radar gave England during the Battle of Britain, or that GPS driven drones give the US military now. As such, it makes a suitable MacGuffin to drive the story here.

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Yeah thanks for the historical trivia!
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Very accurate clocks are actually also how GPS works today.
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For those curious about the history and importance of the marine chronometer, check out Longitude, both a 4-episode miniseries and a book by Dava Sovel.

Also, a geeky fact about GPS: The satellites' atomic clock had to be set to be inaccurate before launch in order to compensate for relativistic effects (perceived passage of time due to differences in speed and gravity). They're only fast by about 1/10 of a second per year, but to a nanosecond-accurate system, that's something like 38,000 nano-ticks per day.
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Yes, but GPS stands for Global Positioning System, and clocks make up only part of this system. It's a bit like calling an engine a car. Sure, it's important to the car, but it ain't everything. And that same engine can be used in other things besides cars. I know it's nitpicking, but since we're talking about accuracy here, the original statement simply wasn't accurate, and for those without the vocabulary or historical background to know better, I thought I'd set the record straight.
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I enjoyed it, mostly for Malkovich and Coyle and their banter. As noted, the plots were rather convoluted and confusing. For instance, Blackbeard gets the key, sends Coyle away, and then... reads the remains of the logbook. How does he do that without actually translating the logbook first? Doesn't he need Selime to use the cipher first?

And first Nightingale is dead (as Tom describes it), and then he isn't quite dead and Tom can still save him.

It's also one of those pilots where several names get dropped from the dialogue. Selime and Rider (no first name) are mentioned maybe once, halfway into the episode. Same for Nenna. I don't think Balfour's name was ever mentioned. And I still have no idea who Eisengrim is.

Although there was someone in the episode called Richard Lester, which was a cute reference to the director of a few swashbuckling movies. Again, who it was, though, who knows?
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Black Sails - Adult rated, nudity, cussing, pirates = WIN

Crossbone Diaries - PG rated, pirates = FAIL
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More of a PG-13.
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Actually, it was surprisingly violent for a network show, even in the ten o'clock slot. We see one man get his throat cut full on.

The lack of nudity doesn't bother me, and there really isn't anyone in this episode that needs to be cussing. Blackbeard and Tom carry 75% of the dialogue, and neither one of them seem to be the swearing types.
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I thought it was pretty strange that they did have a shot of Kate nude, but blurred, after swimming.
American TV Networks are weird.
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Hannibal is even worse that it replaced.
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Or "better," depending on your point of view. ;)

Even Grimm this year has featured some particularly gory scenes. Usually corpses on the ground, but still...
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Yeah. Crossbones was nothing compared to those.
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I successfully removed CROSSBONES from my DVR.
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Although I've not yet seen the show I went ahead and read the above review. The snide comments and sarcasm was leading me to think of skipping viewing it altogether, then I got to the end and read &Crossbones; knows where it's going.&&! Happy to be going along for the ride? So even though you tear the show apart you are looking forward to watching more of it? Why am I not understanding your Review?
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Agreed, the second paragraph of the review/synopsis sounded very negative, followed by an almost mocking attitude, though it seemed to lose that as it went on. Did he ever say what the "unforgivable similarity" was?
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What? He didn't tear it apart at all. Also you misquoted. Ryan said "I hope Crossbones knows where it's going."
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Yo! I enjoyed the ride overall despite there being some silly elements. Also you should check out the episode if you're interested.
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What was the "another similarity I won’t forgive" that you mention in your review? I re-read it, but still couldn't see where you mention it.
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The whole conceit of memorizing vital information in order to stay alive/essential to the show's plot. You're right though I did not come back to that point. Too mesmerized by Blackbeard's aura!
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Thanks. I was genuinely curious, though I have to admit that sometimes I've forgiven as many as six unforgivable things before breakfast. :) Best wishes.
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