'Black Sails': Toby Stephens in a gritty 'Pirates of the Caribbean' without peg legs or parrots

Black Sails," Starz's sweeping series about pirates, initially captivates because it's stunning. A hotter group of aquatic baddies never roamed the blue waters of the West Indies or cavorted on the white sands of New Providence.The series is so promising that the station renewed it even before the pilot's Jan. 25 premiere. Watching the first four episodes about tough men and the even tougher women they meet in 1715 Nassau, it becomes clear "Black Sails," blessedly, lacks pirate cliches. There's not an "arrrr" or "yo-ho-ho" to be heard."At the first meeting we had," co-creator and showrunner Jon Steinberg tellsZap2it, "we said, 'No patches. No peg legs. No parrots. No hooks.' We overcorrected early on, deliberately, in terms of trying to strip out anything that felt expected from the pirates movies that had come before."This leaves the pirates feeling truer to their essences, more fully drawn than swashbucklers looking for their next bottle of rum. The...



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