In 1717, a wealthy landowner Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) withdraws from his rich life and family to become a pirate and find adventure. Stede hires an extremely unfit crew and sails his ship, Revenge. But things do not go as planned as the pirates get attacked by the British naval warships and other pirates. During this bizarre voyage, he meets Blackbeard (Taika Waititi) and soon they become more than good friends.
The first thing I want to break here about this HBO Max show is that Our Flag Means Death is neither a legend nor a fictional tale in the pages of literature. Stede Bonnet, Blackbeard, and a few other characters that showed up like Blackbeard’s second in command Izzy Hands (Con O’Neill) and Calico Jack (Will Arnett) were real people. The period this show is based on is called the Golden Age of Piracy. Whether Stede and Blackbeard developed a relationship or not, I have no knowledge of that.
But more than that, I must acknowledge that someone in 2022 attempted to develop a new idea about comedy. I don’t remember if there was any comedy program based on the centuries-old pirates in ages. Due to an innovative approach, the comical methods looked fresh. I felt as if I was watching something new in the name of comedy.
The continuity after the first couple of episodes goes a little flat and then the audience will surely assume in the middle of the show that due to the limited content that is the survival of the pirates, the show has stretched the story a bit too much. In my opinion, this show could have easily ended its run in six episodes.
Despite Rhys Darby fully centering around the continuity to run its parallels in a good-looking comedy, it is Taika Waititi’s Blackbeard that captivates the audience and holds us to enjoy the presentation. The show’s excellence lies in the technical aspects like make-up and hairstyling, costume, and production designs. A diverse crew of pirates looked pretty unnatural.
I find the conclusion of the first season pretty interesting. In one theory, I can say that there is no need for the second season as the final scenes can be put to a conclusion considering it as a technical and mature end. In another theory, that is also the show’s defense, the script progression has the growth and if the script for the second season is executed well, the audience may find the next chapter intriguing.
I am not sure if Our Flag Means Death has developed a cult or attracted a large audience. For me, it was quite a fresh idea for the comedy and I enjoyed it a lot, especially Taika Waititi as Blackbeard. If the viewers are seeking a comedy show based on a very different situation, try this.