Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Pirate Adventure Hidden Gem Series You Need To Watch On Hulu

Perhaps your love for pirate adventures started with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. After all, Pirates of the Caribbean changed action movies and no one noticed until decades later. Or maybe you were already into pirates thanks to Muppets Treasure Island, which preceded its fellow pirate blockbuster by seven years, coming out in 1996. Even before that, Disney's adaptation of Peter Pan and Robin Williams-starring Hook (which came out in 1991) portrayed pirate adventures as great if potentially fatal fun to its impressionable audience. And that audience is still hungry for more pirate tales.

Stories from the golden age of piracy (as opposed to modern piracy: see Captain Phillips) have always fascinated those of us at a safe enough distance to repaint the pretty intense violence and challenges of life on the sea as romantic rebellions against rigid social structures. If your idea of entertainment is watching teams of social outsiders in 18th century period costumes wreaking havoc in the name of claiming large piles of gold and as much power as possible, there's a pirate adventure hidden gem series you need to watch on Hulu.

Black Sails features historical figures

Black Sails premiered on STARZ in 2014, and all four seasons are currently available with a Hulu subscription. If you like your action and adventure period dramas with a sprinkle of historical accuracy and a whiff of literary pretensions, you'll definitely enjoy this show.

Black Sails is a loose prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island — but a very different interpretation than the Muppets'. It features characters from the book, including Captain Flint (Toby Stephens), John Silver (Luke Arnold), Ben Gunn (Chris Fisher) and Billy Bones (Tom Hopper — which may be why Luther from Umbrella Academy looks so familiar.)

Mingling with the fictional pirates are several fictionalized versions of real-life pirates, including Captain Charles Vane (Zach McGowan), "Calico Jack" Rackham (Toby Schmitz), Anne Bonny (Clara Paget), Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard (Ray Stevenson), Edward Low (Tadhg Murphy), and Benjamin Hornigold (Patrick Lyster). Another real historical figure is the Maroon Queen (Moshidi Motshegwa), who is based on a woman known as Grande Nanni or Queen Nanni, the leader of a community of formerly enslaved people, the Windward Maroons, in Jamaica, who successfully rebelled against the British and then evaded its military's attempts to recapture them.

Of course, like most historical fictions, Black Sails doesn't bother to restrict itself to strict historical accuracy. But it does a surprisingly good job of making the characters feel real, if also terrifying — and it's thrilling to know that there really were people this charming, ruthless, and power-hungry charging around the high seas in the early 1700s.

Black Sails is the adult version of your favorite childhood pirates movies

For some reason, pirates have become common material for children's stories — maybe we have the Disneyfied version of Peter Pan to thank for that, or the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. But one of the things only adults notice in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies is that pirates were actually famously ruthless and violent — it's really an essential part of the job description. They were also known for, er, partying pretty hard too: remember that brief trip to Tortuga?

Black Sails leans into the family unfriendly aspects of pirate life, which is one of its attractions. Put it this way: John Silver has two legs at the start of the show, and he doesn't have an accident. If you've always wanted to take the jolly part out of the famous pirate flag, Black Sails is up your street (or port).

The show doesn't take itself too seriously, either. It is, after all, at least partially about dozens of people squabbling over lost gold. There are betrayals, battles at sea and on land, alliances forged and broken, some sword fighting, and lots of blood. Which is exactly what grown-ups want from a pirate show.