Forget Outlander, the Most Addictive Period Drama of 2010s Coming to Netflix in April

Forget Outlander, the Most Addictive Period Drama of 2010s Coming to Netflix in April
Image credit: STARZ, Netflix

Not long to wait now.


  • Netflix just goes from strength to strength.
  • This period drama will appeal to viewers who like their shows raw.
  • It’s been compared to Outlander and Game of Thrones and is sure to be a hit.

Based on the novel series by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander has been a hit with audiences since it first arrived on our screens in 2014. The show regularly brings in more than half a million viewers and has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 90%.

But another 2010s period drama that's about to land on Netflix is arguably better. At its peak, 1.7 million viewers tuned in each week to watch it, but it still flew largely under the radar.

Once it's available on the world's most popular streaming service, expect it to skyrocket in popularity and become the talk of many chat forums.

It’s inspired by a famous novel

On April 17, all four seasons of Black Sails will be available on Netflix for the first time. Starring Toby Stephens and Hannah New, the series is written as a prequel to Robert Louis Stephenson's Treasure Island, but viewers should not expect it to be anything like the epic children's book.

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No, this is a look at Nassau and the so-called Golden Age of piracy as it really was. Gritty doesn't really do it justice. It peels back the veneer of pirate life as it has often been portrayed on screen over the years and shows them for what they really were, in the same way that The Sopranos opened our eyes to life in the mob.

What’s it about?

Set about 20 years before the opening scene of Treasure Island, it's the backstory to the novel – but not as Stephenson wrote it. Created by Jonathon E. Steinberg and Robert Levine, this is a very modern take on the story.

Black Sails isn’t shy about showing sex and violence. Given the nature of the subject matter, these are essential aspects of the show. But there's nothing gratuitous about it.

Political maneuvering, personality clashes and complex relationships are equally important elements of the story, which delves deep into what life was like in the Caribbean, at sea and in England at the time. Nassau, in particular, was practically lawless, and the show explores how this affected life on the island and for the major nations that transported goods by sea.

It tackles issues such as the human psyche, motivations and power struggles from a variety of angles. Don't expect good guys and bad guys. Expect guys and gals who are raw and authentic.

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The show has won several awards, including 3 Primetime Emmys, and has an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

How does it compare with Outlander?

One of the great things about modern TV is that viewers are rarely faced with an either/or situation. So you don't have to choose between Outlander and Black Sails.

What you won't find in Black Sails is the time traveling or fantasy element of Outlander. That said, there are some similarities. Outlander has been known to show some pretty disturbing content and the depths to which humanity will stoop. Black Sails is just as damning at times – probably more so.

But where Outlander is primarily a love story, Black Sails is a show about piracy. There are several love story aspects to it, and several lust stories as well. But the battle for supremacy on Nassau is what drives the story more than any one relationship.

If you like realistic period dramas that aren't twee enough to make the Sunday night slot on BBC1, this is for you.