TV Review: “Crossbones” – A Sinking Ship

Written by Emily Stewart June 29, 2014

John Malkovich as Blackbeard in "Crossbones"

“Crossbones” looks like a show that should feature plenty of adventure and excitement, and lots of discovering and exploring while living the life of a pirate. Nope. “Crossbones” is an example that you can make a serialized drama about anything and everything. The plot is a bit dull, and most of the characters are stiff. Blackbeard (John Malkovich) is a great villain. The show picks up the odd time, but those few scenes are truly appalling. There isn’t enough to rescue “Crossbones” from sinking.

Pick Up the Pace, Matey!

Watching television is an evening and weekend pastime. Something to do to unwind when you’re exhausted from your daily tasks. “Crossbones” isn’t something to watch when you are tired. There’s busy fight scenes and the like, but those scenes are few in number. The narrative of the show surrounds Blackbeard, his crew, and Tom Lowe (Richard Coyle). Lowe needs to discover the motive of Blackbeard, and possibly kill him. It’s certainly an interesting premise for a drama. Unfortunately, it drags out more than it should. The pace of the show focuses more on filler than the actual storyline. Also, the drama’s mood is very dull and doesn’t make much effort to grab attention. If you had a long day, you might need a coffee while watching “Crossbones”. No, I’m serious. Brew yourself a cup.

Claire Foy as Kate Balfour in "Crossbones"

There’s at least one scene worth watching in each episode. The very first sword fight was excellent, and other duels in the series are just as good. It’s actually pretty frightening when a character is killed, or is a victim of attempted murder. You could feel Kate’s (Claire Foy) fear, for instance, as she screamed while being thrown into the coffin and buried alive. Scenes like this give “Crossbones” potential to set sail for a second voyage, if only there were more of them.

The Lone Treasure

Luckily, Malkovich plays his role as Blackbeard well. One of the first introductions to the character involves what appears to be a skinned human. He later confirms that it’s wax. Blackbeard can get vicious at times during the show. I was intimidated when I saw him holding a baby because I wasn’t sure of the infant’s fate. His plot-line is getting more interesting as he hallucinates a siren. He also hallucinated a young boy one of the last times he saw her. This subplot could strengthen the show, and the writers of “Crossbones” should focus on that narrative.

John Malkovich and Richard Coyle in "Crossbones"

Perhaps I’m growing tired of television dramas and their over-stretched plots. “Crossbones” shouldn’t have to stretch out its narrative because the concept is one that seems like it would be action packed. The fight scenes are well done, and Blackbeard is a great character. However, the rest of the show is dull and doesn’t do much to keep a stable interest. The narrative is introducing some interesting subplots, and hopefully they develop further. Otherwise, “Crossbones” will have to walk the plank.

My Rating: 5/10 

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About Emily Stewart

Emily is a Media, Information and Technoculture student at Western University who likes to put her critical thinking skills and passion for writing to good use, including reviewing TV shows for We Eat Films.

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