Blackbeard [TV Miniseries]

There is one good reason to watch this film, and it ain't to learn about history.
Kevin Connor
Angus Macfadyen, Mark Umbers, Richard Chamberlain, Jessica Chastain
The Setup: 
Did you know that all Blackbeard really needed was love?

I saw the posters for this when it was broadcast and couldn’t care less, but when it came out on DVD they used different pictures, and it hit me like a ton of bricks: “Holy shit! Blackbeard is a fuckin’ BABE!” So obviously it shot to the top of my list.

Ugh, miniserieses. What could be worse? What bugs me about them, aside from how lame and poorly-constructed they are, is how they waste your time. It is endemic to them that they stretch everything out to fit the allotted time slot, while also ending on a cliffhanger for every night but the last. The advantage of this is that you can safely fast-forward through any “kids reconnecting with the father who abandoned them” or “estranged husband and wife reconciling while she gives birth in an elevator” content and just stop when the meteor hits or earthquake strikes or shark attacks or locusts swarm or whatever without missing anything you haven’t seen 50 million times before. The very nature of the TV miniseries [especially ones, like this, from the Hallmark Channel] demands that it be as bland and aimed-square-at-the-red-states as possible.

Okay, so Blackbeard. We open with this Englishman Robert Maynard being given a commission to capture Blackbeard. Then he is introduced to Charlotte, this woman who is older then the typical dewey heroine, who is going to be a passenger on his trip. So they’re sending him off to do battle with this deadly pirate and oh, by the way, could you take this lovely woman along with you? Thanks.

Okay, so thank God we don’t have to wait too long for Blackbeard, who is played by Angus Macfadyen. He is a quite attractive Irishman [and keeps his brogue here] with, you guessed it, a black beard. It look like he just grew a normal beard and they tacked some long strands onto his chin [I’m serious, the only length of his beard comes straight off the front of his chin] when it was time to go before the cameras. Regardless, he’s hot. He takes over the ship from their captain and states his intention to look for Captain Kidd’s treasure.

Any claim of historical accuracy is neatly shuttled out the door within the first 10 minutes as the pirates have someone walk the plank. The slightest dip into books on real pirates will tell you that they did not, in fact, make people walk the plank. But of course, if you’ve read any books on real pirates you know that NO filmed entertainment could ever be made out of their real stories, as they truly do senselessly rape and kill and pillage and torture and burn in such a way that is really too horrific to be in any way “fun.”

Oh, and most real pirates also do not have beautiful, straight, white-as-snow teeth, either.

Anyway, on the voyage across, Maynard and Charlotte have—you guessed it—fallen in LOVE. They meet Charlotte’s father, played by Richard Chamberlin who looks a lot like Man Who Fell To Earth-era David Bowie, who is scheming to cheat Charlotte out of her inheritance.

At this point [actually before this] I started fast-forwarding [8X speed, thank you very much], looking for the parts in which Blackbeard takes off his shirt or it looks like someone is being hideously overdramatic [Chamberlin]. The pirates steal Maynard and make him translate a map that leads them to Kidd’s treasure. Well, I won’t spoil any of the plot for you if you feel like watching this, as it will be one of the meager pleasures you are afforded, although I’m sure you could guess it in your head right now if you tried.

But let’s get back to the serious issues: Blackbeard is HOT. I always love me a good, sexy sociopath. He runs around glaring and glowering and laughing menacingly and being all swaggery, which I like. But there’s only so long I’m gonna like it while someone’s got their shirt on, and Blackbeard is quite, quite stingy wth doffing his. I would say like only 5 total minutes of the overall three hours are spent with the Blackbeard torso on display, and most of them shrouded in darkness. I am glad to report, however, that when he does finally take it off he has a hot, hot body: not all gym-toned and washboardy [ZZzzzzzz], but both muscular and BIG, more rounded around all the edges, and frequently sweaty. Dear reader, I want to lick him.

Other than that, I really don’t think there’s any reason to watch this. I will mention [spoiler!] that the ‘hero’ defeats Blackbeard by stabbing him in the back.

There are a few ‘special features’ on the DVD, including a director commentary [WHAT could they find to talk about for that long?], and some interviews. I watched the interview with Angus Macfayden called “Mad Dog or Fawning Puppy?” This was less than 60 seconds, and featured Macfayden saying that Blackbeard fell in love and that “this mad dog of the sea turns into a fawning puppy when she’s around.” It’s as if someone said “well, it’s a DVD, we’ve got to have special features.” Generally I prefer my special features to offer at least a tiny bit more insight than I could glean from simply looking at their title. Thank you.

Should you watch it: 

Not unless you want to look at Angus, but that gets boring fast and the same thing could be accomplished via a simple Google Images search [or looking at this page], thus saving rental fees and three hours you could otherwise spend masturbating or something equally rewarding.