15 Shows To Watch If You Like Black Sails


Black Sails was an underrated but fantastic series about pirates that aired on Starz for four seasons. Even though it has been off the air for several years, many fans still talk about the show on a regular basis. It is a prequel series based on author Robert Louis Stevenson’s work before the story of Treasure Island took place.

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It followed the adventures of Captain Flint and his various crewmates, and the interesting, complex characters along with the intense and unique storylines made it a favorite among viewers. So if fans are looking for a new show to fill the hole Black Sails left behind, here are some other shows that might capture their interest.

Updated February 7th, 2021 by Kristen Palamara: Even though Black Sails has been off the air since 2017, fans continue to discover, watch, and rewatch the series for its engaging and complicated characters and storylines. The series took place in the 1700s and centered on pirates living a life of debauchery but also well-developed and intriguing characters. There are several other historical drama and action shows that are somewhat similar to Black Sails, and although nothing will exactly be the same as the show here are some similar shows for fans of Black Sails to check out. 

15 Poldark (2015-2019)

Poldark follows Captain Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) as he returns home to Cornwall after the end of the American Revolution to find that things have gotten increasingly worse in his life back home.

Poldark returns to find that his father has died since he’s been away and that the love of his life has married someone else. The British historical drama is filled with romance, action, and drama just like Black Sails. 

14 TURN: Washington’s Spies (2014-2017)

turn amc

Turn is another historical drama that’s set during the American Revolution and tells the untold history of citizens during the war.

The show delves into the stories of spies, double agents, and other covert operations during the war that was the foundation for modern espionage, and how it affected everyone from soldiers to civilians on both the rebellious American side and the British side.

13 Rome (2005-2007)

HBO’s Rome is a historical drama about the history of the death of the Roman Republic and the creation of the Roman Empire. It centers on two soldiers who live through war, assassinations, and dangerous political maneuvers throughout the fraught Roman history.

Multiple well-known historical figures appear in the show including Mark Antony, Cleopatra, and Julius Caesar.

12 Medici (2016-2019)

Netflix’s Medici series follows the Medici family who rose to prominence in medieval Italy as successful merchants.

The series follows various family members as they try to keep their position of power and relevance in their community while multiple people and other families are trying to destroy them to take their power. It’s another historical drama that focuses on characters and has unique storylines like Black Sails. 

11 Penny Dreadful (2014-2016)

Penny Dreadful Season 3 poster

Penny Dreadful was a psychologically thrilling series set in Victorian London and had multiple characters inspired by classic literary characters like Dorian Gray and Dr. Frankenstein.

The show centered on Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton) trying to look for his daughter who was taken by the creatures that lurk around their city. Sir Malcolm works with a clairvoyant (Eva Green) and a hired monster slayer (Josh Hartnett) to try to save her.

10 Frontier (2016-2018)

Frontier season 1 episode 6 Jason Momoa

Jason Momoa stars in this Canadian Netflix Original series. Unfortunately, it was canceled after only three seasons but it wraps up at an interesting point in season three. While it does leave a cliffhanger, it’s not a terrible one. The series mainly revolves around Momoa’s character, Declan Harp.

He’s a fur trader attempting to stop the nefarious Lord Benton and his Hudson Bay Company from their massive monopoly over the fur trade. Even if “fur trading” doesn’t sound that appealing to you, it has plenty of sex and violence to keep you entertained. It’s kind of like Game of Thrones, except everyone is fighting over control of the fur company instead of an Iron Throne.

9 Game of Thrones (2011-2019)

Speaking of Game of Thrones, if you enjoy the period setting of Black Sails, the costumes, violence, and the sex, then you can find all of those things in Game of Thrones. While there aren’t really any pirates to speak of, there are some ships and even some ship combat and adventures on the sea, not a lot, but it’s better than nothing.

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Overall, the sprawling fantasy saga is extremely popular for a reason. It follows the age-old battle for the Iron Throne from several different families all vying for power.

8 The Tudors (2007-2010)

The Tudors is an epic historical period piece drama that focuses primarily on King Henry VIII’s reign in England. It introduces famed historical folks like Anne of Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon.

You’ll also recognize several familiar faces while watching this show, as it helped launch Natalie Dormer and Henry Cavill’s respective careers. Plus it has lots of fun stuff like nudity and violence that fans have come to expect from period shows at this point. Again, no pirates to speak of, but it has a similar tone to Black Sails.

7 Outlander (2014-)

Outlander is a Starz series that will air its fifth season in the upcoming year. The show is based on the bestselling book series by Diana Gabaldon. If you love romance and time travel, then this is the show for you, and it’s a unique series because it actually takes place in two different time periods.

RELATED: Outlander: 5 Characters Who Deserve Spin-Offs (& 5 Who Don’t)

Claire Randall is magically transported back in time to the 1700s in Scotland, but before that, she lived during the Second World War where she served as a nurse in the army. Claire falls in love with a highlander named James Fraser in the past, and she has to decide if she wants to stay there or return to her husband in the future.

6 Spartacus (2010-2013)

Spartacus is a historical action drama that ran on Starz for three seasons. The show focuses on the actual historical figure, Spartacus. If you don’t know much about him, he led a major rebellion of slaves against the Roman Republic.

Again, this is another show where you’ll get your fill of violence, nudity, and eroticism. Spartacus also has some LGBT characters, but you should keep in mind they’re not always treated well, and you might not get your happy ending depending on which characters you grow attached to.

5 Crossbones (2014)

Crossbones is one of the few shows out there that is actually about a pirate. Black Sails fans will definitely want to check it out. It will be a short watch, as the series was unfortunately canceled after only one season, but it’s still an interesting series to watch if you think of it as a miniseries.

It tells the story of the infamous pirate known as Blackbeard, played by John Malkovich. It aired on NBC, so it won’t be quite as vulgar as some of the other series on this list, but if you’re distinctly trying to find something about pirates then this will likely be your best bet.

4 Vikings (2013-2020)

As the name suggests, Vikings is about, well, the Vikings. Specifically Ragnar Lothbrok. The show follows Ragnar as he strives to find a way to the Western world while also taking care of his family.

RELATED: 10 Shows To Watch If You Like Vikings

If you’re a fan of Nordic folklore and stories about gods like Thor and Odin, then Vikings should appease you. Plus, even though they’re not pirates, the show deals with lots of stories revolving around ships and ship life. The Vikings often traveled by sea and had a great many rituals pertaining to the sea so you’ll want to watch this series for sure.

3 The Last Kingdom (2015-)

The Last Kingdom is a British television series that streams on Netflix as a Netflix Original. Like some of the other shows on this list, it is based on a popular book series. It has been compared to series like Game of Thrones and Outlander in the past.

The story revolves around a man named Uhtred who witnesses his father’s brutal execution. Years later, he vows revenge on those who killed him. But this is far from a simple revenge story.

2 Reign (2013-2017)

Reign is different from the other series on this list in that it is aimed at a younger demographic. It aired on The CW for four seasons before eventually coming to an ending. It wasn’t canceled though, so don’t worry about being left on a cliffhanger.

The show is all about Mary Queen of Scots and her complicated relationship with Queen Elizabeth. It is The CW though, so expect dramatic liberties to be taken with historical accuracy. But if you’re in the mood for something fun and silly set in a historical period then check it out.

1 The Borgias (2011-2013)

There are actually two different versions of The Borgias drama series. It’s up to you which one you want to watch, but most people know a little more about the Showtime series which aired for three seasons.

As the title suggests, this is a show about the historical Borgias family who tried to take over Italy during the Renaissance period. Rodrigo, the family’s patriarch, is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals, even using his own children in his political dealings if necessary.

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