Following in the wake of Disney’s blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean movies, two new American television dramas have been produced based on the period when the Bahamas was a pirate republic.
Black Sails launched on Starz earlier this year. It is written as a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's famous novel,Treasure Island, and features both fictional and real-life pirates. The series is filmed in South Africa and includes some nudity as well as cheesy computer-generated pirate ships.
Filmed in Puerto Rico, Crossbones is described as "a fact-based drama that focuses on one of the world’s most notorious real-life pirates”. This is none other than Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, who is played by John Malkovich.
This series airs on NBC next month and was inspired by the 2007 book, Republic of Pirates, by American journalist Colin Woodard. According to the producers, "This is a story about a man who wants to create a new world, which required us as filmmakers to at least approximate the new world. We basically built a town in Puerto Rico.”
Both Crossbones and Black Sails are set in and around the island of New Providence - which was pirate HQ in the early 1700s. So it is disappointing that neither were filmed in the Bahamas.
A couple of months ago, the entire Bahamian community was convulsed by the banning of the movie Brokeback Mountain. All sorts of people weighed in on the issue, but the argument never really got off the ground. The reason for that was that there were really two arguments going on. One was the question of homosexuality. This argument suggested that the Bahamas (government, Christian community or censorship board) was duty-bound to protect the public morality against the evils of same-sex love. The other was the view that adult citizens of a democratic nation should be given the opportunity to choose whether to expose themselves to those evils or not.
Now there should be no doubt in my readers’ minds where I stand. I believe that the pulling of the movie was arbitrary, hypocritical and absurd. In all likelihood, it was a knee-jerk reaction on the part of a handful of influential people who assumed that the Bahamian public would not object. But I don’t want to talk about that. Not yet.