Our Flag Means Death

Our Flag Means Death: No One Pirates Like the Gentlemen Pirate

Dept. of Pillaging and Plundering


Throughout history, there have been many legendary tales of plundering and swashbuckling on the seven seas. From the daring adventures of Sir Francis Drake, to the infamous conquering tales of Blackbeard, to the marvelous misadventures of Guybrush Threepwood, history is riddled with stories that have inspired numerous films, books, and even video games. But there is one tale that was yet to be told, until now. In HBO’s brand new comedy series Our Flag Means Death, we finally get to experience the disastrous life and times of a most unlikely pirate.

The Unexpected Pirate

Our Flag Means Death

Our Flag Means Death tells the lesser known story of perhaps one of history’s most forgotten pirates, Stede Bonnet, or as he became affectionally known: “The Gentlemen Pirate.” A land owner and a major in the Barbados militia (though details of his military service remain a fair bit hazy), Bonnet decided to make a career change and turn to a life of piracy, despite having absolutely no knowledge of what life on the seas would actually entail. Legend has it that the real decision for this massive life choice was that his wife, Mary, had been nagging him a little too much. I guess running off to the open ocean is certainly one way of guaranteeing some peace and quiet. This is where we pick up the story of the series at hand.

Brought to our screens by writer/producer David Jenkins (People of Earth), the series tells the tale of how one man, along with his eclectic crew, sets out to prove that not only is he capable of piracy, but also has what it takes to become one of the greatest pirates in history. Well, that was the plan anyway. The reality was riddled with many a mishap, blunder, and disaster.

Meet Your Scurvy Crew!

Our Flag Means Death

Stepping into the shoes of our titular character is comedy veteran, Rhys Darby. Best known for his roles in Jumanji, What We Do in the Shadows, and Flight of the Conchords, Darby brings his unique sense of awkward humour and charm to a role that feels like it was written with him in mind. Here is a man that is seemingly cowardly and incompetent, that has been laughed at throughout history, put down by his friends and family, and yet, Darby brings such pathos to the character that you feel nothing but empathy for the man. Despite everyone believing he would never make anything of himself, his determination to prove to everyone that he has what it takes, is truly something that many of us can relate to.

And then there are his incredibly colourful crew. Featuring a spew of fairly recognizable faces such as Game of Thrones alumni Kristian Nairn and Joel Fry, as well as everyone’s favourite Scotsman Ewan Bremner, this not so merry band of men are the perfect compliment to Darby’s Bonnet. Grappling with the fact that their new Captain has absolutely no clue what he’s doing, the entire ensemble are a delight to watch as they struggles to try and understand what on Earth is going on. While at the same time cleaning up the messes that our beloved Bonnet leaves behind.

Also joining our band of semi-(anti?)-heroes is a fairly size-able list of incredibly talented actors. Leslie Jones, Fred Armisen, Nick Kroll, Guz Khan, and Rory Kinnear (who frankly steals the show as the obnoxious Captain Nigel Badminton) are just some of the names that pop up. But the one man, who I feel is genius casting, is the man, the myth, and the legend that is Taika Waititi. He’s playing a character that is as larger than life as he is – the legendary pirate Blackbeard – and while we may not have seen much of him as of yet (we’re only three episodes in at this point), I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us. I mean, who can say no to Taika?

A Tale as Old as Time

Our Flag Means Death

Our Flag Means Death truly feels like it has taken a page out of the book of the Monkey Island series and the Aardman classic, The Pirates: Band Of Misfits. Forget Pirates of the Carribean or Treasure Island, this is truly a swashbuckling adventure, riddled with misadventures and disasters, that will not only keep you laughing, but also send you down a Google rabbit hole wondering how any of this could actually be based on a true story. I know. I’ve searched. And the truth is even more spectacular than you think.

The first three episodes of Our Flag Means Death is now streaming exclusively on HBO GO. The following three episodes will drop on March 10, with two more episodes on March 17, and and the final two episodes on March 24.

Nick Dorian spent most of his childhood dreaming of being a plumber, mainly because he loved watching Super Mario go on adventures. When he heartbreakingly discovered actual plumbers don't go on great adventures in real life, he went on to sit in front of a TV or movie screen, watching more people go on adventures, and then talk to anybody around him about what he's seen, whether they liked it or not. Fast forward to today, he somehow managed to make watching movies and TV shows, and discussing them, an actual living. Which goes to show, dreams do come true. Except when you dream of being an Italian plumber who fights mushrooms and toads.

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