Our Flag Means Death Review
Just when you think the pantomime season is over along comes Our Flag Means Death on BBC2.
The first episode, the pilot, is little more than an introduction to the motley crew lead by wannabe pirate captain Stede Bonnet superbly played by Rhys Darby. The character is loosely based on the real-life Bonnet, a retired British army major with a large sugar plantation in Barbados, who in 1717 abandoned his wife and children; relinquished his land and fortune; bought a ship; and turned to piracy on the high seas. A career path for which he was both physically and psychologically ill equipped.
Darby, as Bonnet, commands a crew of misfits, who would mutiny given half the chance but collectively they have less than enough brain power to fail the audition for Tipping Point.
The second episode shows little improvement. It’s amusing but there are few, if any, laughs to be had. The humour is sub Carry On at best, as are the situations in which they find themselves. Bonnet may not have been cut out for the life of a privateer but he was intelligent enough not to try and singlehandedly push his ship back into the sea after it ran aground. Just one of the scenes that is more farce than sitcom.
Nevertheless Our Flag Means Death, created by David Jenkins with many writers, improves as the 10 episodes unroll; it is extremely watchable, almost compulsively so. Which is probably why the show has been nominated for numerous awards.
Just be prepared to enjoy and smile inwardly rather than laugh out loud.