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The Lost Pirate Kingdom Review 2021 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Stars: Sam Callis, Moneer Elmasseek, Mark Gillis
The Gist: The Lost Pirate Kingdom combines scripted scenes and expert interviews to paint a picture of the major players who plundered ships throughout the southeastern U.S. coast and the Caribbean in the 18th century. We start in 1715, right after the War of Spanish Succession, which was won by England. After that, an unspoken naval war went on for the following 12 years, where the British navy conscripted “profiteers” to plunder Spanish ships that it encountered.
Among the men who led these private ships is the rough-and-tumble Benjamin Hornigold (Sam Callis), who has a rivalry with the more aristocratic Henry Jennings (Mark Gillis). When the war ended, Jennings still was able to get away with his plunder while Hornigold and his men were left to starve. They moved from Jamaica to the village of Nassau in the Bahamas, a place that put them in a perfect position to invade and rob Spanish trade ships, then hide.
When a Spanish fleet carrying millions of pesos of gold and silver gets transported through the region, both Hornigold and Jennings vie for the treasure. Jennings gets permission from the governor of Jamaica to plunder the pirates that plunder the Spanish ships. But when the armada gets destroyed by a storm, Jennings hears about where the treasure is being held, he decides to invade that camp directly, with the help of a new henchman, the near-insane Charles Vane (Tom Padley). When he gets back to the Bahamas, he finds that Hornigold has found himself his own ruthless henchman: A young, dark-bearded man named Edward Thatch (James Oliver Wheatley), who would go on to his own infamy as Blackbeard.
Meanwhile, in Cape Cod, Samuel Bellamy (Evan Milton) falls in love with Mary Hallett (Sinead MacInnes), and when he’s approached to lead a crew down to the Bahamas after word of Hornigold’s plunders filters up to Massachusetts, Bellamy at first refuses, thinking that Mary’s father wouldn’t let her be with a pirate. But after being discovered by her dad and thrown out, he decides to take the financier up on the offer, making the rationalization that they’re “scavenging” the loot from the Spanish wreckage.
Our Take: It seems that Patrick Dickinson, who wrote, produced and directed The Lost Pirate Kingdom, was trying to set some sort of balance between high drama and camp in this hybrid docuseries. In a lot of respects, it surprisingly hits the mark. While the sets, which seem to use a lot of obvious rear-projection and/or green screen, look a little clunky and cheap, most of the acting during the reenactments is as subtle as you can get when you have people playing pirates.
We were expecting a cheesy bomb of epic proportions, but because Dickinson tries to infuse the narrative with an old-school sense of adventure, especially via Jacobi’s cheeky narration, it takes itself just about as seriously as it needs to and no more. The performances, especially by Callis, Gillis, Milton and Wheatley, brought these legendary characters, whom many of us only really know via legend and apocryphal stories, to life just enough for us to actually do things like rooting for one set of pirates over another.
One of the pitfalls of this hybrid format is that the “plot” of the scripted portion doesn’t cohere into a whole; in other words, if you took out the expert interviews, would the scripted scenes hold together as an dramatic episode? Here, it feels like just a few transitional scenes here and there would be all that’s needed to hold this together without the expert interviews, which gives us confidence that the subsequent episodes will be as entertaining as the first.
We’re also on board because of the aforementioned performances, and Dickinson’s direction to not go so over the top as to make the show seem like a pale impression of Pirates Of The Caribbean. Most of the actors keep things relatively grounded, and that helps distract us from the green screens and other obvious cut corners. The expert interviews are also fine, though perhaps Dickinson and his co-director, Stan Griffin, could have pulled their cameras back a bit so we don’t see every pore on these people’s faces. But they just feel like window dressing for the action going on in the scripted portion.
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