Review: The Buccaneers

Rating: ★★½☆☆
Although it defies all common logic, back in his youth – long before he was the awesomely off-putting Quint in Jaws, and before he was the awkwardly off-putting Ned Lynch in Swashbuckler – Robert Shaw was actually able to cut a somewhat dashing figure – and no where was this more apparent than in his two year portrayal of Captain Dan Tempest in the TV series The Buccaneers, the entirety of which – 39 episodes – is now available as a single DVD set.

Originally airing in 1956, The Buccaneers begins in 1718 New Providence as Governor Woodes Rogers arrives to convert this pirate cesspool into a respectable British colony. To do so he must establish himself as “top dog” amongst a less than receptive populace – wooing the less hardened with pardons, and defeating the worst of the lot – Blackbeard included – in direct combat. Continue reading

‘Crusoe’ faces challenges in quest for ratings –

‘Crusoe’ faces challenges in quest for ratings –

OK, I don’t have high hopes for this series, simply because when it comes to television and movies, high hopes need to be earned with a steady barrage of decent previews and news. To just hear, “ooh, pirate show” and get all excited that it will rock is naive. So no, I don’t have high hopes for Crusoe – but I’ll watch it and see.

That said, I do sense a little bit of over-abundant cynisism from this reviewer. His comments about homoeroticism, a Keira-Knightly wannabe, and suggestion that the show is canceled before it’s begun all sound to me like he was inclined to hate Crusoe before he even viewed it. Personally, my first concern about the Robinson Crusoe story as a series was how to make it ongoing without stretching it as thin as Lost, so limiting its run would actually make sense. True, the US doesn’t do that hardly ever with a show, but I understand it’s a technique that’s been put to good effect overseas. But I also know that thinking the studio had the forsight to create a limited run series is itself wishful thinking, so perhaps I’m naive afterall.

Maybe this bloke is right on all accounts and Crusoe is a debacle looking to milk a little advertising time off the Pirates of the Caribbean coat tails – it’s surely possible. But his tone leads me to believe he’s just had it with pirates and views anything that’s not Johnny Depp as a mere shallow ratings grab regarless of individual quality or value. I’m sure we’ll all judge for ourselves. It premieres tomorrow (October 17, 2008), by the way.