Current Pop Culture Obsession: Pirates

What is it about pirates that has us all so captivated right now? Is it the romance of the open seas? The promise of riches? The thrill of danger and risk? Maybe more than anything else pirates feel like a symbol of freedom, the possibility of a life that is not confined to the limits of a nine to five job, where you can say and do what you want and then float off into the sunset without consequence, where you can be absolutely and completely your own person. Whatever pirates mean to you if you are a fan you will find something to love in the books and shows that have been taking readers and viewers by storm.

Our Flag Means Death

A brilliant and hilarious pirate comedy, this show follows Stede Bonnet’s transition from a comfortable, privileged life in Barbados to his stumbling start as the “Gentleman Pirate” aboard the Revenge. Inexperienced and ill-suited for piracy, Captain Bonnet and his eccentric crew navigate perilous encounters with naval warships and rival pirates. Amidst the chaos, Bonnet’s path collides with the infamous pirate captain Blackbeard, sparking an unexpected romance between the two.

If the Tide Turns by Rachel Rueckert

Set during the Golden Age of Pirates, Maria Brown, a headstrong young woman from a wealthy family in 1715 Massachusetts longs for a life of her choosing. Her path intertwines with Samuel Bellamy, an orphaned sailor. When circumstances separate them and lead Sam into piracy, Maria remains steadfast in her love. As Sam navigates the dangerous seas seeking fortune and justice, Maria faces her own challenges, forced to make difficult choices to uphold her desire for freedom and love. Their compelling story explores societal boundaries, the pursuit of dreams, and the enduring strength of love in the face of adversity.

Black Sails

Arguably the show that started the craze, this adventure tale centers around Captain Flint’s struggle to defend New Providence Island and spans the hunt for the Urca de Lima’s treasure, escalating tensions over control of the riches, and the evolving conflict between pirates and the British Empire. The show traces Flint’s transformation from a navy officer to a pirate amid battles for dominance over New Providence Island.

One Piece

Whether you prefer anime or live action most people would agree, this is a classic of the pirate subgenre. Set in a world governed by an authoritative World Government, the story follows the intense rivalry between the government and pirates and blends fantastical elements into an already exciting story. Amidst a clash for power between these two groups is an overriding goal, to acquire the treasure of the last pirate king, hidden in “one piece.” The series’ core tension revolves around the clash between the government and pirates, offering a rich, complex landscape for its characters and storylines.