Trailer Tuesday: Crossbones

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies.

I don’t normally do TV trailers on here, mostly because despite watching lots (too much) of TV, I’m just not into it the way I am with movies.  There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking movies are where my heart lies.  Having said that, I can’t ignore a new show about pirates, given my obsession with all things pirate-related.  So here’s the trailer for NBC’s upcoming summer TV series, Crossbones, and read on for my thoughts:

Crossbones is not the only pirate show on TV, but considering that I don’t have Stars I can’t watch Black Sails (plus I’m turned off by Michael Bay‘s name being behind that show).  While I’m happy that broadcast TV is finally putting out a pirate show, Crossbones looks more than a little ridiculous.  I would love to tune into the show and see it filled with this:

Naval Combat


And this:

Pirate Town


And this:


But I get the feeling what we’re going to end up with is lots of this:

John Malkovich as Edward "Blackbeard" Teach

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of John Malkovich, and I think he could make a great pirate.  However, I have no idea why he’s playing Edward “Blackbeard” Teach, considering he’s 22 years older than Blackbeard died, and that the show is officially set in 1729, 11 years after his death.  I mean, I guess they could put a line in about how he faked his death in order to start over somewhere else (hence the “We don’t use that name” line, but it’s a little silly just to give people a name they know.

The other main character is Tom Lowe, played by Richard Coyle, who seems like a direct ripoff of Stephen Maturin from the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian.  He’s a spy and a ship’s surgeon, it doesn’t get more plagiaristic than that.  That actually doesn’t really bother me, it just makes me wish for an Aubrey/Maturin show, or at least for a sequel to Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

We don’t get a lot from trailer about the plot of the show, other than that it revolves around this mysterious device:

Longitude Chronometer

The official description of the show on NBC’s website calls this a “longitude chronometer” which is just silly.  Yes, chronometers were used to measure longitude, but it’s not like this was some secret, magical device.  It was simply a method used for determining your position in the ocean.  There also appears to be a lot of code deciphering going on in the trailer, which is seemingly why Blackbeard is interested in Lowe.

There’s the requisite blood and sex, though I can’t imagine it’ll be on the same level as Black Sails.  The show does look very pretty, and thankfully used a pair of real ships (or at least mock-ups) to film with, which makes the visuals more authentic.  It was filmed in Puerto Rico, so the scenery should be nice as well.  All other complaints aside, Crossbones will sink or sail based on the quality of the characters it creates and how engaging it makes its story.  It’s too soon to tell how well that will play out, but I’ll be giving the show a chance when it premiers on May 30.  If for no other reason than the fact that Malkovich looks good as a pirate:

John Malkovich as Edward "Blackbeard" Teach

What do you think?  Does Crossbones look ridiculous?  Is there a chance it could be a fun show for the summer?  Does historical accuracy ever matter in a show like this?  Do you think Malkovich will make a good Blackbeard?  Can we all at least agree that he’s always interesting to watch?  Did you like the interesting version of “Born to be Wild” in the trailer?  Let me know in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Trailer Tuesday: Crossbones

  1. I am not sure about this but I think I will watch it when it comes out. I remember that Hugh Laurie was originally attached to play Blackbeard which I felt would have been better. However seeing Malkovich in the trailer I felt he can make this his own and it is very different. I like how eccentric the trailer seems at the end of the day thats what pirates are. Great Post.


    • I’m definitely going to give it a try. Hugh Laurie would have been a great choice, but Malkovich is an interesting actor to watch, so I’m curious to see what he does with it. I doubt a trailer for a show like this would be able to give a real sense of what it’s like. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on it if you watch it!


  2. Pingback: Trailer Tuesday: Star Wars Rebels | Love Pirate's Ship's Log

  3. I just saw this when I went to see X-Men, and I CANNOT find the version of this song! Do you know who it’s by?? I love it!


  4. If you read the book: Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time… you would soon realize that the ability to find longitude was was a bigger deal then then it would seem to us today… it’s not the fact that you need a chronometer that was the problem, the problem was to build one that would do the job under the conditions required…the conceit that Blackbeard escaped death to build a “free” state (prequel to the US), establishes an interesting metaphor for today’s market driven capitalism and libertarianism.


    • Oh, I’m fully aware that finding longitude at sea was a huge deal (I read a lot of historical naval fiction), and I was probably too dismissive of that aspect of the trailer, I just thought they were treating it in a way that seemed silly, like it was some secret weapon and I thought the term “longitude chronometer” was a little silly, since the term is “marine chronometer”, which was of course used with noon sightings (or other sightings) to determine longitude. The chronometer itself can’t tell you longitude without a sighting to go along with it. Blackbeard’s “free” state could be interesting. At this point I’ve only watched the first episode, so I haven’t gotten to see how the story develops, but I am eager to see more. Thanks for the well-informed comment, and for correcting me for being too dismissive of something that was in actuality a huge deal at the time, even if I was objecting more to the manner in which it was portrayed in the trailer rather than the device itself.


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