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10 Gritting TV Shows Like Black Sails You Have To See

Updated on April 4, 2017
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Rahul is a TV addict who can never get enough of good shows. His all time favorites are "The Wire", "Breaking Bad", and "The Sopranos."

Gore, sex, and some intriguing pirate drama – Black Sails has every ingredient for an amazing TV show that hooks you up instantly. With its somewhat crazy storyline and talented cast, it has won a lot of fans over the last couple of years.

As awesome as it is, there is always a persisting problem with TV shows like Black Sails – the break between the two seasons. It’s too much to bear. Don’t worry; I’ve got your fix. Being a huge fan, I looked around for a few more shows that might fit the Black Sails shaped hole in our hearts. Let’s take a look at them.

The Last Kingdom – One of the most underrated TV shows like Black Sails

The Last Kingdom takes place around 872 A.D. – the time when Vikings were raiding England pretty frequently, terrorizing its population and looting everything. The main protagonist, Uhtred, is captured by Vikings and raised by them. Which side would he be on? Will he choose the people who raised him or his own?

While plot is not historically accurate, it feels authentic and really well done every step of the way. It takes some time to pick up the pace. Once it gets going, though, it never looks back. There are a lot of plot twists, compelling you to root for the same character you were loathe, and vice versa. And with a talented cast and beautiful scenarios, everything falls into its place.

Not a lot of people are watching it. If you happen to be one of them, you need to start binge-watching right now! If you love TV shows like Black Sails, you’d definitely dig it.

The Borgias

The plot revolves around the Borgia family, who use all measures necessary to rise to the power. While they make some friends on their way up, they end up making a lot of enemies. It’s the story of their struggle to remain in charge while keeping their enemies at bay.

I was skeptical at first when I heard of this show. A period drama about an Italian crime family set in 15th century could have gone wrong in many ways. And more often than not, things go awry. But then I watched the plot, and I had to skepticism paved way for Optimism. It’s a shame that The Borgias had to be cancelled after the 3rd season. Nevertheless, you still have 3 amazing, action-packed seasons to binge on.

The Tudors – A good TV show like Black Sails

While it looks gorgeous and is really well-acted, there is no denying that too much tempering with history leads to an inaccurate show. You don’t need to be a history buff to know that some historical events have been altered just for the sake of making the whole series a whole a lot spicier and appeal to a broader audience.

While “The Tudors” is far from a perfect show, you’re in for some gritting drama if you love TV shows like Black Sails. Apart from historical accuracy, they have got everything else right. Over the course of 4 seasons, I grew to love some characters while loathe others from heart. Give it a chance. You’d love it.


This TV show takes place during the very last days of Roman Republic, chronicling the lives of Roman people during those days. Even though it lasted only for 2 short seasons, it still is one of the best TV shows HBO ever produced. It feels authentic and real in every way. The talented cast has done an amazing job with portraying some of the legendary characters in the history books. Being a history buff, I was excited to see that most of the characters were portrayed just as they were descripted in books.

An HBO show has its own perks. You can expect a lot of profanity, womanizing, brawling, nudity and sexual acts. It never feels forced on us just for the sake of it. This is how ancient Romans used to live. And “Rome’ has done really will to bring out some of the best and worst aspects of that era.

If you’re looking for a historical show with some accuracy, ‘Rome’ should be right up your alley.

Reign – A teen drama like Black Sails

The plot revolves around, Mary Queen of Scots, living in France and dealing with all sorts of dark forces and other foes with her best friends in medieval France.

As one of the Reign’s fans aptly puts it, “Reign is Gossip Girl meets GOT”. If you have been looking for a TV shows like Black Sails with more over the top drama, you should start binging it right now.

Again, nowhere near as historically accurate as it should have been, but pretty flashy and breathtaking nonetheless. The fans of Reign would be relieved to know that CW has decided to bring this show back for another season. Even though future is not looking good for “Reign’’, you can feast your eyes on 4 amazing seasons (4th season has been confirmed, but yet to air).

Spartacus: War Of The Damned - One of the best TV shows like Black Sails

The plot revolves around a Thracian slave, who goes on to become one of the best gladiators ever. Later on, he leads a slave uprising against the Romans, bringing chaos and instability everywhere.

Given how much I enjoyed this show throughout all the 4 seasons, I’d say it doesn’t get mentioned enough. It’s as if the producers decided to skip all the mushy parts that make TV shows boring and cram it with as much breathtaking bloodbath as possible. More often than not, you’d be looking at someone getting beheaded, impaled or dying in some other manner. If violence is not your cup of tea, you should skip this show altogether. If you love TV shows like Black Sails, though, you’re going to love all it has to offer.

Don’t mistake it for gore porn, though. The character development, scenery, costumes and historical accuracy have been taken care of. Everything from a dialogs to fighting scenes are really well done. You’d be hard-pressed to put your finger on anything that could have been done better.

Game of Thrones – One of the highest rated shows similar to Black Sails

Do I really need to say anything about this TV series? With almost a rating of 9.5 out of 10 and half a million ratigs on IMDB, ‘Game of Thrones stands amongst some of the best TV shows I have ever watched. I would go as far as to say that there is nothing on TV right now that comes even half close to what GOT has to offer.

The 5th season was not up to the mark by GOT standards, but it still was far better than anything else on TV that whole year. There is no comparing it to any other shows in any capacity.

Did I tell you that it costs $6 million per episodes and is shot across five continents? HBO is pouring in everything it has got, and it’s certainly paying off.

They deserve all the praise they get for making it happen. Everything from dialogues, cinematography, to settings and scenery is perfect. Even though the story has no connection with history, it feels authentic.

Even with dragons and White Walkers wandering around Westeros, you get the feeling that this place could exist in the real world. Again, attention to every little detail is astounding.

The only thing problem with Game of Thrones is that there is not enough Game of Thrones. With only 10 episodes every year, fans have to wait agonizingly for the next year for the next episode to air. But then again, if they were to do 22-23 episodes per season, the writing wouldn’t be near as sharp as it is today. They don’t have to drag the main storyline with love triangles and other cliché stories. Practically, every season is a full 10m hour movie with amazing production values.

If you love TV shows like Black Sails, you are in for a treat.


If you judged “Vikings” by its trailer, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s just about a bunch of bodybuilders running around with skirts on. There is a lot more to it than some jaw-dropping fighting scenes.

The plot revolves around the time when Vikings were terrorizing the Britain and France, raiding with their brothers and looting everything. It’s mainly a story of RagnarLothbrok – a legend of his time, who was rumored to be the direct descendent of god of warriors.

His thirst for exploration beyond the safe territories leads them to glory in France and Britain, but he makes quite a few enemies within his own tribe.

I can point out a lot of things they have gotten wrong. The historical accuracy, however, doesn’t matter as much. As long as it’s a fun show, we should be able to enjoy it. And if you love the plundering and murders in TV shows like Black Sails, there is no doubt that you will get your fix here.

The Shannara Chronicles

Airing on MTV, The Shannara Chronicles is based on a series of books by Terry Brooks, which follows heroes from different lands as they try to stop the army of darkness from destroying the universe. The first season contained 10 episodes, and the second season has already been ordered by MTV.

You can expect it to be geared towards a younger audience. After all, this is what MTV is all about. This doesn’t, however, means that this show doesn’t deserve the attention of other age groups. Yes, there are some Twiglighty cheesy moments, but they are few and far between to be annoying.

Even though the first few episodes were shaky, things picked up pace in the latter half of the season. Here is hoping for a better season this time around

House of Cards – A political TV show like Black Sails

Netflix has come a long way over the past couple of years. Not only possess lot of third-party content to stream, now they have tons of original material as well.

One of those bad boys is “House of Cards’’. Starring Kevin Spicey, it chronicles Frank Underwood’s ruthless journey from a Whip to becoming the President of United States. Over the course of last 4 seasons, we have learned what he can do to get what he wants. He is selfish, conniving, and at the same time, very charming. You can’t help but root for him.

Even if you’re not a big fan of political themes, you’re going to love what ‘House of Cards’ brings to the table. The writing is sharp and the acting is brilliant, keeping you guessing all the time.

If you love TV shows like Black Sails, Give it a spin.


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