Starz has announced that Black Sails Season 4 will be the show’s concluding chapter. “It’s a rare privilege in television to be given the kind of creative freedom we’ve enjoyed on this show over the last four years,” co-creator and executive producer Jonathan Steinberg said in an official press release. “While it was a difficult decision for us to make this season our last, we simply couldn’t imagine anything beyond it that would make for a better ending to the story nor a more natural handoff to Treasure Island.”
This decision might be disappointing to some fans — can’t the best show on TV continue forever? But it’s actually a very good thing. Here’s why.
The Show Will Not Become Bad And Drag On
Most shows that go on for too many seasons experience a dip in quality. Game of Thrones Season 5 and 6 have not been up to the standards of its previous seasons, while Dexter, True Blood and Sons of Anarchy all overstayed their welcomes and saw endings that were such catastrophes, they nearly made fans regret their beginnings. Black Sails is unique to television in that each season’s quality keeps rising, but it can only do that a finite amount. With Season 4 as the last, there’s no danger of a limping final season or having a surprise ending like Penny Dreadful that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.
It will instead have a legacy like that of Deadwood or The Leftovers — elegant, with a perfectly planned close.
There Won’t Be Too Much Show Without Charles Vane
Black Sails will be a different show without Charles Vane. He was dynamic, a hell of a lot of fun, and he affected the pacing of the show. If it continued on for a long time without him, we’d surely feel it. That was, in fact, one of the major concerns we had about the decision to kill him in Season 3. But since this is the final season, there will be no lack of urgency, even with his absence.
It Will End With A Bang
Because Black Sails is a Treasure Island prequel at heart, the focus is Flint and Silver. The show has taken side trips to other characters, but the astonishing Season 3 ending cast their relationship back in focus. The show is the story of how John Silver became Long John Silver, and Season 3 took us most of the way there. Concluding after one more season makes sense for the narrative. Whenever Flint and Silver are onscreen together, Black Sails is at its most dynamite. It would be a shame for such a powerful show to end with a whimper — and luckily, it won’t. All good things must come to an end, and this show is closing on its own terms. It’s bittersweet, but fitting.
Season 4 will air at an as of yet unspecified date in 2017.