Beginning its release in March of this year, HBO original Our Flag Means Death is a creative and playful historical pirate romantic comedy about queer love and midlife crises that quickly became one of the most in-demand shows across all streaming services.
Unlike other shows in the pirate genre, Our Flag Means Death has no intention of being realistic or savage in its depiction of the Golden Age of Piracy. We already have distinctive, bloody pirate stories, such as Black Sails, but series creator David Jenkins takes a fresh look at the cliched genre.
Pirates were weird outsiders, often minorities and runaways, and that’s what the show’s characters represent, not the lawless depravity of life at sea. This gives the writers’ room (consisting mostly of members of the LGBTQ+ community and people of color) freedom to tell the stories they deem important.
That’s why, after years of queer-baiting in shows such as Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Legend of Korra, this series centers queer characters and relationships unapologetically. These identities and interactions are not dismissed, ignored, or regulated to subtext. Queerness is unashamedly celebrated – no hostility and no strings attached.
Though not yet renewed for a second season, garnering similar demand to Moon Knight and Book of Boba Fett, I cannot imagine HBO denying the money-grab. — Tyler Burnett