Review: “Our Flag Means Death” is the queer pirate romp we all needed

It’s time to hoist the sails, lift up the anchor and set sail with “Our Flag Means Death,” a new historical comedy streaming on HBO Max.

Directed by David Jenkins, the show follows the misadventures of the wealthy landowner-turned-pirate Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby), who’s trying to find some excitement in his boring, cushy life. Based on the historical “Gentleman’s Pirate” of the same name, the show follows Bonnet and his crew of terrible yet lovable pirates as they plunder ships, create fun sewing projects and fight scurvy. However, things get a lot more interesting for the crew of the “Revenge” when the dreaded Blackbeard (Taika Waititi) takes an interest in the strangest pirate to sail the Seven Seas.

“Our Flag Means Death” has a wonderfully diverse cast full of queer characters, characters of color and characters with limb differences and prosthetics. Notable actors include Leslie Jones (Spanish Jackie), Joel Fry (Frenchie) and Gary Farmer (Chief Mabo). Characters like Lucius, Black Pete and Jim are openly queer and have on-screen relationships with other characters. Even though the 2021-2022 television season was the most diverse on record, it’s still refreshing to see a character’s sexual identity, gender identity or race not be the sole focus of their storyline.

Since the series finale aired on March 24, a vibrant fandom has exploded across social media platforms such as Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and TikTok. On Archive of Our Own, a fanfiction hosting platform, the “Our Flag Means Death” tag has just under 2500 works at the time of writing. Actors from the show like Vico Ortiz and Con O’Neill have used their social media platforms to directly interact with the growing fandom. 

At the time of writing, “Our Flag Means Death” only has one 10-episode season with no word on if a second season is in the works. Personally, I have not seen a fandom emerge this quickly since Good Omens aired on Amazon Prime in 2019. Fans across the internet (including myself) are hoping that the outpouring of love for the show will lead HBO to greenlight more hijinks at sea with these characters.

Watch the trailer for “Our Flag Means Death” on Youtube and stream the show on HBO Max