The Epic Pirate Docu-Series That’s Crushing It On Netflix

A report by Robert Balkovich for Looper.

The golden age of Caribbean piracy is one of those moments in history that has become so mythologized that it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. Classic Hollywood swashbucklers like Captain Blood and contemporary efforts such as Pirates of the Caribbean have helped create an image of the era that only partially resembles the truth of what it was actually like. The Netflix docu-series The Lost Pirate Kingdom is here to provide a more accurate history lesson, while still giving viewers some raucous entertainment.

Through a mix of energetic dramatizations, narration by legendary actor Derek Jacobi, and a helpful injection of facts from a variety of historians, the series gives viewers a much more thorough and nuanced look at the history of the golden age of Caribbean piracy. Of course, there’s a reason that pirates have been the subjects of so many adventure novels and movies. The dramatic reenactments on The Lost Pirate Kingdom go far beyond those of a typical documentary and bring thrilling naval battles and cutlass duels to life.

This approach is one that Netflix viewers clearly love. In February, the streamer launched Samurai: Battle for Japan, a docu-series that employs a similar style and was a hit with viewers. The Lost Pirate Kingdom is already following in its footsteps. At the time of writing, the show was on the list of the top 10 most viewed series on the platform.

And you don’t have to just take the word of Netflix fans. Critics have also been praising the series.

Critics had fun with The Lost Pirate Kingdom

The Lost Pirate Kingdom juggles quite a bit in its six-episode run and rides the line between boisterous entertainment and educational programming. While reviewers had criticisms about some of the technical aspects of the show, many agreed that it’s still an engaging and worthwhile watch.

Joel Keller of Decider praised the series for subverting expectations. They wrote that they were “expecting a cheesy bomb of epic proportions,” but that series’ writer and director Patrick Dickinson managed to bring “an old-school sense of adventure” to the show. Although they said the dramatizations looked “a little clunky and cheap” at times, they praised the performances from the actors and the narration by Jacobi.

Similarly, in their review for Ready Steady Cut, Daniel Hart had some gripes about the repetitive pacing, but ultimately concluded, “from a production perspective, it’s impressive — it’s a genuine attempt to tell a story to the viewer without making it sound like a monotone documentary.”

Greg Wheeler of The Review Geek was a bit more critical of the series overall, but even they admitted, “For the most part, this documentary does quite well.” They had some notes about the uneven quality of the dramatizations and the limited scope of the story. However, they still recommended it for those who are total newbies to the history of piracy, calling it “a good starting place to plunder.”

So, if you’re looking to get the facts behind the legends of some of the most infamous pirates in history, you can check out The Lost Pirate Kingdom, which is currently available on Netflix.

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