About Our Flag Means Death

You have Taika Waititi playing a gay, disabled, Polynesian Jewish leather-clad Blackbeard. What more could you possibly ask for from a pirate show?

Based on the true adventures of 18th century would-be pirate, Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby). After trading in the seemingly charmed life of a gentleman for one of a swashbuckling buccaneer, Stede becomes captain of the pirate ship Revenge. Struggling to earn the respect of his potentially mutinous crew, Stede's fortunes change after a fateful run-in with the infamous Captain Blackbeard. Stede and crew attempt to get their ship together and survive life on the high seas.    (via IMDb)

Our Flag Means Death (OFMD) is a period romantic comedy created by David Jenkins. It (loosely) follows the adventures of historical figure Stede Bonnet, The Gentleman Pirate, as he abandons his wife and children for a life at sea. The leading roles are played by Rhys Darby (as Stede) and Taika Waititi (as Ed / Blackbeard). Although OFMD is technically historical fiction, the show holds a very carefree attitude towards the facts. "With this, it was like, 'Oh yeah, no, let's not kill this with research.' Once you have a Polynesian Jewish man playing Edward Teach as Blackbeard, you're already not in reality. So, then you just get to invent and then when we get stuck, then you can go back and be like, 'What actually happens?'" (Jenkins)

If it's about anything, OFMD is about queer joy and the different forms of queer masculinity. The crew of the Revenge, alongside Ed and Izzy, showcase different ideas and expressions of masculinity - from Stede's "softness" and vulnerability, unconcealable even from childhood; to Lucius's open and expressive confidence in his relationships; to Ed's journey as he learns to deconstruct the harmful facade he's built around himself; to Jim's gender non-conformity and changed perception of gender. Piracy and the sea is used as a vehicle to explore queer identity in a way that just wouldn't be possible on land - especially during the early 18th century, when the show is set.