Who’s ready to sail the high seas … on network TV? NBC has released the first trailer for its upcoming summer pirate drama, Crossbones, which premieres Friday, May 30 at 10pm.

Crossbones is set in 1715, on the island of Santa Compana in the Bahamas. This is where Edward Teach (or Blackbeard, as he’s famously known by) rules “over a rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and miscreant sailors,” according to NBC. He’s looking to claim a device called the Longitude Chronometer, which would change society and trade as they know it. Tom Lowe, an undercover assassin posing as a physician, destroys it before the pirate can have it in his grasp, but he might soon come to regret doing so.

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The two-minute trailer gives us a first look at the show, where we are introduced to the main characters, Tom Lowe and Blackbeard, the latter of which is played by the one and only John Malkovich — though he doesn’t live up to his name as he doesn’t have a black beard; it’s obvious that Crossbones is going for a different look for the infamous pirate.

So much is packed into this video: cannons and guns are blaring, there’s sword fighting, violence, torture and a hint of gore, not to mention beautiful sets and scenery. And a very haunting rendition of the Steppenwolf song “Born to Be Wild” plays underneath all the action.

There are some great lines by both Tom and Blackbeard. At one point, Tom says to the pirate, “People fear you. You haunt their dreams.” Later on, Blackbeard claims that he’s “not the devil” and that he’s “cast out the devil.” That may be true, but it doesn’t make him a good guy either as he reveals, “Not all unflattering legends about me are untrue.”

Their lives have crossed paths, but if Tom has his way, it won’t be for much longer because “I can’t buy any more time. I have to kill Blackbeard.”

Check out the full trailer for Crossbones below:

This show is very reminiscent of another pirate drama that aired earlier this year, Starz’s Black Sails. Since that one aired on pay cable, it’ll be interesting to see how NBC can pull off something similar on network TV. But they haven’t shied away from violence and gore before — look no further than Revolution and Hannibal — though it obviously won’t be on the level that we’ve come to expect from networks like HBO and Starz.

Aside from Malkovich, Crossbones, based on the book The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard, also stars Richard Coyle, Claire Foy, Yasmine Al Massri, Chris Perfetti, Tracy Ifeachor and David Hoflin. David Slade directed and served as an executive producer on the pilot. 


What do you think of the trailer? Does it make you more excited to watch the show when it makes its debut on May 30? Or do you think this is too ambitious of a project for network television?

(Image and video courtesy of NBC)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.