Enter the Swashbuckling World of “Our Flag Means Death”

Imagine “The Office,” but with pirates. Does this sound intriguing? If so, you may be interested in “Our Flag Means Death,” released on HBO Max. Beginning March 3, the first three episodes have been released and have garnered great reviews. The show was created by David Jenkins (People of Earth) and features actor, director and executive producer Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok). The show’s humor is endearing and with star-studded guest appearances including Leslie Jones and Fred Armisen, the show will keep you wanting more. 

“Our Flag Means Death” tells the loosely-based story of Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) and his crew. Bonnet, a self-proclaimed “gentleman pirate” leaves his old life with a wife and children to lead a life on the high seas. There is one problem: he will not hurt or kill anyone who crosses him. Insead, he is a gallant pirate. He pays his crew weekly wages, reads them bedtime stories and feeds them well. As much as his crew detests him for not being a “real” pirate, they need and love him.

The show’s acting is one of the many appealing aspects of the show. Darby’s  Bonnet is great, and his clumsiness and gags will make you laugh. He does a great job at playing an aristocrat who just wants to be taken seriously as a pirate. His character delves into points of mental anguish, and he does a good job at helping his character process his traumas and learn to be a great leader. I am also looking forward to more screen time for Waititi’s Blackbeard and think that the dynamic between the two leads will make for a funny watch. 


One of the many appealing qualities of the show is the crew. Each member is just as wacky as their captain and will make you laugh. There is Buttons (Ewen Brenner) and Oluwande (Samson Kayo), who love working for Bonnet and appreciate their positions. Then, there are members such as Black Pete (Matthew Maher) and John (Kristian Nairn) who see all of their captain’s problems and want to overtake him at any given moment. There is also Jim aka Bonifacia Jimenez, a female thief disguised as a mute male (played by nonbinary actor Vico Ortiz) who stays in the shadows. Their captain always seems to get them in some sort of trouble and you never know how the crew will react. 

The show has gotten good reviews since its release earlier this month. Alex Maidy of JoBlo’s Movie Network writes, “Audiences will appreciate the production values that take you back to the 1700s as much as the humor is relevant for 21st-century life. Our Flag Means Death is as ridiculous as it is funny and that is more than enough to make it a must-watch.” 

I really enjoy the direction “Our Flag Means Death” has ventured into. A pirate comedy with bright scenery and dark plot undertones makes for a great watch. I am looking forward to how the series will continue each week and what this crew will get themselves into next. 

New episodes of “Our Flag Means Death” are streaming Thursdays on HBOMax.