'The Lost Pirate Kingdom' Trailer: It's the Pirate's Life for This Highly Dramatized Netflix Docuseries

There’s been a scarcity in good pirate content since the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise weighed anchor and since Starz’s Black Sails took down, well, its sails. So who should step in but Netflix, with its own pirate…documentary series? Watch The Lost Pirate Kingdom trailer below.

The Lost Pirate Kingdom Trailer

The Lost Pirate Kingdom is an upcoming docu-series from Netflix that is billed as the true story of the “real” pirates of the Caribbean, but the recently-released trailer has a remarkable number of cheesy re-enactment scenes that look like they’re out of a bad History Channel drama. Actually, that description doesn’t do justice to the History Channel’s acclaimed scripted dramas like Vikings — the scenes from The Lost Pirate Kingdom contains re-enactments that wish they were as good as a History Channel drama. Which raises the question: why didn’t Netflix just go all the way and make a scripted pirate drama?

The first half of the trailer for The Lost Pirate Kingdom tries to keep up the image of a credible documentary about the 18th century pirates of the Caribbean islands, with various experts and academics popping up to explain the history behind “the real-life pirates of the Caribbean violently plunder the world’s riches and form a surprisingly egalitarian republic.”

But most of the trailer is pure re-enactment, which is not an uncommon element of documentaries — many true crime documentary films and series thrive off the poorly-acted re-enactment scene. But the trailer for the Netflix docuseries shifts halfway through, completely losing the experts in favor of pure, highly dramatized re-enactments of historical pirate figures like Charles Vane, Anne Bonny, and the infamous Blackbeard. It’s almost bizarre how much the docuseries clearly wants to go full scripted drama and just give us bloody old pirate TV series, but alas. The only time I can think of the hybrid documentary-scripted approach worked was for the 2018 crime docudrama American Animals, and that’s mostly owing to smart direction by Bart Layton and a talented cast including Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, and Ann Dowd.

Meanwhile, Disney is hard at work at bringing its Pirates of the Caribbean franchise back to life, tapping Birds of Prey actress Margot Robbie as the star of a new Pirates movie to be penned by Birds of Prey and Bumblebee screenwriter Christina Hodson. So maybe anyone yearning for good old tropical pirate action can be satisfied for now with the real-life pirates of the Caribbean in The Lost Pirate Kingdom until the Disney feature film gets off the ground.

The Lost Pirate Kingdom premieres on Netflix on March 15, 2021.

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