Slip streaming the more hyper-paced, and R-rated, "Black Sails" on Starz, "Crossbones" may have a similar conceit — pirates are people too! — but its ambitions are driven more by character than plot.
There's plenty of plot to go around, of course — on top of the requisite scenes of vessel capturing, British navy avoiding and general pirate revelry, there's a uber narrative involving the invention of the longitude chronometer, seen here as a near-magical device that will change navigation, and apparently end piracy forever.
Believed by many to be dead, the scourge of the seven seas is, in fact, living the high life as Commodore of a gorgeous and conveniently uncharted island populated by pirates, prostitutes and assorted fugitives from justice, including the comely British noble woman, Kate Balfour (Claire Foy).
Gorgeously produced, with lots of groovy period details (island contraception gets a shout-out), "Crossbones" can be enjoyed as summer trip through space and time. But its heart is the surprisingly hypnotic game of psychological cat and mouse played by Blackbeard and Tom Lowe (
"Halt and Catch Fire." The tale of a trio of visionaries at a mid-level Texas computer company who attempt to outsmart the big boys of the tech industry during the 1980s does not sound like the stuff of great television, but then neither did the story of a Madison Avenue ad man making his name in the early '60s. And while the pilot of
With a title that refers to a computer term and an opening that speaks for itself -- sales whiz Joe MacMillan (
Which is the idea that tech is not an industry so much as a nascent revolution. Not that MacMillan's new employer, Cardiff Electric, is buying. But MacMillan didn't come to Texas for the waters. He came to enlist the aid of the brilliant but stalled-out engineer Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy). In the late '70s, Gordon developed his own version of personal computer that never quite worked. Now, he is just another grind, trying to keep his family afloat, while his wife (Kerry Bishe), who works as a programmer for a toy company, looks on in frustration and despair.
So Butch Cassidy and his reluctant