I ordered this set without any knowledge of the series, nor of the ratings. Just one of those gambles that sometimes pays off! The series is based around a well-known story, but it's far more than "just another pirate" plot. There's the inter-crew grumblings, the political aspects with the land-based fences (sorry, "merchants"), the inland agriculture, and the general trade issues all wrapped up, along with brothels and their inhabitants, a little bit of espionage, and some good, clean pirate shenanigans!
The sets are lovely, the settings beautiful when appropriate, the costumes about as good as I've seen in a pirate series, and the acting is (mostly) excellent. The plot is solid, and drives the episodes along, and while there's the odd slow bit, it usually picks up right after. There's nudity, of course, and it's handled well and in character (and yes, mostly gratuitous, but that's what separates these networks from the main ones!). But the main driver throughout is the pirate story of trying to raid other ships, find Spanish gold, and get the girl and happiness without getting caught (or your leg chopped off).
After I started in watching the series, I did a little digging on the Internet and found quite a few negative comments about the series. I find almost all the criticisms to be ungrounded, and can't help wondering if a story of fun (with nudity and violence) offends the "art critic" a bit too much. Me? I'll take the fun, nudity and violence any day over something boring and stilted!
I was pleasantly surprised at how good the series was, and now will have to wait for Season 2! Well done, all...a pleasant series to watch, and loads of pirate fun!