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Though any lingering surprise in its upfronts was already intentionally ruined by the weekend, NBC did manage to sneak in one unexpected announcement today: The network revealed it's also picked up 10 episodes of Crossbones, a drama set in the 18th-century "golden age" of pirates about Blackbeard and the undercover assassin who was sent to bring him to justice, only to discover that pirates are actually kind of fun. The project hails from Luther creator Neil Cross, whose dealing with dark moral complexity on that series certainly bodes well for this show's intention to keep the audience questioning "whether the pirates or the British crown are the villains." What doesn't exactly bode well, of course, are the budget and standards of broadcast television, which could hamper a series that seems better suited for the wild and lawless waters of cable—much like Starz's similar, recently announced pirate series with Michael Bay, which has the advantages of money, more extreme violence, and partial to total nudity. But you sure didn't expect NBC to say, "We're making a pirate show," did you? Look, they're trying just about everything here.


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