“The Buccaneers” begins as the fiery Conchita (Alisha Boe) prepares to marry her Prince Charming, Lord Richard Marable (Josh Dylan). The two are madly in love with one another, so much so that it’s easy for both of them to overlook the difficulties inherent in their marriage — namely, the reactions of his cold, proper English aristocrat parents when he brings home a free-spirited American girl as his wife. To ease her transition, she invites her friends to visit her in England, partially to bring some much-needed cheer to a stuffy manor, but also so that they might begin the process of finding titled British husbands for themselves. The four girls — Nan and Jinny St. George (Kristine Froseth and Imogen Waterhouse) and Lizzy and Mabel Elmsworth (Aubri Ibrag and Josie Totah) — are overjoyed at the exciting prospect. But their gateway into English society might not be everything they had dreamed of, especially for Nan, who immediately upon arriving in England learns an earth-shattering secret about herself.
What would a historical romance be without a love triangle? “The Buccaneers” places the forthright, extremely earnest Nan between two English gents: Theo, the Duke of Tintagel (Guy Remmers), who would like nothing more than to be freed from the responsibilities of his position and spend his time painting on the Cornish coast; and Guy Thwarte (Matthew Broome), a charming, extroverted man with a slight cash-flow issue. Unfortunately, there are a few problems with this. Both of the young lads don’t have that much going on, character-wise, except for the fact that they both like Nan quite a bit. And frankly, the show doesn’t do a good enough job of making one of the options significantly better than the other, so Nan ends up coming across as a little unfeeling for developing a romantic relationship with both of them.
Furthermore, Nan is clearly designed to be the central character of the show, but she’s simply not compelling enough to support the weight of the entire narrative — it’s easier to become invested in almost every other storyline. Mrs. St George’s (Christina Hendricks) journey to independence? Yes, please. Jinny’s relationship with the horrifyingly manipulative Lord Seadown (Barney Fishwick)? We’re on the edge of our seats. Conchita struggling to find a place for herself in an English family that obviously looks down on her? Let’s do it.