Proving that he still has what it takes to create a hit on the small screen and big screen alike, Taika Waititi excitedly took to Twitter on Friday to announce that his series, Our Flag Means Death, is currently the top streaming show in the U.S. In his tweet, the writer and actor sarcastically wrote “In a tragic turn of events…” before revealing that the HBO Max show was the “biggest new series in the US right now.” The news comes shortly after the finale for the first season went live on the streaming site.
First landing on the streaming platform on March 3, Our Flag Means Death walked the plank to become an overnight hit. Centered around a group of ragtag men and women of the seas, the Taika Waititi series follows the unbelievable true story of a nobleman named Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby). Ready to take on a world he only previously dreamt of, Stede leaves his entire family along with his high class life to pursue his real calling in life: becoming a pirate. While on his journey, Stede will cross paths with a slew of rough and tough characters played by a call sheet including Leslie Jones, Fred Armisen, Kristian Nairn, and Nathan Foad. Not only leading the production as its creator, Taika Waititi also stars as the legendary Black Beard.
Having just wrapped the first of what’s sure to be multiple seasons, Taika Waititi’s Our Flag Means Death hung its hat on March 24 with a season finale. Over the course of just three short weeks, the show’s viewership tripled. What started as being 11.9 times more in demand than other programs in the U.S. became 36.7 times more in demand by the ending credits of the finale. Part of its popularity is surely due in part to Taika Waititi’s well-deserved popularity as a writer and creator.
Along with being known as one of the brains behind The Flight of the Conchords, having written and directed a handful of episodes, Taika Waititi is also famously known for his brainchild, What We Do in the Shadows. A full length feature mockumentary, turned uber-successful television series, the show follows the lives of several blood sucking vampires through mundane everyday occurrences. Along with his hits in television, Waititi has made quite the name for himself in the world of film, having directed and starred in Thor: Ragnarok. He’ll wow Marvel fans again over the summer when his follow up film, Thor: Love and Thunder crashes into theaters on July 8.
Beyond Taika Waititi’s name drawing attention and praise to Our Flag Means Death, the show has been gaining momentum for countless other reasons as well. The creative team crafted a well-written and well-told story focusing its lens on a slew of queer characters and not in the way Hollywood typically uses queer characters as outliers or a token figure. In Our Flag Means Death, the budding queer love stories drive the series and take front and center. This may be a contributing factor for the series’ success, as articles have populated online praising the series for going against type and avoiding what many fans refer to as queerbaiting. Hopefully, this success will mean more to come from Taika Waititi soon.