The first season of Nextflix’s Bloodline is a slow-burning drama, that draws viewers in as each episode builds to offer reveals which help unwrap the central mystery. Strong performances and sunny visuals keep it afloat despite the fact that it’s effectively a top-grade soap-opera.
Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard are Sally and Robert Rayburn, beloved resort owners in the Florida Keys. They seem to have a perfect life and the perfect family, but the arrival of their eldest son Danny (Ben Mendelsohn) at a family gathering casts a dark shadow over proceedings. Tensions flare with his siblings (Kyle Chandler, Linda Cardellini and Norbert Leo Butz) and mysterious details are uncovered as the show plays out over its 13 episode arc.
Bloodline is a show which once again shows that Netflix is now a major player in long-form story telling (can you still call it television?). Top tier production values show that time and money has been spent on making Bloodlines a major contender. The cast is uniformly good and the concept is a captivating one – but the show’s main problem is the pacing. Nearly every episode feels about ten minutes long, as if Showrunners Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kesssler and Daniel Zelman can’t bring themselves to cut even the most unnecessary character moments. It doesn’t take away the fact the show is good – but it does remove viewer urgency from wanting to dive into another episode. The character reveals and family drama lean a touch too close to the realms of the soap opera and you might find yourself wondering if the show is simply a sunnier and better written version of Dallas.
Every character within Bloodline is flawed and Mendelsohn’s Danny is the obvious one from the opening. He’s introduced as a counterpoint to everyone else, however as the layers are unwrapped, we see that each character has a chink in their armour. Kyle Chandler’s role as the family lawman may not be a flashy as Menelsohn’s but he’s able to deliver a quiet stability in opposition to the latter’s twitchy and greasy prodigal son.
Bloodline is a very watchable show with impressive performances. Viewers will be captivated by the slow plot reveals and watchable performances but things would be improved if the pace was a little tighter.
The Bloodline DVD comes with deleted scenes – which shows that some footage was cut from the show’s sprawling narrative.