Critics and audiences everywhere agree that Breaking Bad is one of the greatest narratives ever put on television, that is fairly evident to most television-watching Americans. Bloodline, a Netflix Original Series from the creators of Damages, is the single narrative television series (besides The Following, which I’ll go into in another post) that rivals the masterpiece of Breaking Bad—this show has the potential to live up to the high standard set by Breaking Bad, as possibly even surpass it in time.
This infantile series that has just recently released a trailer for its second season already has rich character development, original and unique story arcs, and realistic cause-and-reaction aspects that move the story forward. The story revolves around the Rayburn family, in the Florida Keys, and both their family-owned hotel, and their well-kept secrets. The setting screams small town local, where word travels fast and everyone knows each other. This is developed very well by a cast that is studded with stars like Kyle Chandler from Friday Night Lights, Sam Shepard who has a lifetime’s worth of fantastic performances, and Sissy Spacek who played Carrie from the original Stephen King film, as well as a great performance in The Help. From this, a few rising stars also get very deserved screen time like Ben Mendelsohn, who has proven himself before, and will be the new lead antagonist in the upcoming Star Wars: Rogue One.
Performances from these talented actors who may not be as well-known to Netflix audiences are one of the reasons that this series is so captivating. Bloodline is one of the few shows that develops such a rich group of characters and realistic circumstances that change these characters into something completely different over time. With an average episode of about an hour, each installment is its own movie, progressing the deep and multi-layered story to an end that brings us back to the beginning.
Aesthetically, this series really takes advantage of artistic color grading, interesting and purposeful shot composition, as well as well-timed strategic cuts. The way the show is laid out is very dialogue-based, much like many other television narratives, but the dialogue in Bloodline has a certain grounded realism, a certain effective simplicity that doesn’t waste words or make it obvious that it is informing the audience of what’s happening, it let’s us get submerged into the story without questioning whether or not a certain character would really talk like they do.
As a whole, Bloodline is a devilishly good time, pulling on your heat strings and stirring you up to pin blame, make judgements, and get invested in each character as if you were inducted into the Rayburn family yourself.
9 out of 10 stars for me on this one, guys; this is one of the few television shows that have the quality and power to enthrall me.