Bloodline is the latest offering in Netflix’s fast-growing portfolio of original programming, with its first season released in its entirety at the end of March. Although it has an uneven start – shooting out the gate more like a hackneyed Floridian soap opera – the show quickly gathers pace and morphs into an epic family drama of interweaving stories and flashbacks that is so brilliantly executed, you’ll be missing your bedtime just to quench your urgent need for more.
Starring an impressive line-up of Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Linda Cardellini and Sissy Spacek, the story centres around the Rayburn family – long-time owners of an idyllic resort in the Florida keys (Florida has never looked so enticing, a statement we never thought we’d utter). When we’re ushered into the story, the family appear to have been co-existing happily, at least on the surface – that is until the arrival of eldest brother Danny. He is the perfect embodiment of the black sheep, and his character really knows how to bring the love/hate out of everyone else’s.
Danny’s arrival after years away from home kickstarts a series of events and flashbacks that grow with intensity throughout the 13-episode arc, with an ever-increasing ominousness that makes turning off near impossible (damn you and your auto-play, Netflix!). The tension builds and builds, and by the time it mounts and the story truly unfolds, you’re having full-on heart palpitations. You’re also already thinking about the possibility of a season two – which, by the way, was recently confirmed.
Here’s why it’s good: to date, two weeks after completing the series with fervour, we still don’t know who to side with. Every time we make a conclusion about Danny’s actions and the family’s reactions – or is it the other way around? – the devil’s advocate inside us turns it on its head. In our opinion that’s the true mark of great character development – so intricate and so fluid, that we as watchers can sympathise with both the struggles of the oppressed and the oppressors. And, in our case, can even lose sight of which characters are which.
With developed, believable characters; a tremendous cast; and a shrewdly-told story of epic proportions, Bloodline is well worth a watch.