5/5/15

Bloodline . . .

In 2007 FX started running teasers for a TV show about a young, aspiring lawyer and the iconic lawyer of the time played by Glenn Close. The legal/crime/suspense/drama, called Damages ran for five seasons but really, in my opinion, peaked out after three. I loved Damages. It was twisty, turny, dark, and just-short-of-evil (imagine Ted Danson banging a prostitute in his car while telling her how much he loves and is committed to his wife - oh and he's doing bumps of blow off her chest at the same time). My favorite part of the show? NONE of the characters were even remotely "likeable" and yet you wanted all of them to come out clean. My favorite part of the story telling? That it was free of the space/time continuum. The show would jump back and forth and (generally) give you clues - filters and lighting changes, etc. - but not always tell you until much later that you were jumping around.

The show's creators - Glenn Kessler, Todd A. Kessler, and Daniel Zelman (or KZK as their production company identifies them) had captured my attention (I NEEDED to know who killed David and why/how) and then they ruined it by taking the show too far/long and diluted what I loved too much. I was dubious, frankly, when I heard they were making a show for Netflix called Bloodline. I'm very, very glad I gave it a chance.

Bloodline, set in the beautiful, idyllic Florida Keys tells the story of the Rayburn family - the lions of the Keys. They own a prominent resort, they are known good people, they are about to have a pier dedicated to their family name. They are a sham of a family. There are five kids (one is already dead as the curtain rises) and  none of them really seem to like each other and there is a father that we'll learn was horribly short-tempered and prone to abuse and a mother who was over-whelmed by her own family. The oldest brother, Danny, has been away for a long time but he's back for the pier dedication and that has everyone on edge.

It is NO spoiler to tell you (the show will in the first episode) that the second-oldest (and in many ways the "oldest") sibling, played by one of my favorite actors - Kyle Chandler - who is also a cop in town will, eventually, carry his dead brother through the swamp and set his body on fire on a boat. And you will be okay with this. You'll probably want the whole family on said boat, frankly. Yet you will, often, find yourself thinking "Poor Danny. He can't get a break." or "I would TOTALLY kill my brother if he did that."

THIS is why I love KZK. They want you to know that right up front and then they want you to spend twelve more hours figuring out why, how, and what the broken timeline narrative of the show makes you (foolishly) presume along the way.

Every single character on the show has demons. Every one of them a liar. Every one of them hoping and praying that their life is not exactly as it is but rather how it might be. As Kyle Chandler's John Rayburn points out "We're not bad people. We just did a bad thing."

This show is great. I HIGHLY suggest you give it a nod. There are GAPING holes in the story (but I can't wait for a potential season two to address/resolve them) but the casting, acting, and scripting are fantastic and the show feels truly made for the "binge watching" mindset many of us bring to Netflix. There is no more appropriate a venue for the show, in my opinion.

If you enjoy House of Cards (I was not in love with season three) or if you liked the early days of Damages, or - heck - if you just want a show to binge on while feeling better about your messed up family, check it out.