Blood & Oil “Pilot” Review (Series Premiere)

REBECCA RITTENHOUSE, CHACE CRAWFORD, DON JOHNSON, AMBER VALLETTA, SCOTT MICHAEL FOSTER

Blood & Oil was a bit of a schizophrenic viewing for me. On the one hand, it’s full of a lot of the cheesy stereotypes and ludicrous plotting that my soap-loving side is crazy about. On the other… that’s about all there is, and what’s there isn’t very good. And while I also have a love of so-bad-it’s-good productions, I don’t know that the show reaches that level either, leaving it in a disappointing middle ground that seems destined for early cancellation.

Really, what Blood & Oil wants to be is a modern-day Dallas, full of dirty dealings, young upstarts and hardened tycoons. Given that the actual modern-day Dallas didn’t exactly light the world on fire, that’s a tall order, and this episode fails to offer any proof that it’s going to succeed where that show failed. It’s just a bit too generic, a bit too concerned with the standard plots.

The sudden pregnancy, the rich father and the troublesome son, the new wife reminiscent of Lady Macbeth; all solid enough material to build a show around, but clichés nonetheless. And it’s hard to get around how little else there is going on for the show. I’m struggling just to write it up.

Alright, there are some cool things going for the show. The biggest is just the setting, with the shantytown-feel of Rock Springs offering an interesting backdrop for the story to unfold against. Really, it’s almost a Gold Rush situation, with everyone determined to make their American Dream come true in the promise of oil. Of course, with our main characters striking it rich by hour’s end, who knows how much of that feel will actually stick with the show.

And bless ’em, the cast really is giving it there all, despite the implausibility of the situations they all find themselves in. Really, it’s impressive how solid the cast is, and the hope is that after the bombastic, over-the-top nature of the pilot, they’ll get a chance to settle into the roles and start to actually explore their characters. I guess we’ll have to see if the show even makes it that far.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!