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‘Blood & Oil’ Review: “Pilot”

Dina Klein ’18/ Emertainment Monthly TV Staff Writer

The Blood & Oil premiere is adequate.  ABC shows have typically been becoming better and better but this one is just sending them backwards. Taking place in North Dakota, the show follows a cute married couple, Cody and Billy (Rebecca Rittenhouse and Chace Crawford), who have decided to follow their dreams of becoming rich. Their dreams are compromised, as the obstacles they encounter are greater than they imagined. Standard drama ensues.

Don Johnson and Scott Michael Foster in Blood & Oil  Photo by Brian Zager/ABC
Don Johnson and Scott Michael Foster in Blood & Oil Photo by Brian Zager/ABC

Frankly, this first episode was boring. As charming as the actors are, the dialogue is just too hammy to truly believe any of it and the plot itself is boring. There is no reason to care about Billy and Cody other than the fact that they are cute together. It is not clear why they deserve anything, and therefore they are not worth caring about. Sure, they are nice enough people and they are beautiful, but that’s not enough reason to make the audience want them to succeed.  Don Johnson is doing the best he can with some of the worst dialogue since Miami Vice, and seeing Scott Michael Foster stuck in this is tragic.

Maybe it’s because a lot of it is just not believable. Spoiler alert, in the first two minutes, Billy and Cody get into a huge car crash and yet remain basically uninjured, except for a perfectly placed cut on Cody’s forehead, their makeup and hair are still perfectly in place. If someone is in a car crash and then has to hitchhike to the nearest town, they would likely look a little more disheveled. This takes the audience out of the reality of the show the second they start watching.

Chace Crawford and Rebecca Rittenhouse in Blood & Oil  Photo by Fred Hayes/ABC
Chace Crawford and Rebecca Rittenhouse in Blood & Oil Photo by Fred Hayes/ABC

Maybe it’s also the overused tropes. Cute young couple chasing a dream. Rich man with a problem. Man-child and a hot young wife. Man-child with daddy issues. Randomly inserted Native American spiritual moments but a lack of prominent Native American characters. Token black friends.  The list goes on.  The only innovative thing about this show is that it takes place in North Dakota. In fact, a much more interesting show would be one about the Native American community in North Dakota that featured actual Native Americans as main characters and not just accessories to the story, but sadly, that show does not exist. Instead, this is a show that has been seen time and time again, albeit with different scenery.

But maybe, this golden age of television has spoiled us. When ABC does other shows like How to Get Away With Murder and Scandal, how are we supposed to deal with mediocrity? When people get so used to the best, it’s hard to find the good in the average. So will this show keep going? Probably, Chace Crawford is in it and that should be enough to pull in young viewers, and Don Johnson should rake in the older crowd.

Don Johnson and Amber Valletta in Blood & Oil Photo by Fred Hayes
Don Johnson and Amber Valletta in Blood & Oil Photo by Fred Hayes

Should you watch it? If you like soap operas, give it an episode or two. Or don’t. It doesn’t really matter.

 
Episode Grade: C-

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