A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Blood & Oil is a soapy drama series about the residents of an oil boomtown in North Dakota. The story is inspired by actual events in a real-life town, and it comprises the best and the worst about people in a place where fortunes are made and lost in the course of a day. People manipulate and coerce for the sake of greed, and even family members turn against each other for money. It's hard to call anyone a protagonist in such an environment, and there are mixed messages in the fact that those who lie, cheat, and steal most effectively come out on top. Expect some steamy scenes that show women in bras and couples making out. Plus you'll hear some strong language ("son of a bitch," mostly). Some arguments turn violent, with guns at the ready and several fistfights.
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What's the story?
BLOOD & OIL follows Billy (Chace Crawford) and Cody (Rebecca Rittenhouse) LeFever, newlyweds who leave their working-class hometown to have a go at a small business in Rock Springs, North Dakota, bustling after a recent oil strike. But when their original plans don't work out, they're forced to throw caution to the wind and go all in on a risky business endeavor with local tycoon Hap Briggs (Don Johnson), who's fighting his own battles with his crooked son, Wick (Scott Michael Foster). It's trial by fire as the LeFevers try to keep their heads above water in this boom-or-bust climate that threatens their marriage as well as their bottom line.
Is it any good?
This series has all the expected markings of a prime-time soap -- money, greed, sex, family squabbles, thinly veiled villains -- and the knack for taking itself more seriously than it should. It's impossible to watch without drawing comparisons to the granddaddy of all fracking dramas, Dallas (and its modern incarnation), but with the exception of Johnson's mesmerizing performance as the cunning Hap, it falls short of such a gold-standard mark.
Blood & Oil is inspired by the story of a real-life North Dakota boomtown, which will give it a slight edge for viewers who like a tangible dose of truth with their fiction. Some of the characters are particularly charming, including the wide-eyed greenhorns Billy and Cody, and there's plenty of tantalizing drama in play. The bottom line? This show isn't destined for awards, but it's a fairly benign guilty pleasure, and its setting makes for some stunning scenery.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about which characters, if any, are to be admired. Do any of them make their money honestly? Is it possible to be an honest businessman (or woman) in an environment like this one? Where do you draw the line between good business and good values?
Who are the bad guys in this story? Does that definition change as the show evolves? Does it change your impression of business in the real world? Is it easy to imagine business is as cutthroat as this show implies?
Teens: Are you a risk taker? Could you go all in on a make-or-break business venture the way many of these characters do?
Themes & Topics
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