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 Bloodline centers on a seemingly happy family that begins showing signs of serious dysfunction. Death and murder are frequent themes, so you'll see lifeless bodies, blood, and charred remains, along with fistfights, shootings, and other physical violence. Drug trafficking also factors heavily into the plot, and several characters have problems with substance abuse (alcohol, pot, cocaine); many of the main characters are heavy social drinkers, too. Unbleeped swearing includes “f--k” and “s--t,” and there’s some simulated sex and partial nudity (bare backs, buttocks).
- Parents say
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What's the story?
As the longtime proprietors of a picturesque oceanfront inn, the Rayburns -- patriarch Robert (Sam Shepard), matriarch Sally (Sissy Spacek), dependable John (Kyle Chandler), carefree Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz), and peacekeeping Meg (Linda Cardellini) -- have a lot to be thankful for, including a successful business and an unassailable reputation in their idyllic Key West community. But when an anniversary celebration brings estranged eldest son Danny (Ben Mendelsohn) back into the fold, the family's BLOODLINE clogs with long-buried secrets that come bubbling back to the surface.
Is it any good?
One of the things this series does exceedingly well -- apart from serving as a showcase for stellar performances from its great cast -- is creating a palpable sense of place packed with blue skies, stunning shorelines, and balmy breezes that, when viewed from the comfort of your living room, feel so real that you start to pine for them. Contrast that with the series' darker themes of violence and retribution, and you've got an addictive mix of good and evil that's easy to OD on, which is precisely what its creators had in mind.
That said, Bloodline is more of a slow burn that takes its time divulging its secrets through creative storytelling, an approach that works well for binge watchers but might frustrate more traditional viewers who want their questions answered upfront. Nevertheless, it's one of Netflix's most intriguing offerings to date, presenting a complex tale of loss and family dysfunction with an ending you never quite see coming, no matter how soon you think you've got it figured out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about crime, punishment, and retribution and how Bloodline weighs in on the issue of justice. Do good intentions (or a terrible childhood) excuse bad choices? Is it possible to get away with murder if you factor in a guilty conscience?
How would Bloodline’s main characters rate as role models if you had to rank them from best to worst? Who's "right” and who's "wrong” -- and does it matter? Does everyone pay equally for their actions?
How realistically does Bloodline handle the topic of child abuse and its lingering effects? Which other factors influenced Danny's choices and the course of his life?
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Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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