Soap operas are quite difficult and that’s apparent with ABC’s attempt to make one in the form of Blood and Oil. The show tries very hard to take after the classic soap opera from the 70s and the 80s Dallas as we meet a blue collar family that’s determined to make it big. However, beyond the obsession with the oil industry and the unintentional campy execution, Blood and Oil really doesn’t have much in common with Dallas. Premiering on Sunday, the ABC drama features Rebecca Rittenhouse and Chace Crawford as Cody and Billy Lefever. They are newly married high school sweethearts and their warm and believable chemistry is one of the best things about the pilot.
They come off as a relatable and real couple when they are romancing one another or talking about their dreams for a better life. The downside? This is the only element where you can apply the term relatable and real in the Blood and Oil pilot. We go to North Dakota as the LeFevers leave their small town in Florida behind towards greener pastures. The couple decides to move to Rock Springs as it’s the town where the largest oil discovery was made in the US and it is said that anyone can become a millionaire here.
The lovebirds are moving to oil boomtown and how do they intend to make a living? By running a laundromat. Thankfully, their plans are struck down because, after all, the show isn’t called Laundry. The future of the family is wrecked because Billy doesn’t do well behind the wheel and their bright future and investment goes down the drain. This is only one of the two terrible car accidents that Billy causes due to bad driving so hopefully he will be sent to Drivers Ed or his license will be suspended in the future.
Hence, Billy and Cody find themselves in Rock Springs with their laundry dreams just a memory and no money. As far as the millionaire is concerned, we meet the ‘Baron of the Bakken’, Don Johnson’s Hap Briggs, who is one of the biggest oil barons in the town. Along with his wife Carla, played by Amber Valetta, Mr. Briggs runs a successful business and stays on top through manipulation. Nevertheless, they are good and honorable people just like the Ewings in Dallas. Wick Brigs, Hap’s son played by Scott Michael Foster is the black sheep of the family, who could also use some driving lessons.
Wick has a routine of angering his father and the Native Americans regularly. He is most definitely not interested in advancing the family business, a job that Billy can do very smoothly as he is savvy, smart and business-minded; all qualities that the Briggs need in their son. The pilot sets the base for the transition of the LeFever family, but since this is a soap opera, it is safe to assume that the rise of Billy and Cody in the oil industry is going to be filled with complications. As the title indicates, Billy is going to find blood down this path and we can see the proof of that in the CGI-enhanced and dramatic ending of the pilot.
The show itself might not be a good one, but it becomes fun because it considers itself serious. The plot may have lots of holes in it, but it makes an effort to be entertaining and sometimes succeeds in doing so. Blood and Oil can offer some pulpy intrigue to those who appreciate soap operas because there are overacted sex scenes, explosions and back-stabbings right from the get go.
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