On Sunday, ABC premieres its newest family drama Blood & Oil. But unlike Empire or Scandal, Blood & Oil lacks the gloss, glamour and snappy one-liners we've come to expect from modern prime-time soaps. Instead, it's a fairly conventional drama that takes its cues more from Dallas than Shonda Rhimes.
Blood & Oil stars Chace Crawford and Rebecca Rittenhouse as Billy and Cody LeFever, a young couple who crashes their car almost as quickly as they appear onscreen, losing all of the washing machines they had planned on using to start up a Laundromat. business. With nothing but what they can carry, Billy and Cody hitchhike to the nearest town, Rock Springs, N.D., where Billy declares, "there's no going back for us," and decides to make his money in the local oil business.
Everything happens so fast in the premiere that by the end of the episode, it feels as though Billy and Cody's entire story has already been told. But it's exactly that sort of breakneck storytelling that leaves viewers so perplexed as to where the show could possibly go from there that can inspire them to tune in again. Just ask everyone who stayed with Revenge until the very end.
So, Revenge fans, Blood & Oil might just be the new show for you. Here's why:
1. Everyone is incredibly attractive: Let's be real. When it comes to watching a show that lacks the nuance and grounding of cable dramas, it helps to sprinkle in a bit of eye candy. And not only does Blood & Oil feature Gossip Girl pin-up Crawford and Rittenhouse, but it also features Scott Michael Foster, who has that perfect smarmy charm as oil baron Hap Briggs' (Don Johnson) petulant son Wick.
2. It's insane: Blood & Oil's premiere never quite goes big enough to make the splash you want it to, but that doesn't mean it lacks its fair share of ridiculous moments. The first episode alone features two car crashes, an oil well getting destroyed, Crawford and Foster mud wrestling, a decent amount of gunfire and a huge explosion. Unfortunately, Blood & Oil is caught between being a fun soap and an earnest drama, leaving viewers in an uncomfortable situation of trying to determine how seriously to take the show, since you don't know how seriously it takes itself. But if producers decided to give in and just go big, the show could land in that sweet spot of "What the hell did I just watch?" TV.
3. It's all about the money: At its core, Revenge was about getting retribution against the 99 percent, whose wealth meant they could get away with anything - murder, locking a young child away in a psychiatric institute, etc. This same us vs. them mentality is built into the North Dakota oil boom, where the gap between those working the fields and those who own the fields is astronomical. And while the other rig workers Billy and Cody meet believe in an idyllic, pay-it-forward attitude, the ruling class knows no bounds when it comes to increasing their fortune. And when Wick finds himself cut off from his father's millions, his darkest side is exposed in an attempt to get vengeance on his father and back on top.
4. You can't help but laugh: There are certain moments in the premiere that aren't supposed to be funny, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy them as such. In one of the most cringe-worthy moments, a random Native American woman legitimately yells, "Whoever kills a spirit animal is cursed!" before never being seen from or heard from again. The idea that someone wrote that line in all seriousness is 1) baffling, 2) offensive, and 3) kind of hilarious. The writing in Blood & Oil so bad at times and yet striving so hard to achieve a powerful, dramatic effect, that the discrepancy between what the show is and wants to be is amusing - something Revenge was all too familiar with.
Blood and Oil premieres Sunday at 9/8c on ABC.