We already knew Netflix was the go-to spot for the best teen shows to stream, and its library just got a little bit juicier with the addition of Blood & Water. The South African drama, which premiered May 20, is a slick mystery with a great premise: When 16-year-old Puleng Khumalo (Ama Qamata) finds herself at the birthday party of a wealthy stranger, 17-year-old Fikile Bhele (Khosi Ngema), she begins to suspect that Fiks is actually her long-lost sister, who was abducted at birth and whose disappearance has haunted her family ever since. As Puleng's suspicion grows into an obsession, she decides to transfer to Fiks' school, the elite prep academy Parkhurst College, so she can find out the truth -- no matter the cost.
The show builds out its world from there as the stakes get higher and the story takes several shocking (and scandalous) turns. While Blood & Water is not as sexy or edgy as Elite or Riverdale, it's a tightly wound drama with a finale cliffhanger that will leave you begging for Season 2. So check out 5 reasons you should watch the addictive teen drama right now!
1. The mystery will leave you hooked. A lot of teen shows are built around mysteries, but few actually do this as well as Blood & Water. While Puleng has grown up her whole life believing her sister was kidnapped by a human trafficking ring, her family has never given up hope for getting answers (there's even an elaborate murder board that Carrie Mathison would be proud of). But when Puleng starts investigating whether Parkhurst swimming star Fikile Bhele is her long-long sister, her obsession leads her down unexpected paths as a sprawling conspiracy begins to unfold.
2. The prep school drama is JUICY. The mystery of Puleng's sister is what propels the plot forward, but all the show's characters have their own struggles that make for compelling viewing. When Puleng embeds herself within Fikile's social circle, she discovers that Fiks isn't as perfect as she pretends – something another student decides to spitefully exploit, using Puleng as her unwitting pawn. (Who doesn't love a good prep school rivalry taken to the extreme?) Meanwhile, Puleng develops a connection with Fiks' ex, who struggles to live up to his father's expectations, and another writer on the school magazine staff, who seems to be one of the few actually nice kids at school. There are a lot of other supporting storylines, but we don't want to give all the drama away here, since the ways the characters twist in and out of each other's lives is too fun to watch unfold.
3. It's grounded by great performances. Ama Qamata brings humanity and depth to her role, elevating Blood & Water beyond just another superficial teen soap. As Puleng's obsession takes over, Qamata slowly shifts the way she approaches the character, making Puleng's transformation from a virtuous do-gooder to a cutthroat adversary of anyone who gets in her way a sly and moving evolution. Ngema executes a similar feat in her portrayal of Fiks, who begins going down self-destructive avenues as she struggles to cope with the pressure to be perfect and the unexplained hollowness she feels inside. Without Qamata and Ngema in these roles, it's hard to imagine Blood & Water capturing viewers' attention in quite the same way.
4. It's stylish as hell. It's no wonder that Puleng gets overwhelmed when she begins attending the opulent Parkhurst College. From the school buildings to the uniforms, everything about Parkhurst screams wealth, privilege, and polish. But it's when the students shed their school uniforms and are allowed to showcase their personal taste that the style really stands out. From their club and partywear to more casual daytime looks, the kids of Blood & Water will give you a ton of fashion inspiration and make you wish you were half as confident in high school as they are.
5. It's the perfect quick binge. With only six episodes in the first season, Blood & Water is a great choice if you're looking for a way to pass a weekend -- or heck, even just a day. Because once you start watching, you'll likely find it hard to tear yourself away.
Blood & Water is available on Netflix now.