TV Review: Netflix’s ‘Bloodline’

Set in the Florida Keys, Bloodline centers around the Rayburn family and the secrets they keep. The drama, from Damages producers Todd and Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman, stars Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) and Linda Cardellini (Freaks and Geeks) as brother and sister, living near their resort-owning parents, played by Sam Shepard and Sissy Spacek. All 13 episodes of season one drop on Netflix Friday. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“[F]or now, the new show seems more style over substance, parking a lot of actors I like in an attractive location and not giving most of them material that's up to their talents.”
Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

“I’d much rather watch 13 episodes about Danny and his sketchy buddy pulling jobs and running boats — something that looks like Bloodline but plays like something else entirely. On most successful dramas, you barely notice the scenery. On Bloodline, it’s the only reason I’m watching.”
Andy Greenwald, Grantland

“I give Bloodline credit for trying something different—a simmering family noir rather than an over-the-top soap—and I expect it will especially appeal to fans of the Kesslers’ and Zelman’s work on Damages. But if the Rayburns don’t evolve from the simple types they seem to be when we first visit the inn, I may check out early.”
James Poniewozik, Time

“Again, there's nothing wrong with small stories. I love small stories. But small stories rely on specificity, and Bloodline presents itself so generically. You can get away with lousy dialogue, or underdeveloped acting, or common character types, or an unspecial visual style. Just not all of it at once.”
Margaret Lyons, Vulture

“Netflix has dabbled in various kinds of series, including comedy and horror, but even without flashy bells and whistles, this sort of serialized drama would still seem to be ideally suited to its distribution approach, provided that a relatively low-octane premise can draw enough people into the tent. On the plus side, in the same way Papa Rayburn likes to spend time fishing, one suspects that a lot of those who give Bloodline a chance will, pretty quickly, find themselves hooked.”
Brian Lowry, Variety

“The three episodes made available to critics are instantly compelling, taut with edge-of-your-seat drama and thick with credible melodrama. As anyone who’s ever been to the Keys knows, the weather can change in an instant in that part of the world, and it does, quite regularly, in Bloodline.”
David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle

“Chalk up another forceful punch with Bloodline, a riveting, superbly cast slow-burn family drama set between the oceanfront paradise and the murky mangrove swamps of the Florida Keys. Serving up startling moments in meticulously measured doses, the show leans just hard enough on the teasing thriller elements to point the way to ever-darkening waters ahead.”
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter