One episode was provided prior to broadcast.
Originally titled simply Oil, ABC’s new primetime soap Blood & Oil doesn’t garner much distinction from the rest of the television landscape, even with the added noun to its title. That generic name – along with some questionably cheesy advertisements – may cause some to skip the new show, but there’s a sort of hidden surprise in its initial simplicity. The series breaks no new ground (or fracks no new ground, as it were), but its world is intriguing, its cast does more than just show up and look pretty and it’s got one of the best-paced (if overstuffed) scripts of the 2015 pilot season. Thanks to all of that, Blood & Oil manages to do something its lame moniker fails to: excite.
The show gives away its soapy tendencies from the get-go, when its two main characters, Billy (Chace Crawford) and Cody LeFever (Rebecca Rittenhouse), manage to get themselves into a car accident before the opening credits roll. They’re escaping their small town lives to move to Rock Springs, North Dakota, a town whose local pharmacy shelves are about as empty as the main street at rush hour. With their plans to open a laundromat dashed, they hole up in a rickety outdoor campsite and attempt to find jobs in the town and gain enough money to pay back the army of family and friends who had invested in their original business plan.
Simultaneously, we meet Hap (Don Johnson), Carla (Amber Valletta) and Wick Briggs (Scott Michael Foster), the local, affluent oil family who pretty much has its fingerprints on every rig within a few-mile radius of the town. The cast is largely solid, with Crawford’s desperate struggle in providing for his up-and-coming family acting as the linchpin of a show that devotes equal time to its poverty-stricken and well-to-do characters. The town of Rock Springs is also sufficiently realized and endearingly chaotic, with tensions between Native American locals and the opulently wealthy townsfolk boiling over now and again, not to mention a local barkeep who acts as the one-stop-shop for everything from your everyday loan shark needs to hotel recommendations.