The first three episodes are languid, but this still feels like a winner for Netflix, and a worthwhile binge project.
THE SERIES "Bloodline"
WHEN|WHERE Starts streaming Friday on Netflix
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Danny Rayburn (Ben Mendelsohn) wants to come home, to the Rayburn family compound in the Florida Keys. But the rest of the family isn't so sure about that idea. Danny, the eldest of four, has had a life full of troubles, and he'll surely bring those with him. Younger brother John (Kyle Chandler), the local sheriff, is torn, sister Meg (Linda Cardellini), too, but the other brother, Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz), says no way. Parents Sally (Sissy Spacek) and Robert (Sam Shepard) have their own ideas. This 13-episode family drama/thriller is produced by "Damages' " Glenn and Todd Kessler -- who are brothers -- and Daniel Zelman.
MY SAY The sea is a soft blue, and the sun remorseless. The thick air moves just enough to put the palm trees ever so slightly in motion. Nights are hot too -- so hot even the crickets seem resigned to their torpid fate. That's your setting for "Bloodline," and it is a beauty, as well as a star in its own right. "True Detective" got endless mileage out of the flat bayou country; "Bloodline" is looking for some of that magic in the Florida Keys, too.
But at least in the first three episodes provided for review, what the Kesslers and Zelman don't seem to quite realize is how much of a narcotic this setting actually turns out to be. The story is also often languid to the point of stationary. Not all that much happens, and maybe that's just because it's too hot to move.
Like the sound of distant thunder, there is an ominous hint of murder (a young woman's body is found in the mangroves). Also, flashforward scenes are used -- with considerable effect -- to punch a jagged hole in the torpor. Something very bad happens in the future, but you'll just have to wait (and wait) to find out exactly what that is.
A certain amount of trust has to go with "Bloodline." The team behind it is first-rate, the actors too. And because this is a project designed for binge-watching, maybe the pace will work in its favor: A slow build . . . an exploration of family dynamics . . . the sea . . . the sun . . . the crickets.
Banana daiquiris anyone? Or a pot of coffee?