Snow-capped peaks of ‘Blood & Oil’ get panned by North Dakotans

29 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Blood and Oil’ is basically ‘Revenge’ meets ‘Dallas’.

The biggest irony about Sunday night’s debut of Blood and Oil, ABC’s show about the oil boom in North Dakota, is that the boom times there are over – for now, at least.Welcome to oil country, where the scrappy survive, the rich get richer and hot dudes from your old favorite teen shows are all grown up and fight in the mud.For those of you who had high hopes that Blood & Oil was going to be in the vein of the iconic ‘80s primetime drama Dallas, you may be on a path where all your dreams come true. It was also the most watched program of the night and is expected to pick up another 30 percent more viewers in the next seven days, according to Nielsen.

Sure, a few years ago when crude-oil prices were over $100 a barrel and gasoline prices were topping $4 a gallon, people were tripping over themselves to get to the Bakken Shale region in northwestern North Dakota. For our Fall TV Preview mega-issue, we spoke to the former Miami Vice and Nash Bridges star, 65, about his return to the small screen and what being around billionaires is really like. Turns out he morphed into Billy, Blood & Oil’s resident entrepreneur whose life takes a turn for the greasy when he moves to North Dakota and gets caught up in the high-rolling world of oil tycoons. Other than the much-ballyhooed farewell of Gil and co., Sunday also marked the premiere of Quantico – ABC’s suspense thriller about a terrorist attack and the (attractive) FBI agents who may or may not have had a hand in setting off the explosion. And who wouldn’t rush out there when salaries were hitting $100,000 – of course you’d have to live in the middle of nowhere and in a place where the average mid-winter temperature low is zero.

At 7.1 million, ABC says the new drama drew the net’s largest batch of eyeballs since May 2012 and stands as TV’s top-rated 10 p.m. drama among aduts 18-49 on broadcast in three years (1.9 rating). But if the aforementioned is enough for you, invest in this ABC primetime soap that’s got all the ingredients to become your new favorite guilty pleasure. I think Ghandi heard a bell, I think Mandela heard a bell — I’m not so sure that Hap possesses any of their virtues, but when people hear that bell, it is as if nothing is going to alter their course. Because Billy is a terrible driver — who crashes twice in the pilot alone — the couple loses their entire start-up stock of washers and immediately needs a backup plan.

Cody, thankfully, with her two years of pharm school, is qualified enough to get a job at a pharmacy in a town where people “either have two houses or two jobs.” They apparently take what they can get. Rock Springs is the epicenter for this North American boom and Briggs’ rigs line the horizon like little beacons of light announcing their billion-dollar production.

Billy, meanwhile, tries his hand at working a low-level job in the oil fields but that goes south when he gets into a scuffle with Wick (Greek alum Scott Michael Foster), the entitled a-hole son of Hap Briggs, a big oil man. When Cody (Rebecca Rittenhouse) tries to rent a dumpy apartment in Rock Springs (which is based on real-life Williston) she’s told it’s $2,000 a month.

It’s clear Cody, who learns midway through the episode that she’s pregnant, is the capable one here: she looks out for leads, has the business mind, can work her way around a deal, etc. The Don Johnson-led drama followed a fresh episode of Once Upon a Time (1.8) and earned a 1.4 rating in 18-49, down 36 percent from Resurrection’s premiere in the time period last season.

Understandably, this mom-to-be wanted to book it back home, but she stood by her man and even forked over a family heirloom so he could put down collateral on a land investment. He intends to use this borrowed money (all cash, by the way) to buy a piece of land that he wants to sell back to oil man Briggs, but runs into issues.

Hap Briggs (Don Johnson) plays an oil baron, a man who is said to be based on Harold Hamm, chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Resources, an independent oil producer in the region. Luckily, this is a very fast-moving soap and before you can say “unrealistic,” the couple have borrowed money from cash-flushed bar owner, purchased the land, made a deal with Briggs to get 5% of what he makes from drilling through their land and invested $50,000 in their kind neighbor’s dream restaurant.

Their entire investment is now at the bottom of a picturesque valley and the only option left is to hitchhike the rest of the way with all of their possessions. The reservation’s oil needed to be accessed through an adjacent plot of land, which Billy bought out from under them thanks to a few well-timed loans. Thanks to Billy’s genius investment, he was able to lease the land to Hap for a cool $1,000,000, which means he and Cody are officially Uncle Scrooge-level rich.

The latter happens in the final minutes of the episode, when Wick (which, again, is a real name on this show) is caught trying to steal oil from his dad. You’ll have to wait until next week to find out who made it out alive, but it’s times like this that we ask ourselves WWBWD? (What Would Blair Waldorf Do?).

Because he has no regard for the well-being of the family business, Hap decides that the best way to educate his son is by sending him to work on a rig. The size of Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar field is a state secret, but is estimated to have 74 billion barrels remaining in reserves versus Bakken’s 24 billion, as reported by Bloomberg. It’s a violent, dangerous process and without its proper name, viewers might not get a true sense of how the oil is extracted — at great cost in both money and the risk to human life. The underground explosion seen early on that causes the rig to fall is caused by pumping water, sand and chemicals at such a fast pressure to break open the rock, Ciccarelli said. “It puts an unbelievable amount of pressure in order to blast horizontally through the rock, and it can cause blowouts like that… When Don Johnson says that falling rig was $1 million, it probably cost more than $1 million,” he said, adding the scene underplays the danger of working in oil fields.

While oil definitely burns and Bakken’s light, sweet crude is more flammable than heavier – i.e. less pure – crude oil, the immediate ignition of that spill was more characteristic of gasoline. As the population of the oil-rich parts of North Dakota swelled, it brought plenty of ills with it, such as sex trafficking, a sharp rise in drug use and violence that comes with unchecked growth.

What makes him commandeer a water truck as his getaway car is beyond me, but the aforementioned idiot backs straight into a few wires that results in a million dollar rig crashing to the ground. Naturally, he tells Billy that Briggs’ man has offered him a better deal and he’s going to take it unless Billy can come up with $100 thousand, as well as cutting him in for 25-percent of the take.

He crawls up into the cap of the big rig and grabs the keys, taunting the thieves that they should come out with their hands up since they have no way of escaping.

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