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Blood & Water’ Review: Netflix’s Second African Original Series Lacks Bite

Blood & Water“Blood & Water”

Netflix

Earlier this year, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos and a team of executives traveled across the African continent, meeting with local creatives, as part of an aggressive content expansion into areas that are still relatively untapped sources of talent. Sarandos did so as the streaming giant’s first African Original series, the spy drama “Queen Sono,” was released worldwide. Now its second African Original series, the teen mystery/drama “Blood & Water,” premieres on May 20. And like “Sono,” it’s regrettably pedestrian. It has “Euphoria” aspirations, but instead settles for the after school special-esque melodrama of “Beverly Hills, 90210,” except it’s set in a part of the world that rarely gets this kind of high-profile, international exposure on screen.


The series stars Ama Qamata as 16-year-old Puleng Khumalo, an intelligent, proactive and impulsive teen on a mission to find her long-lost sister. Unfolding in the surroundings of Parkhurst College, the prestigious school for elite scholars and academic overachievers, “Blood & Water” follows Khumalo’s exploits as she engineers her transfer to the school to investigate the 17-year-old cold case of the abducted-at-birth older sister she’s never met.


Khosi Ngema plays the popular, beautiful and alluring Fikile “Fiks” Bhele, who just might be the missing sister.

As a teen drama series created entirely by Africans, with a diverse African cast, and produced on a Netflix budget, “Blood & Water” is certainly something of a novelty that will likely draw audiences for that reason alone. But, in the long run, it’ll need to rely on more than its landmark arrival in order to stay relevant and stand out in a world awash with content.

The series really ought to be retitled “Secrets and Lies,” because just about every main character is concealing something from family and/or friends — and the revelation of each something would all but end the series within a couple of episodes. Of course the drama is instead drawn out over six roughly hour-long chapters, although they will leave viewers mostly apathetic.

The family skirmishes and confrontations are recognizable, but captured so unremarkably, so as to render them nowhere as aching as they are likely expected to be. And that’s unfortunate, because there is a lack of emotional clarity. It doesn’t quite know what exactly it wants to be. And if you have some experience with African television you may find “Blood & Water” unsatisfyingly non-committal, as a lukewarm attempt to dress up a mild Western-style drama.

Content created and supplied by: KwaneleMditshwa (via Opera News )

African Original Lacks Bite Netflix Ted Sarandos Water Review

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