If you still haven’t gotten round to watching the South African Netflix hit series, Blood And Water, but you still want to get to an idea of what’s in store; or perhaps you have watched it, but want to relive the emotions of the series anyways: then this is the review for you.
With the news that the pulsating drama will be renewed for a second season, we decided to finally put the first season to our strict staff reviewer’s judgemental pen to see if the show really lives up to the hype.
This is a spoiler-free review for those who haven’t watched it yet, but we can safely “spoil” one thing for you already. Blood and Water is worth the hype.
What’s It About?
Puleng Khumalo is on a mission to find her long-lost sister who was abducted at birth. The Cape-Town based teen has been on the mission to find her sibling for all her life and, in her search, she has gone as far as transferring to Parktown High School where she closely investigates her strongest lead yet: swimming champion and head-girl-elect, Fikile Mbele.
Navigating high school is difficult enough, doing so as the “new girl” is not for the faint-hearted. While keeping her search under-wraps, Puleng weaves in and out of the high school drama as she seeks to maintain her front while trying to uncover the truth. She makes friends and enemies along the way, and manages to find herself on the wrong side of a rivalry with the very woman she thinks might be her blood sister.
Things get intense as the show tackles some of society’s more uncomfortable but very real ills, including the alarming trend of teachers taking advantage of students to recoup sexual favours. Bullying, classsism and elitism also make their way in and out of the storylines and in between the entertainment we are reminded of the South Africa we live in – both the good and the bad.
The storyline has you at the edge of your seat at all times, and what should feel like a long time (each episode is 40 minutes or longer) tends to flash by as if you were living through it yourself. The tension in certain scenes is almost too much to bear.
Technical and Performance Review
Blood and Water, as is the case for most Netflix productions, is visually impeccable. Set against the backdrop of the Mother City, Cape Town herself is a character in this terrifically produced feature.
The cinematography is almost peerless and the work that went into the editing and grading gave the entire series a hearty gloss. Meanwhile, the writing cannot go unmentioned.
The plot unravels with suspense in every one of the 8 episodes (we needed another 8!) and unlike many high-school dramas, Blood and Water‘s outcomes are a lot more difficult to predict.
Much has been said about the performances on display and for good reason too. While the cast does boast some impressively famous names such as those belonging to Natasha Thahane, Xolie Tshabalala, Gail Mabalane and Sello Maake Ka’Ncube; it is the relatively fresher faced front-women and men who steal the show.
Ama Qamata, whose talents were hailed by several but had not broken out into a mainstream success before the release of the series, has gained plaudits from across the globe for her on-screen performance while her on-screen rival, Khosi Ngema, who plays Fikile, was equally convincing in her portrayal of the high school queen bee.
What Are People Saying?
Without spoiling some of the key moments for you, people are undoubtedly thrilled to hear that the show has been renewed for a second season; and that in itself should give you an idea of what they thought of the first season.
It’s been hailed as a true South African masterpiece:
It’s not often that things come together quite as spectacularly as they have in Blood and Water but the timing of its release, right at the heart of South African lockdown during which many citizens were looking for entertainment to while the hours, couldn’t have been better. Overall, the series earns all of the praise and has raised the bar for South African storytelling in the VOD space.
Did you watch Blood And Water? What did you think of the series? If you’ve never watched it before, you can catch episode 1 below: