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Why Bloodline’s Third Season is the biggest let down of the year

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This article contains spoilers for the third and final season of Netflix’s Bloodline, if you haven’t seen it yet you may want to come back when you have done so…

It’s hard when you’ve waited a whole year for the final season of a series you’ve marked down as a modern classic only to have the whole shaky edifice crumble before your eyes.

Bloodline’s third and final season has been one of the most anticipated shows of the year. Ten episodes that would wrap up the story of the Rayburns in fine style – or so we hoped. Instead what we got was a season that abandoned characters, storylines and in the end petered out to nothing more than a damp squib. Worse still the creative team of Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman completely disrespected the audience with the ninth episode that, instead of building the story towards a climactic tenth and final episode, entered a fantasy zone that was part Life on Mars, part Groundhog Day and part It’s A Wonderful (Terrible) Life and advanced the storyline not a single jot.

The season began well enough with the fall out of Marco’s murder by Kevin and the framing of Eric O’Bannon for the crime carrying us through the first three episodes – in fact it felt like the first three episodes were in fact the final three episodes of the second season.

Bloodline season 3

From there it all starts to fall apart. The action fast forward’s 5 months and the only real storyline is Kevin’s growing involvement with arch criminal Beau Bridges’ Roy Gilbert. Other than that way too much time is spent on John’s angst .

The final three episodes saw the season fall apart completely, John Leguizamo’s Ozzy character hung around on the outer rim of the action, slowing losing his mind and harassing various members of the Rayburn’s whilst doing so. He bizarrely decides to kill himself in the back of a car belonging to one of Roy Gilbert’s henchment. Ozzy’s story went absolutely nowhere.

Roy Gilbert’s story also finally went nowhere despite taking a long time to get there. Gilbert ends up having a heart attack and dying in hospital. Totally pointless and another aspect that left us feeling somewhat cheated.

Meg’s departure from the series after the first three episodes (apart from one brief appearance later on and away from the main action) gives us another reason to think that the first three episodes belonged to the second season. It would be interesting to know whether Meg’s mostly non appearance was down to the creative team or Linda Cardinelli deciding not to get involved. Andrea Riseborough’s Evangeline also failed to appear this season, dismissed in a passing comment about pursuing her music career. Instead we had a couple of minor characters taking up unneeded space and again contributing little – there was Beth Mackey (who had made a brief appearance in season one) as a friend/lover of Danny’s and who hovers on the periphery of the action, seeming to have a role to play but again, other than offering advice to Nolan and Chloë Sevigny’s Chelsea O’Bannon her story and what secrets she may have been keeping went untold. John also got a female new partner who only seemed to be there to tempt him into bed following his marriage breakdown – not that stressed out John could do anymore than actually get into bed.

Bloodline Season 3 Meg played by Linda Cardinelli

After the first three episodes Meg disappeared from the series apart from one brief reappearance away from the main action.

Episode 9 though – what can you say about episode 9. It turned out to be painful to watch. Ostensibly John has been in a diving accident with his old friend Mike but the episode consists of various scenarios playing out in John’s head, in most Danny (Ben Mendelsohn with very bad wig) is still alive and all of them seem completely pointless. It’s almost as if the writing team had forgotten they had an episode to write.

The tenth and final episode does try to wrap up a few of the storylines. Kevin with the DEA closing in on him, tries to escape to Cuba but is caught within 24 hours. John tries to tell the truth to Police Chief Aguirre but Aguirre simply doesn’t believe him – instead convinced he is burnt out and paranoid. It’s the most satisfying scene in the whole season actually. Finally John comes face to face with Nolan on the jetty at the inn. The season being what it is though we don’t even get to see whether he tells Nolan what really happened to his father.

In the end the slow burn that we loved about the first two seasons here just fizzles out like a damp firework. Such a shame especially as once again the acting, led by Kyle Chandler and Sissy Spacek, was fantastic.

In music there is a well known difficult third album syndrome, your first album is a knockout, using the songs you’ve accumulated down the years, your second capitalises on that and then by the time of your third album you’ve got to come up with new material and the pressure is on. Bloodline Season Three genuinely felt like that. Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman didn’t know where to take their characters and it showed.

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Kick-Ass TV Heroines: Xena – Warrior Princess

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Xena Warrior Princess

What was not to love about Xena? As Lucy Lawless says: “Xena is a bad-ass, kick-ass, pre-Mycenaean girl.” Evildoers, clearly, must stand down, but not only bad guys (and girls) have Xena-phobia. Even heroes quake when she swings her broadsword.

Originally created as a syndicated complement to Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena pretty much kicked Herc to the curb. It was like when the Bionic Woman made us lose interest in the Six Million Dollar Man–only more so.

Unlike Lindsay Wagner’s early half-woman, half-machine, Xena wasn’t prone to frailty. Nor did she need robot parts. In fact, the Warrior Princess never lost. If she’s down, it’s not for long.

Plus, she was in touch with the dark side: This big-boned bruiser had definite moments of blood lust, as well as lust of some other varieties. Garbed in a leather miniskirt and armed with her trademark razor-edged, boomerang-action chakram, we watched Xena single-leggedly kick down entire platoons of Roman soldiers.

Sure, there were murmurings about Xena and her softer female sidekick, Gabrielle (actress Renée O’Connor). So what if they liked to conserve bathwater by doubling up? And what’s wrong with close friends frenching once in a while?

Then again, maybe it was true–and there’s anything wrong with that.

Actress: Lucy Lawless
Show: Xena: Warrior Princess
Character: Xena

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Classic TV Revisited: McMillan And Wife

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McMillan And Wife

Starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James, McMillan and Wife was a super cute crime-solving saga from the 1970s made for the NBC’s Mystery Movie series.

Who were they?
Hubby was the debonair San Francisco police commissioner Stewart McMillan.

And wifey?
Sally was a foxy, rather scatterbrained dame with a knack for finding corpses.

Worked down the morgue did she?
Hardly. Sally’s finds were usually in some glitzy mansion which the couple were frequenting for a weekend cocktail party. She also had a habit of getting her life threatened or being kidnapped.

Who was in it?
Tragic Hollywood star Rock Hudson no less. He took on Stewart McMillan in his first TV role, after years as a matinee idol with movies such as Giant.

Tragedy?
Fans of the lantern-jawed star were dismayed when he went public about having Aids. He had long kept his homosexuality secret. He carried on working in ’80s glam drama Dynasty, but make-up could not disguise the deterioration of this once-statuesque man. He died in 1985, aged 59.

What about Sally?
That role fell to raven-locked Susan Saint James. The Ali MacGraw lookalike was previously in shows such as Alias Smith And Jones and The Name of the Game.

Other characters
A vital ingredient to McMillan And Wife was sharp-tongued housekeeper Mildred, played by Nancy Walker. Somebody needed to keep the place tidy while they gallivanted about solving crime.

Famous guest stars?
Kim Basinger

The couple’s conception?
Like Hart To Hart, the idea was borrowed from Dashiell Hammett’s Thin Man books of the ’30s.

Gritty crime drama?
Hardly. These were cosy whodunnit cases, where the brutality of murder was never portrayed. The show was more about the interplay between McMillan and Sally.

Had viewers arrested?
Certainly in the US. It was the fifth highest-rated show in 1972 and 1973.

Fate of the golden couple?
Susan Saint James quit in 1976 over a contractual dispute. Nancy Walker also packed away her duster as housekeeper Mildred.

The dame’s exit was a fatal blow?
Certainly for the character of Sally – she was killed off in a plane crash. But Rock soldiered on with new assistant Sgt Steve DiMaggio (Richard Gilliland). The show became McMillan.

A winner?
Audiences dwindled and the plug was pulled.

Distinguishing features?
Cosy pillow talk, cocktail parties, Rock Hudson, pyjamas and numerous corpses.

Do say
Let’s go to bed. Turn the light out, darling.

Don’t say
Must you eat toast in bed, darling. Apologies, but I’ve got terrible flatulence. Separate bedrooms.

Not to be confused with
My Wife Next Door, Harold Macmillan, The Merry Wives Of Windsor and Mr And Mrs.

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Classic TV Revisited: The Royal

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The Royal

The Royal was an ITV drama commission and was inspired by its sister programme Heartbeat.

The lowdown: This nostalgic family drama is set in the swinging 1960s and centres on the staff of a cottage hospital in Yorkshire. Newly qualified doctor David Cheriton (Julian Ovenden) is determined to make a difference to the world and arrives at St Aidan’s Royal Free Hospital in Elinsby full of big ideas. But he clashes with the hospital’s secretary TJ Middleditch (Ian Carmichael) who is determined to run things his way. Then there is the Matron (Wendy Craig) who rules her nurses with a rod of iron and tries in vain to stop them being distracted by the handsome arrival.

Memorable moments: Watch out for former Heartbeat favourite Bill Maynard who crosses dramas and continents as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass. Greengrass has returned from a Caribbean holiday with a mystery illness but that doesn’t stop him trying to earn a fast buck. It doesn’t take long before Claude attracts Matron’s ire.

Trivia: The Royal is a family affair for real life husband and wife Robert Daws (Ormerod) and Amy Robbins (Weatherill). No fewer than seven members of their clan have appeared in the series including their daughters and stepson.

Michelle Hardwick, who played receptionist Lizzie, says her favourite moment in the whole series didn’t come on screen but in the actors’ green room. She says: “I was sitting in there with Wendy Craig and Honor Blackman and we were having a lovely conversation. I sat back and thought ‘Wow, this is great, I can’t wait to tell my gran’.”

A modern day set version called The Royal Today aired 7 January – 14 March 2008.

First broadcast: 2003

Starred: Wendy Craig, Ian Carmichael, Michael Starke, Robert Daws and Julian Ovenden

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