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'Bloodline': Good acting, troubled plotting?

The second season of the Netflix drama is now available. Reviewers praised its cast during the first series of episodes, but some had problems with its story. The second season may be more of the same.

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    'Bloodline' stars Kyle Chandler.
    Saeed Adyani/Netflix
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The second season of the Netflix drama "Bloodline" has arrived on the streaming service, with all the episodes in the newest season now available for viewing. 

"Bloodline" stars Kyle Chandler as John Rayburn, who works in the sheriff’s department in a Florida town where his family runs a hotel. When John's brother, Danny (Ben Mendelsohn), comes back to the town, the family goes through upheaval. 

Netflix is the home of various acclaimed programming, such as the dramas "House of Cards," "Orange Is the New Black," and the comedy "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," all of which have been nominated for Emmy Awards in various categories. 

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How does "Bloodline" compare to the impressive shows with which it shares a streaming service? The acting talent on the program seems to be a match for the other shows on Netflix, with Mr. Chandler and Mr. Mendelsohn having received Emmy nominations for best actor in a drama series and best supporting actor in a drama series, respectively. When the first season aired, many critics wrote that the stars on the show, which also includes Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard, were impressive – Hank Stuever of the Washington Post found that "there's not a lackluster performance among the superb cast members." 

Yet some complained about the plotting of the show, with Matthew Gilbert of the Boston Globe writing that "it's that always-growing tension that can make 'Bloodline' tiresome at times. It's too heightened, too dread-filled," while Mr. Stuever writes that the "script at times seems overly opaque."

And now, according to early reviews, the program seems to have made a bumpy transition to its second season. The acting still seems to be impressive, with Ken Tucker of Yahoo TV calling Chandler's performance "exceedingly fine."

But the first season of the show was built on a reveal of what happened with the family, which has now been resolved. "Promises of more secrets is hardly enticing after 'Bloodline' became less enjoyable and more a contest of wills just to find out what the full story was," Tim Goodman of the Hollywood Reporter writes of the show. "The first two hours of season two are chock full of oh-please-don't-go-in-that-direction turns that put the onus firmly on the viewer."

Meanwhile, Mr. Tucker writes of the plot of the show in the second season, "You’ll have to muster all your fascination ... to remain transfixed by the new developments."

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