Happiness is a Warm TV

Fall TV: Don Johnson the highlight of ABC’s ‘Blood & Oil’

Don Johnson as oil baron Hap Briggs in ABC’s “Blood & Oil.”
Don Johnson as oil baron Hap Briggs in ABC’s “Blood & Oil.” ABC

New show: Blood & Oil

When: 9 p.m. Sundays on ABC

Cast: Don Johnson, Chase Crawford, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Scott Michael Foster

Premise: With money borrowed from family and friends, a young couple moves to North Dakota with plans to open a laundromat in a small town experiencing a major oil boom. Their rocky adventure eventually leads them to cross paths with a powerful oil baron (Johnson), who happens to have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad son (aka The Villain of the series).

I can’t say enough about how badly the male swagger in this show bugs me – that is, except for Johnson (which reminds me, welcome back to my TV, Mr. Johnson). Maybe it was one too many “Aw, come on baby, trust me...” lines from Crawford, as the smirky, reckless young husband. I know ABC wants me to pull for him, but instead, he makes me lunge for the remote. Foster, on the other hand, as the violent, entitled rich kid, is supposed to turn our stomachs, so I get that. Well done, Mr. Jerkface.

On the positive side, Rittenhouse is charming as the resilient young wife, and Don Johnson is ... well, Don Johnson – who, I will add, effortlessly pulls off masculine confidence without being gross or smarmy. Amber Valletta plays Johnson’s wife, a shrewd and formidable character. (The show has at least three strong female characters, when you factor in India de Beaufort as a tough loan shark who owns the town’s bar.)

The pilot gets better as it goes, and the show ends with quite the cliffhanger, which is the surest way to get folks back for another week. Sure, it’s pretty much “Revenge” meets “Dallas” with a splash of “Nashville,” but for many viewers, that’s not a bad combo at all. And did I mention Don Johnson?