Netflix’s “Bloodline” is a family thriller from brothers Todd and Glenn Kessler, as well as their decades-long close friend and collaborator, Daniel Zelman (collectively known as KZK) — so it’s no surprise that this offering from the people behind “Damages” will be highly personal.
But it is not “Damages,” the Kessler crew wanted reporters to know at Wednesday’s Winter Television Critics Association panel for the new series — except maybe a little bit in its tonality.
“‘Damages’ for us was very much about the professional world, and what our experiences were entering the professional world,” Todd A. Kessler explained. “We wanted to do something that was allowing us to dig into the earth that is family.”
That said, Todd was quick to clarify the craziness that will come from Season 1 of “Bloodlines,” telling the media: “This is not the story of either of our families.”
But it is the story of family, albeit a hyper-dysfunctional, scary one.
Set in the Florida keys, “Bloodline” will depict a family of four adult siblings battling demons from the past after a black sheep brother returns home. It stars Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”), Ben Mendelsohn (“The Dark Knight Rises”), Linda Cardellini (“Mad Men”) and Sam Shepard (“The Right Stuff”), Sissy Spacek (“Carrie”).
“We all play roles within our family,” Todd continued, summing up the plot this way: “What happens when you get to the point that you’re no longer willing to play those roles?”
Also, he and Glenn know firsthand that despite growing up in the same family, the same events can be interpreted and remembered differently.
Further distancing their new show from their old one, which starred Glenn Close and began on FX in 2007, “Bloodline” started with a 13-episode series order, so that freed up the creative process for the streaming show, the writers told the Langham Huntington Hotel media. And the binge-watching that Netflix offers allows greater nuance in the writing, Todd told the Pasadena crowd.
Plus, there is the absence of commercials, and the knowledge that every viewer will start with Episode 1 is a huge asset, Glenn Kessler pointed out.
“Netflix is its own universe,” his brother Todd concluded. “Right now, we’re really high on the streaming.”
Netflix’s “Bloodline” premieres on Friday, March 20.