Not to be confused with the 2015 Canadian series Blood and Water or ABC's short-lived soap Blood & Oil, Netflix's second African original, Blood & Water, premieres Wednesday, May 20. The series is being compared to shows like Elite and Gossip Girl, which makes sense considering it's about students at a wealthy private school in Cape Town. But while the show is gaining a lot of buzz, it's too soon to tell if Blood & Water will return for Season 2.
Update: Blood & Water has been renewed for Season 2, director Nosipho Dumisa revealed in a video for Netflix.
Earlier: Fortunately, it's following in the footsteps of Africa's first Netflix original, Queen Sono, which premiered in late February and has since been renewed for Season 2 after garnering favorable reviews. Hopefully, Blood & Water follows a similar trajectory.
The series follows Puleng Khumalo (Ama Qamata) as she transfers to Parkhurst College in order to investigate her sister's abduction 17 years ago. Soon, Puleng is overwhelmed by her classmates' obsession with wealth and popularity, which is worlds away from how she grew up. However, when she meets Fikile Bhele (Khosi Ngema) at an elaborate party, Puleng begins suspecting that she might be her long-lost sister.
Though the series might be set in Cape Town, Parkhurst College is not real (there is, however, a Parkhurst Primary School). "It's very much fictional for South Africa," Blood & Water production designer Christian Joubert told local magazine YOU. "I hope people will be caught up in this world and are able to see and feel the opulence we tried to create."
Joubert told the outlet that he aimed to make a distinct contrast between Puleng's world and her classmates' excessive lifestyles. "The world of Parkhurst is opulent," the designer said. "We wanted to create a world or a school in which the elite or the cream of the crop or the richest of the rich in the country go to school."
In addition to building the set, the Blood & Water universe was rounded out with costuming. The school's blazers, for one, were made from scratch, according to wardrobe director Marné van der Burgh — even the skirts and ties were custom made, as she told YOU. "We have about 50 blazers on the floor, so 50 crests had to be embroidered," she said in the same interview, "and we have more than 200 extras on set today, so you can imagine what went into that." In addition to the intricate crests, the blue and maroon hues are important to the storyline, per the article.
Fortunately, Blood & Water is already receiving plenty of buzz. "This is the show 16 yo me needed, but I'll take it right now," Twitter user @Somajjah said. "Young black local talent being given a chance to shine on a Netflix stage? This is important, can't wait to see this," @Sipho_Says wrote. Similarly, @btspinebreakerr tweeted, "[M]y country really did THAT we love to see it."
Hopefully Season 2 of this lavish teen drama will see the light of day, but until then, welcome to the jungle.