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The 6 Best Oilfield-Based Television Shows


This may seem like cheating, but it certainly is not. This is the series that gave the public a behind-the-scenes peek into the exciting albeit fictional side of the oil business. The antics and shenanigans employed by J.R. Ewing against his brother Bobby as he fought for complete control of the family oil business showed only too clearly how far people would go in pursuit of what Jerry Scoggins so eloquently referred to as “liquid gold.” You’ve heard the saying, “It was so good, they named it twice?” Dallas was such an iconic television show that the powers-that-be brought it back for a second, successful run on TNT in 2012. If you’d like to watch episodes of the original Dallas, you can do so on Netflix with the subscription package. You can also stream the show on the service.

Black Gold

Created by top he-man reality show producer Thom “Deadliest Catch” Beers, Black Gold hit follows the men toiling away at three different oil-drilling rigs in Andrews, Texas. The series follows the oil rig workers, or roughnecks, around as they go through the dirty, back-breaking work involved in drilling for oil that may or may not be there. You can an all-access pass into the men’s personal and professional lives within the confines of. You also get to see the POV of the fat cats funding the digs, all searching for the next big windfall.

Licence to Drill

The Canadian spelling of the word “license” should be the tipoff to let you know that this reality docudrama is a Canadian production. Set in the harsh Canadian North, it follows two energy companies as its workers search for natural gas deep below the earth’s surface in some of the harshest weather conditions in the world, a fact which is alluded to in the opening narration of the show. In the newest seasons, the cameras follow the workers as they head south for drilling jobs in Louisiana during the Canadian gas-drilling off season. You get to see how cold-weather rig hands handle drilling down South. You can watch Licence to Drill on the Discovery Channel website.

Blood and Oil

If you like your oil with a whole lot of soap mixed in, you’ll love Discovery Channel’s Blood and Oil. This reality show follows the Ohio-based Cutter family, owners of a small oil drilling business that’s been around for 30 years. Son CJ has stepped into the role of leader after the death of the family’s patriarch, and his business antics can best be described as “questionable” at best. The show splits its time between the hardcore rigging crew and the volatile, hot-headed family. The show emphasizes a “small guy against Big Oil” theme. Big Oil is supposed to be “bad” because its deep pockets have allowed it to buy up tons of available digging spots. While your natural inclination may be to root for the family, you may find yourself questioning who to root for after watching of few minutes of the family’s antics. You can watch Blood and Oil on the Discovery Channel or on Amazon Instant Video.

Backyard Oil

Another Discovery Channel offering, Backyard Oil is a comedic-style reality show following the antics of several redneck oil seekers based in rural Kentucky, including a guy named “Coomer” and a father-and-son team that refer to themselves as The Page Boys. The hook that draws these people in is that they’re seen as hilarious, down-home go-getters. You can catch Backyard Oil on the Discovery Channel.

Bayou Billionaires

A family of modest means  finds out that its home sits on top of a natural gas field. They become instant gazillionaires. Beverly Hillbillies? No. Bayou Billionaires. The Dowden family of Shreveport, LA gets paid a ton of money every year for letting the gas company drill on its property. This fun-spirited reality show is pure soap without any of the brawn since this gas field literally sits underneath a residential property. It’s perfect for people who’ve had a little too much brawn and not enough lawn.