House of Cards became one of the boldest and innovative shows to hit the entertainment world before anybody saw an episode. It achieved that loaded label by being the first television show fully funded and made available by a streaming service.
Netflix or as it’s better known as America’a favorite time killer threw their hat into the ring of original content. The service that is known for providing access to a wide range of t.v. shows and movies now has their own show and best part is that it’s actually pretty damn good.
House of Cards was made available by Netflix on February 1, 2013 and in true Netflix fashion they put up all of the first 13 episodes at once. Binge watching was made available and knowing that ahead of time translated to the series being shot and paced like a movie. House of Cards feels like an elongated film that the audience needs a short break in-between episodes rather then commercials.
Another unique feature about the series is that is was given a two season deal up front. The show is broken up by chapter and is a 26-part story with an optional 3rd season. House of Cards steps out of the pilot, short first season and fingers crossed for a second season mold.
The show itself breaks the standard mold of television as well. It is an adaptation of a 1990 british mini-series. The story telling is all funneled through Frank Underwood played by Kevin Spacey. We see him wheel and deal as the Majority Whip in the House of Representatives. Instead of an inner monologue Underwood speaks directly to the audience and self narrates what he is about to do.
Underwood as character is probably the most despicable lead in a television show to date. There is nothing really to fall back on. Audiences at least saw Tony Soprano be a good dad. Underwood is calculating and cold and that makes him a perfect companion for his wife Claire played by Robin Wright.
Claire Underwood runs a non-profit charity and together her and Frank are a Washington D.C. power couple. They use everything thing to their advantage with an understanding that nothing is off limits for their conjoined personal gain. Their power hunger sweeps up Peter Russo played by Corey Stoll and Zoe Barnes played Kate Mara.
Spacey’s performance as Frank Underwood is chillingly good and aided by the cinematic approach of the show. Spacey feels at home in a production produced and directed by David Fincher. House of Cards has that Fincher style found in The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Names like Fincher and Spacey add legitimacy and make the $100 million Netflix is shelling out worth it.
House of Cards does not need to beat Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Homeland. The fact that its in the discussion is good enough. Having a seat at the table gives this Netflix experiment legitimacy and makes network heads squirm. Nominations for Emmys and Golden Globes are sure to come. Wins will just be icing on the cake.