House of Cards Season 1 Review

Netflix, in a gambit to increase their subscription base, greenlit a 2 season $100 million exclusive show entitled House of Cards. Based on the book and BBC series of the same name, House of Cards is about political intrige and under dealings in the capital city. Starring Kevin Spacey as Senator Francis Underwood, we follow him as he schemes to bring his plots and machinations to fruition. The show has a very Shakespearean feel with the plot, as well as the delivery.

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The first season is only 13 episodes long. All 13 debuted simultaneously at the beginning of February. Many people, myself included, don’t watch television on a weekly basis. Now people like to have blocks of episodes, or complete seasons before venturing in. Netflix has realized this and in an experiment, decided to cater to them by delivering the entire season at once. I think it’s a brilliant move, directly catering to their audience.

As for the show, we start in present day (January ’13), while Senator Underwood is attending a galla for the new President Elect. In what is the first of many fourth wall breaking soliloquies, we learn about the setting and many of the characters. Soon we find that the position of Secretary of State that was promised to the Senator, was denied. From their, speaking to use directly, he tells us how he moves and plans to change this and furthering his position of power.

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Many other characters are introduced as the show progresses. Chief among them is his wife, Claire Underwood, played by the beautiful Robin Wright of Princess Bride fame. These two are the quintessential power couple, working together with not a secret between them, furthering their own goals. Claire is the head of a charity organization, CWI (Clear Water Initiative). More than once she feels that she is 2nd fiddle to her husband, not equal, and at one point even sabotages his goals.

Character templates like Iago, Macbeth, and Claudius can all be seen in the senator. Especially the elegant way he breaks the 4th wall to address the audience with his thoughts. Between this and the malicious ways he uses people to rise to power is very Shakespearean. Produced by David Fincher (Fight Club, Social Network), he directs the first two episodes setting the tone and visual style for the series that the following directs, including Joel Schumacher (history’s greatest villain!) do their best to echo to varying degrees of success.

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There are few plot points I’d really like to discuss, particularly towards the end as lives are ruined and plans come to fruition while on the verge of ruination, but won’t. Considering the show is so new, I’d like to give everyone a chance to experience it for themselves.

Kevin Spacey is one of my favorite actors and gives and amazing performance as the South Carolina Senator. You almost shudder in the scenes he imposes his will on others, bullying them into his way of thinking. An antihero at his finest.

When should I talk about this again? What other shows should I tackle? Comment below!

Post post script. 

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