House of Cards returns

By Ben Cramer

Netflix – the wonderful video streaming service that fueled our culture’s golden age of television – has produced their own original shows this for the first time last year. Their premiere show was House of Cards, created by Beau Willimon (The Ides of March). The show originated from the works of British author Michael Dobbs, who in 1989 published a novel titled House of Cards. It became the first novel in a trilogy following the amoral ascension of British politician Francis Urquhart. The trilogy was adapted as a BBC miniseries in 1990 by Andrew Davies. In 2013, Netflix decided it had enough of a devoted audience to make original content. The entire first season of the show was available for streaming on February 1, 2013. It quickly gained an audience and several Emmy nominations. House of Cards received 9 of the 14 nominations Netflix received for last year’s Primetime Emmy Awards. Actress Robin Wright won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Dramatic Television Series. Director David Fincher (Fight Club, The Social Network) won a Golden Globe as well for Best Direction (he directed the first two episodes).

     Two-time Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects, American Beauty) stars as Francis Underwood, a ruthless Democratic congressman from South Carolina. He is passed over for the appointment of the new Secretary of State, and so begins his amoral ascension to take down all politicians responsible. His wife (Robin Wright) is just as ruthless as he, and supports his sabotage, a Lady Macbeth figure. For every Walter White there needs to be a Hank Schrader. In this, case journalist Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), who will stop at nothing to get the inside dirt on all things government, is as close to an antagonist role seen in the show.
    It doesn’t take long for the show to pick some steam. Drama oozes out of every aspect, from the  plotline to the facial expressions of these damaged characters. For me personally, this show couldn’t have come at a better time. Now that Breaking Bad is over, this show slides into my TV watching queue perfectly. There could not have been better choice to play Frank Underwood than Kevin Spacey. The man is one talented actor. When his southern accent and glare at the camera when he breaks the fourth wall is incredible. The cold and calculated scheming of his equally deceiving wife Claire is just as engrossing. Kata Mara plays Zoe Barnes in such a smart, resourceful, and hard-headed way that it is truly impressive. Each episode has such a tight script, full of high context situations and twists and turns that the supporting actors’ performances are phenomenal as well.

    All in all, everyone with a Netflix account has the opportunity to watch this fantastic show, so why not start now?

Season two came out on Valentine’s Day and if the rest of the season is as good as the first two episodes, then it’ll top season one. It’s not too bold to already say that Netflix’s House of Cards will be collecting the Emmys and Golden Globes for this season.