House of Cards


I finally finished watching House of Cards.  Late to the party?  Perhaps, but the party’s still going, so I don’t mind.  Well done in some of the most brilliant ways, I’m not even sure where to begin with this show.  Is it even a TV show?  Where did this magic come from?

House of Cards is a Netflix-only show that was released all at once to stream on Netflix.  Thirteen episodes of gorgeous, scandalous political anarchy, that Kevin Spacey talks us through step by step.  I’ve described it to friends as The West Wing with Hamlet’s soliloquies and more sex (I’ve noticed as I grow up a lot of things can be described as [blank] with more sex).

Since they released all of season one at once the format gives way to easily slipping into spoiler territory.  The format vs. content thing has actually been a bit of a point of frustration for me.  We keep getting distracted by the format when I want to talk about the content.  It annoys me, so I’m going to go ahead and talk about the content of the show as much as the format.  You’ve been warned.

The format vs. content discussion usually leads to the binge watching discussion, which is actually a very short discussion.  Either you binge watch or you don’t.  I don’t.  Though I see the appeal.  Each episode of this show leads beautifully into the next.  When you finish one the only thing you want to do is click through and continue to be consumed in this world.

The show is visually stunning from the opening shots of Washington to the angles and movements.  They show visually how the characters grow and how relationships between them change.  This is visual story-telling at it’s absolute best.  Personally, I love when they show text messages on screen (They have a similar style in Sherlock).

The world of House of Cards is full of shady deals and misplaced trust.  Honestly, the shifty morals going on here make me more than an little scared of Washington. Is this how candidates are chosen?  Is this actually the way things work?  I hope not.  But outside of reality, it makes for pretty fantastic television (internet-vision?).

In fact, the shifty morals and under the table deals are what makes this show feel so real.  Haven’t we all been in situations where we think it would be easier to make a deal and let something slide than face the actual consequences of our decisions and the decisions of others?  No?  Just me?  Well then…

Bottom line is that every character on this show is trying to play their hand to their advantage.  And seeing the board shift as each one makes their move is fascinating.  No one has a bad hand, but sometimes the cards don’t intermingle nicely.

They have signed on for season 2 and I couldn’t be more entranced.  Have you seen House of Cards?  What do you think?