House Of Cards is the new political thriller show that is taking the U.S. and the internet by storm. Based on the UK 1990 mini-series, it follows the character of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a majority whip (a sort of political enforcer who ensures that all members follow party policy) in the democratic party who, after being snubbed for the role of Secretary of State by a new president, decides to focus on changing things for his own gain rather than than his party’s, through blackmailing and manipulation of members of the senate and the press.
Now, you may think that sounds boring, but trust me it makes for some absolutely engrossing television, thanks in no small part to Kevin Spacey in the lead, who is gloriously captivating on screen. The first season of the show lasts 13 episodes, and once you’ve seen these, I think most will agree with me that this is just not enough. Spacey is supported by a great cast including Robin Wright as his wife Claire Underwood, who helps Frank in his scheme, and Kate Mara as upcoming journalist Zoe Barnes who enters into a tentative agreement with Underwood.
There’s an impressive collection of names behind the camera too, with David Fincher being involved as a producer on the show (along with Kevin Spacey), and directing the first two episodes of the show as well as veteran movie directors such as James Foley and Joel Schumacher ho also take turns directing a couple of episodes. Television rarely has such a collection of talent involved, usually due to the pressures that television production is placed under by the networks that are producing it, here however, there was none of that pressure as House of Cards had a unique production.
Instead of being paid for by a television network, House of Cards was financed by online streaming service Netflix, which meant that there was no deadline of when the episodes had to be completed and none of the interference and hassle that usually comes with it, which is why the project drew such talent to it. Released in the U.S. exclusively online, with all 13 episodes released immediately at the beginning of February, as opposed to being released one at a time, the move has seen people flock to the service, and seen rave reviews from most critics and audiences.
At the end of it’s 13 episode run, it does end off with events being setup for an emotionally charged second season, and fortunately when Netflix made the deal to purchase the show, they made an initial order for two seasons, meaning that a second season of 13 episodes is guaranteed, so for anyone who has watched this already and is worried about the story being left unfinished you may have to wait until late 2013/early 2014, but a second season is coming. I for one cannot wait.