I’m a big fan of watching consecutive episodes of a show in one sitting. I, like many other Americans have become spoiled with TiVo, Hulu and Netflix etc… I get to watch what I want when I want. This has been coined “binge-watching”—I say to that: Whatev, don’t judge me or how I spend my weekends.
Netflix has gone and taken my greediness to a whole other level. On February 1st the online streaming company debuted their own original series, “House of Cards”; a gritty political drama focusing on everything we think goes on behind closed doors but can’t prove. They didn’t just give us a taste–Netflix posted all 13 episodes! (So begins the binge) I know you’re doing the math and yes, I spent as much time as it takes to fly from Las Vegas to Europe. (Keep that in mind if you have any trans-continental flights planned soon.)The show is based off of a British show from the early 90’s with the same title. I watched one episode to compare and it’s very similar.
This isn’t Netflix’s first original program; ‘Lilyhammer’ with what’s-his-name from the Sopranos came out last year. Honestly, I couldn’t get into and I really don’t think too many others could either because I don’t recall anyone ever talking about it.
HOC stars one of my favorite actors, Kevin Spacey. I could watch him in ‘The Usual Suspects’ over and over…cause well I have. He takes the character of Francis (Frank) Underwood, the Majority House Whip, who finds out (in episode 1) the newly elected POTUS has reneged on his promise to appoint him as Secretary of State. Frank is caught off guard and furious, but instead of showing his anger he decides to change the game and begins to maneuver himself into an even better position as the Vice-President and will stop at nothing to get it. He makes you loathe his actions but at the same time you kinda want him to achieve his goal. I think Frank wouldn’t be a bad guy to have in the White House. He gets it done and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty in the process.
Frank’s Chess pieces:
Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) is print journalist hungry to be a serious reporter uncovering the back deals of Washington. She contacts Frank and ultimately makes a deal with the devil. Her naïve bright-eyed personality evolves over the season because of what she initiates and allows to happen; Is she the beast or is she feeding the beast? Side note—as a serious journalist she inspires me but makes a lot of her investigating seem really easy. She also carries some of the A-hole traits that people associate with us…Sheesh Zoe, you didn’t have to threaten the girl with public humiliation ‘cause she wouldn’t kiss and tell.
Peter Russo (Corey Stoll) is genuinely a good guy with great aspirations to be a first-rate representative for Pennsylvania, but his vices and lack of self control cause him to be the pawn in Underwood’s political game.
Christina (Kristen Connolly); I really like her character…she’s not your trite political bimbo sleeping with her boss (Peter). She’s smart and knows when to walk away. I can’t wait to see what they do with her in the second season.
Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) is the muscle, the errand boy and the keeper of all secrets. When he talks to the restaurant manager it makes you realize just how powerful he is and what he can find out. He’s pretty badass too.
And then there’s Claire…oh how I love watching Robin Wright make this character come to life. She is THAT politician’s wife: supportive, strong and smarter than everyone else. She calculates her moves swiftly and without breaking a sweat. Don’t get me wrong she is a complete B— and that’s shown early on but, she has a conscience and isn’t completely evil. However, neither her husband Frank nor her remarkable amount of self-control (which Peter should siphon some of) will allow a sense of empathy to get in the way of her goals.
All of the characters are just as important and if I was posting this episode by episode I would go further into them but in a nutshell: Remy (Mahershala Ali) is nice to look at and I’m sure will have a larger part in season 2. Gillian (Sandrine Holt) is one of the few ‘good guys’ in the show but, she is up to something and I really don’t like her. (Note to producers: If Remy had knocked her up that would’ve been interesting…)
This show is well worth watching either little by little or in one great big swallow while curled up with a fancy glass of Whisky or single malt Scotch long after the kids have gone to bed.