This year, Netflix is starting the first show written specifically for Netflix instant streaming, “House of Cards.” Starring Kevin Spacey (“Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty”) as Democratic House majority whip Francis “Frank” Underwood, “House of Cards” starts with the election of a new president, who Underwood expects will nominate him to be secretary of state.
After Underwood discovers that he will not be nominated, he begins a campaign of underhanded manipulation and deception to further his standing in the ranks.
As a whole, the series is very ambitious. The characters are smart and bold. Spacey is excellent as the conniving congressman. The story can be a little addictive, as well. However, it does not give off the addictive “what happens next” feeling that traditional television does.
The series was made with the thought that most viewers will watch more than one episode at a time. I found that the reason I was watching multiple episodes was simply that I forgot that I was on a new episode. The episodes blend together by going from one story to the next very fluidly.
While most hourlong dramas start with recaps of previous episodes, “House of Cards” jumps right into the events with no recap. This can present a few problems because at times the story feels dragged on and slow.
Another issue I had with “House of Cards” is that some characters have no purpose until halfway through the season. Also, young journalist Zoe Barnes (played by Kate Mara, “127 Hours”) is supposed to be an energetic reporter but doesn’t seem to do any reporting until the last few episodes. More egregiously, it seems that the female journalists in the series can only get good stories by having affairs with sources.
“House of Cards” is overall an entertaining show to watch. The entire first season is on Netflix, so you can at least watch the first few episodes to see if it is something you’d like.
Hidden Gem you’ve already seen: “30 Rock”
Because “30 Rock” had its final episode last week, you might as well watch the previous six seasons Liz Lemon-style: with cheese puffs and ice cream.