By Chris Minitelli
A few years ago, it was a little known fact that Netflix has been venturing into producing their own original programming. I didn’t know about it until they announced the return of “Arrested Development.” However, they already released two original scripted series, one of which is “House of Cards.”
When I first heard about the series I was completely intrigued. With names like David Fincher and Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey attached, any film geek would be intrigued. Although this sets the bar high for the series, it completely delivers with style.
The series tells the story of Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a Democratic congressman and House Majority Whip who uses his charm and power to get revenge on those who betrayed him after he was passed over for a promotion to Secretary of State.
The series also features Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), Francis’s wife and the leader of a non-profit organization that gets entangled in Francis’s crusade.
The rest of the series’ cast is simply composed of the pawns that Francis manipulates in his crusade.
Peter Russo (Corey Stoll) is an alcoholic congressman who is blackmailed by Francis for his loyalty. Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) is a newspaper reporter who gets insider information from Francis.
Although a serialized political drama may not be the first choice of most television viewers, the series manages to be entertaining and addictive.
It is peculiar in the fact that Francis frequently speaks directly to the audience to explain who certain people are and the mechanics of his plan.
This makes the entire series more streamlined and, frankly, less confusing than most political dramas. It also offers flashes of much-needed humor.
Many of the characters may seem heartless and blinded by power, but there are surprising moments of humanity. The characters are well-defined and their motivations and vices are completely in view.
“House of Cards” ironically lays all the cards on the table and doesn’t hide much from viewers. Everything from Zoe’s daddy issues to Peter’s drug addiction makes viewers want more.
However, the juiciest part of the series is still the dirty politics that pollute every episode.
Affairs, addiction, corruption and betrayal run amok, but it is the main character who defines the series. Francis goes to some incredible lengths to keep his plan going and eventually reaches a point of no return.
Francis is the epitome of an anti-hero, a man that we should hate but we root for along the way, and that is what is going make “House of Cards” a series that we can’t get enough of.
The entire first season is up on Netflix, and now the waiting game begins for the second season of this addicting new series.