|Review: "House of Cards" reinvents TV|
|Written by Cade Boland, Features Editor|
|Thursday, 07 February 2013 15:38|
Netflix has long supplied shows from numerous networks, but February marks the release of their first independent creation, “House of Cards” — a show that may just change what is expected from modern television.
Originally, the previews of the show caused concern in the entertainment community with the trailers featuring corny lines and overly dramatic shots of the characters. However, it is clear that by the time of its release, it may be one of the best shows to come out in 2013.
“House of Cards” tells the story of Francis “Frank” Underwood, portrayed by Kevin Spacey, a congressman from South Carolina who, after losing the Secretary of State position he was promised, decides to get revenge upon the new president and his board.
Underwood is clever and ruthless, and he seems to constantly be one step ahead of everyone around him. Practically all of the congress, along with much of the executive branch, appear to be in the palm of his hand.
Normally in television shows, giving one character such power creates a lack of realism that makes a show unenjoyable, but Spacey creates a persona smart enough to pull it off.
Also in the spotlight is Zoe Barnes, portrayed by Kate Mara, a young reporter for the Washington Herald, who, after meeting with Underwood, gets a chance to be in the spotlight of the press.
Though also an interesting plotline, the strong performance of Spacey often steals the show, and Barnes’ plotline can drag at times.
Side plots of the show include the story of Underwood’s wife, Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright, who is remodeling her charity company and must cut her staff, and the story of Peter Russo, portrayed by Corey Stoll, a drug-addicted congressman who is blackmailed by Underwood.
The show also sometimes faces weakness from being unnecessarily sexual or vulgar at points; it seems like it is put into the show just to remind the viewer that Netflix as a broadcaster can be vulgar, and not for the actual benefit of the show. But this is seldom and does little to really hurt the show’s strengths.
The acting and story are not the only things that make this show special. With the first two episodes directed by David Fincher, the show establishes a well-cut, fast-paced story without confusing the viewer or making the story feel rushed.
The pacing may in fact be the greatest part of “House of Cards.”
Since Netflix is not an advertisement-based service and their interest in creating these shows is not to retain old viewers subscriptions but acquire new ones, they do not have an interest in delaying the episodes coming out, meaning all 13 episodes were released at once.
Making all episodes immediately available means there is no need for commercial breaks or cliffhangers.
The removal of these common elements makes each episode constantly interesting, and the show can be stopped or started at any given point of any episode without feeling awkward.
This new style of directing and pacing is unlike any type of show before it, and it begs the question of will this style become the new medium for how shows are going to be made?
Even if politics and journalism are not the interests of a potential viewer, this new change of pace for media cannot be missed.
“House of Cards” is one of the most interesting, cool-to-watch, programs to have been released in a long time and means that Netflix could become not just a streaming giant, but a network giant as well.