1 February 2013 | Caterpillar_City
Netflix's Foray into Original Programming is off to a Promising Start
Fans of David Fincher and Kevin Spacey have been eagerly looking forward to House of Cards. Not only is this an opportunity to see an elite Hollywood director and actor take on a new medium, but it represents Netflix's first attempt at original programming (I guess Lilyhammer came first, but House of Cards is a much bigger investment for Netflix). The CEO of Netflix has said that House of Cards is meant to be a show on the quality level of the top cable stations, such as HBO, and the final product delivers on this promise.
House of Cards follows several characters involved in the political scene in Washington D.C., including politicians of various rank and influence (Kevin Spacey is a House Majority Whip in the House of Representatives) and an upcoming reporter played brilliantly by Kate Mara, who you may recognize from the first season of American Horror Story. The cast in uniformly excellent and thrives under Fincher's direction. Occasionally, Kevin Spacey's character will talk directly to the camera and offer some narration, which is the only area where the show stumbles, but it isn't too distracting. Speaking of Fincher's direction, it shouldn't come as any surprise to know that House of Cards looks great. The atmosphere is moody and resembles a tone somewhere between The Game and The Social Network. The music is equally good, complementing the mood of the show without becoming overbearing.
Being a political drama, one could be understandably weary of taking the plunge into a 13 episode season if they don't find politics interesting, but that shouldn't be a concern. The writing is sharp, engaging and clear, and the characters are interesting and well developed. The editing helps: it is tight and keeps the plot moving briskly, making the political intrigue both exciting and easy to follow.
Netflix has really created something impressive with House of Cards. When hearing that an online streaming service was creating an original show, some may have been concerned that it would be cheap looking and generally not on par with what AMC, FX, Showtime, and HBO are offering. Well, Netflix got some talented people and gave them the money to make something good, and the product speaks for itself. House of Cards comes highly recommended.