Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What's On Netflix?: HOUSE OF CARDS - Season 1

Welcome to another installment of WHAT'S ON NETFLIX?, where we pick out a film or series currently on Netflix and review it. This week, I'll be reviewing the first season of the intriguing political drama, HOUSE OF CARDS.

This series holds a special place in my heart as I served as an extra in both Seasons 1 and 2. House Of  Cards has also given prominence to the entertainment industry in Maryland; where I grew up and currently live. The series has received several major Emmy nominations and is widely praised for its acting and directing. The two names in particular that've made this show a major success are Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. They are both superb actors in their own right and have great on-screen chemistry.

Spacey stars as Congressmen Frank Underwood, who was promised a prominent position in the president's cabinet. However, the president reneged on that promise and that's where the real fun begins. Frank, with the assistance of his long-suffering wife Claire (played by Robin Wright) exacts revenge on those who betrayed him. He uses people to get what he wants. 

This series has it all: power, sex, political back-stabbing and manipulation beyond measure. There are two things about this series that've stuck out to me. The first is Kevin Spacey playing someone as twisted and manipulative as Frank Underwood. One prime example is having someone in his staff pay off a call girl.  I wasn't used to him playing that type of role; but he is brilliant in it. The other is when Frank addresses the viewers and reveals certain truths that the other characters don't know yet. It's a great example of breaking the fourth wall that most shows don't utilize.

There are 13 episodes in Season 1 of House Of Cards, and of those 13, I think the first two episodes definitely set the show up for success.  The very first episode sets the precedent for how Frank Underwood is going to interact with the other characters. Underwood learns that President Walker reneged on his promise to make him Secretary of State. It's this betrayal that sets in motion a series of events that have life-altering consequences for most of the show's characters.

In the first episode, Underwood meets a young reporter for the Washington Herald, Zoe Barnes. The two make an agreement to help each other in which Underwood would leak information to incriminate his political opponents and Zoe would publish the stories to assist in furthering her career. Sounds like a fair trade, right?

The second episodes starts out with the aftermath of the education bill leaking out. Frank does some manipulative maneuvering to make sure his goals are met. These first two episodes really show how far he will go for his ambition.

Each episode in Season 1 was directed very well. However, as with most TV shows, all the episodes were not directed by the same person. In fact, famous director David Fincher helmed the first two episodes of this series. He also directed Fight Club (1999) and Gone Girl (2014), among others.

So if you have a night without the kids, then I'd really recommend you give this series a chance.

Lisa's Score: 9/10

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