In short Netflix’s new series is a winner. If Netflix truly wants to be a player in TV with original programming then they need more shows like this (and the upcoming Arrested Development).
House of Cards is the story of power and the exercise thereof, and it hits all the right notes. Kevin Spacey is perfect as the manipulative Congressman from South Carolina Francis Underwood, and acclaimed director David Fincher sets the tone for the series by directing the first two incredible episodes. If power corrupts then House of Cards is an insider look into the corruption that greases the wheels of government here in DC. What a particular Senator or Congressman believes is irrelevant. What they have said or supported in the past also irrelevant. What is important is using your influence to gain power. After living in DC for the last almost 4 years, and after watching the last two successive administrations equivocate, back-peddle and straight-up contradict statements made only moments before, House of Cards, at times, felt like a documentary on seedy underbelly that is DC. There is no one to root for and everyone is tainted with greed, lies, and corruption. You watch to see whose power plays will eventually be successful and who will be ruined.
House of Cards shows that original programming can work for companies like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon.Just like anything else, if you can get a talented group of people and allow them to flourish and tell stories, then you don’t need to be part of the network/cable conglomerate. I have to think that this shows success–depending on how Netflix gauges success–will hopefully open more avenues for these types of shows.
A few questions remain however:
What is considered successful?
How will this success translate into money to continue making original programming?
Will other actors, producers, writers, directors, etc. be drawing to these venues to tell stories?
Does this change the dynamic between traditional TV networks and streaming services?
I’m not sure what the answers to these questions are but it is going to be interesting these next few years as digital providers vie for more content and more power to give their consumers what they want when they want it. Now stop reading and get to watching House of Cards. You won’t be disappointed.