Netflix builds a house out of anything but cards

Netflix’s new show brings in Spacey as the man you love to hate


Courtesy Photo

Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) wheels and deals his way to the top by stepping on and over everyone in his way.

Broadcast and cable have long held ground in the battle for dominance in the world of television, but they might just have a new contender in the form of Netflix’s “House of Cards.”

Netflix, long known for their DVD mailing program, has made a bold move by jumping into the ring of television show production.

Kevin Spacey (“American Beauty”) stars as Congressman Francis Underwood and from the first moments of episode one, you learn quickly what sort of man Underwood is.

Wheeling, dealing, outright manipulation of individuals and the very political process that governs our country are just business as usual for Underwood and almost every character on the show. Underwood may be one of the most power hungry, but no one is innocent in the series.

Underwood uses and abuses all of those around him to get the ultimate power he craves, yet is connected to a woman that is his equal. Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright (“The Princess Bride”), is just as manipulative as her husband and at times seems even more ruthless.

Spacey truly is the draw of the series and the very glue that holds it together, but Wright and the supporting cast are no second fiddles to Spacey as they bring their A game to the table.

Kate Mara (“American Horror Story”) as the ambitious journalist Zoe Barnes and Corey Stoll (“The Bourne Legacy”) who plays Representative Peter Russo, a functioning alcoholic, are just pawns to Underwood but are much more than that.

Michael Kelly (“Person of Interest”) who plays Underwood’s assistant Doug Stamper helps Frank with his dirty dealings but is more than just a lackey. Every character has their own subplot and back story that adds to the ongoing story, and each gets a moment to shine in the series.

The acting is superb, and matched only by the writing and direction of the series. Little touches like Underwood breaking the fourth wall to talk to the audience make the series unique.

David Fincher (“The Social Network”) is the main executive producer, as well as director of some of the episodes, including the pilot. Fincher’s noted style of cinematography is infused in the series as every episode feels like a part of a greater whole, almost like a movie spread out into parts.

Fincher and Spacey paint a picture of a Washington that is solidly built on the dirtiest of politics and the true beauty of their painting is that one can’t help but wonder how close to reality it truly is.

Each and every episode grips you and makes you want to see where things will go and to what new levels Francis, Claire and others can go in their unscrupulous ways.

The beauty of it is that there is no weekly wait for another episode in the season as with the system they have set up, Netflix has another way to get one up on the broadcast and cable networks in that they released all of season one at the same time.

Binge watching of the show easily becomes the preferred method.

With a gripping finale where plans reach new levels and the plot deepens, it’s hard knowing that the entire second season won’t come out for months, but when it does it will come all at once making the wait worth it in the end.

If politics and realistic characters peak your interest, then “House of Cards” might be right up your alley.

Rating: 4 and a half out of 5 stars