BY: MARISOL SAMAYOA
“House of Cards” is a game-changer of a series that has cemented itself as a heavy weight among veteran Emmy award-winning shows like “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones.” The show also makes history for being the first non-televised show to receive a nomination for the Outstanding Drama Series category at this year’s 65th Primetime Emmy Awards. With the nomination on its own, Netflix proved itself as force to be reckoned with by producing a series of equal quality just like its contenders.
The D.C. thriller follows scheming Congressman Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his ploy to seek revenge on those who have betrayed him after a promise to appoint him as secretary of state is rescinded. Underwood takes the viewer under his wing, walking them through the famous halls of the D.C. Capitol and his carefully crafted schemes.
In the first episode, we meet Congressman Francis J. “Frank” Underwood after a neighbor’s dog has been hit by a car. Underwood has his bodyguard grab the owners while he rushes to the dog in anguish. He breaks the fourth wall—the show’s signature—making the viewer a confidant throughout the anti-hero’s quest for reprisal.
“There are two kinds of pain: The sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain. The sort of pain that's only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.”
He kills the dog. The opening credits cues up.
Politics and journalism play a crucial role in the development of Underwood’s manipulative agenda as he allies himself with his equally dangerous wife Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) and reporter Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) leaking information to her in order to tank his political opponents’ efforts.
The only thing more captivating than Underwood himself is the marriage that he and wife Claire have as it’s often tested when wars started in the Capitol creep their way into their home. It almost gives the viewer a new opinion on relationships by observing a very complex marriage that works well.
Other characters have a lot of potential to add more color to the development of the series. For example, Remy Danton (Mahershala Ali) the natural gas lobbyist and former employee of the Underwood’s has a lot to hang over their heads. Or Frank’s trusty Chief of Staff Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) who helps a young, party boy congressman through sobriety and into an election for governor. They’re deep but they’re not developed.
Maybe they’re meant to blossom next season?
Netflix took a huge risk when it released all 13 episodes of “Cards” in February prompting subscribers to ‘binge view’ the entire series in one sitting or finish the political drama over the course of time on the viewers' own accord.
The show has a real shot at snagging up Emmy gold for its rich, layered characters and stirring development of the storyline.
I’ve placed my bet and—I have to say—I’m happy with the cards I’ve been given.