Is Netflix becoming the HBO of the internet? Many people are saying yes after the video streaming giant released its all original series “House Of Cards”. Even Netflix Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, told GQ “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” The show, created by David Fincher, is indeed a remake of the 1990 BBC miniseries.
House Of Cards is a political thriller that centers around Congressman Francis “Frank” Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey) who represents South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District. Over the past 22 years, Underwood had worked his way up the chain to the position of Majority Whip (political party official who is charged with offering inducements and threatening punishments for members to make sure they vote along party lines). As his stature grew, so did hid relationships with the most powerful people in Washington. Early in the first season it is made clear that Underwood helped incoming President Garret Walker (Michael Gill) win his election and in return is expecting to be made Secretary of State. When the seat is given to someone else, Underwood begins hatching a long-term plan to flip the situation into his favor. The series takes many twists and turns as the Congressmen destroys careers and even lives.
If politics aren’t your cup of tea, this show will capture your attention with its complicated affairs, betrayal, and suspense. Aside from the main plot involving Congressmen Underwood, the show follows Claire Underwood (Robin Wright, plays the Congressmen’s wife) who runs a water based non-profit organisation, Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) who, as a reporter for The Washington Herald makes a scandalous deal with the Congressmen in return for a stream of information, and U.S. Representative Peter Russo (Corey Stoll) as he sorts through drug addiction.
Having watched the entire first season, I have to say that this is an amazing show that keeps you wanting more. If you are familiar with that feeling you get when an episode of Showtime’s Dexter, AMC’s The Walking Dead, or HBO’s The Sopranos leaves you with, then you will understand what I am talking about. The kicker is that with Netflix you don’t have to wait long for the next episode to begin (maybe 10 seconds depending on your internet connection speed). That’s right, Netflix raised the bar with “House Of Cards” by releasing the entire first season at once. With that being said, make sure you have a solid few hours free before you click play. You will not want to stop.
It is rumored that Netflix outbid networks such as HBO and Showtime for the series, to a tune of $100 Million for 26 episodes. According to The Atlantic, Netflix will need 520,834 new subscribers to signup for two years ($7.99 per month) just to break even with the production costs. What The Atlantic didn’t factor in however was the extensive product placement through out the series that will offset the costs a bit. Apple here, Apple there, Apple everywhere (just one example). The first season includes 13 episodes (again, all are available now – 50 minutes each) and season two is rumored to be released in Spring 2013 (yes, this year).
With winter upon us, there is no better time to get setup on the couch and watch a marathon of “House Of Cards”. In fact, according to Variety, “about one-quarter of those who watched the first episode motored through all 13 episodes”. If you want to watch the first season but are not sure about signing up for Netflix at $7.99 per month, keep in mind that they offer the first month free!