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“House of Cards”: The Best Show on Netflix?

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Over the weekend, Netflix dropped season three of their hit show House of Cards, allowing viewers (including yours truly) to binge watch another 13 episodes of the political drama. Since its debut, the show, which came from the mind of scribe Beau Willimon and stars the duo of Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, has been a huge hit, basically creating the term “binge watching” and capturing more than its fair share of attention. House of Cards is responsible for really launching Netflix in the realm of original scripted programming. For my money, it’s also their best show, bar none. Even in general, there’s very little else like it on the small screen right now.

For those of you unaware what the show is about, House of Cards follows democratic congressman Frank Underwood (Spacey) as he exacts revenge, along with the help of his equally strong willed wife Claire (Wright) on those who have wronged him. In the first season, we met Frank as he was seething about being passed over for Secretary of State after helping get the new President elected. Thus began a plan that resulted in him becoming the new Vice President at the end of Season One. During the course of Season Two, his plan continued unabated, leading to him becoming the Commander in Chief during the finale. Now in Season Three, we have President and First Lady Underwood fighting to hold on to the power that they’ve amassed. At the top of the mountain, they refuse to go down in any way, shape, or form. Is it overtly Shakespearean? Of course, but that’s part of its devious charm as well. David Fincher directed the pilot and one other episode, establishing a strong aesthetic, while the talented ensemble cast also has included the likes of Corey Stoll, Kate Mara, Michael Kelly, and many more.

The main pleasure is watching Spacey play this character. Not only is Francis J. Underwood a devious antihero (or just a straight up villain at times), Spacey addresses the audience at numerous points, making it even more like a play. You can just imagine his dialogue being written by the Bard himself. You get so caught up in Spacey’s amazing performance that you find yourself rooting for Underwood, something that’s pretty unconscionable at times. When you pair Spacey with Wright’s equally powerful performance, it’s an absolutely riveting one-two punch, and that’s putting it fairly mildly.

So what makes this the best show on Netflix, especially when Orange is the New Black has more than its fair share of fans? For me, it’s the combination of the darkness of the material, the production values, and how it all mixes together. I don’t want to spoil anything about what happens in Season Three (even though I’m sure plenty of you have finished it already, like I did yesterday), but Willimon makes the brave choice to change up the dynamics a bit this time around, while also calling back heavily to events in both Season One as well as Season Two. It’s fearless filmmaking, that’s what it is.

I’m fairly confident that, barring something pretty unforeseen, a Season Four announcement is coming for House of Cards. If they give up now, it’d be one hell of a stunning choice. Without spoiling anything, there’s a cliffhanger to this season, even more so than the prior seasons, so I have to believe that it’s a foregone conclusion. When it comes back, possibly in February of 2017 if I had to make a guess, it’ll continue to be Netflix’s flagship program as well as their highest quality output to date…

Stay tuned for word on a Season Four for House of Cards!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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