House of Cards is a remake of the a 1990s British political miniseries, moving the shenanigans from Westminster to Washington DC.
This is the story of House Majority Whip Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey), who has just been passed over for a coveted Cabinet position in the administration he helped get into office, and his wife Claire, who helps him plot and realize his revenge.
The three things I love about this show are:
1. Kevin Spacey. Kevin. Fucking. Spacey. Robin Wright is fantastic as well, but Spacey just steals the show. He’s so natural and charming in his role as a cutthroat, manipulative, dyed-in-the-wool sociopath that you can’t help but root for him. It’s like you’re watching a virtuoso at work: you admire his brilliantly intricate lies, justify his egregious crimes, and marvel at his bold, “all-in” approach to playing the game.
2. It shows you a type of American politics that we just know is closer to the truth than the whitewashed, “for the People” do-goodery of shows like The West Wing. Sure, there are good people in the higher echelons of government, but politics is a game of acquiring leverage and power over others, and those that play it well probably don’t give a damn about the greater good.
3. The writing is just exceptional. Perfectly paced, thematically resonant, and just downright entertaining. The first season is on-par with Game of Thrones, I think.
Like many shows, the first season is better than the second, but I’m anxiously awaiting the third.