House of Cards Episode 1: Netflix

House of Cards makes television history by becoming the first series ever to give viewers all of the episodes at once.  While it is a ground breaking concept, what I enjoyed most about the show was how good old fashion "television" the pilot was.  There will be discussions about how good of an idea it is to give people a season at a time, or to release it on DVD, or pay by the month, in fact this is the topic of a podcast debuting in March for us.  But the what really matters is the show.  I loved it.  Who cares what network it came from, what form it is released in?  What matters is the story and the characters, this show succeeded on both fronts. My favorite part of the show is that the main couple, Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, love each other.  I can't remember the last time an "edgy" character loved his wife.   If this show was on HBO, Underwood would have left the inauguration ball and stopped at a hotel for a quickie with a twenty year old ad for breast implants.   It is possible to be evil and be faithful to your wife.  I do it, every day. I will be very sad if in upcoming episodes, one of them is cheating on the other.  (Hmmm, just realized that some of you may have already finished the series and already know the answer to that...welcome to the new millennium....hmm, I just realized that the millennium is 13 years old, and I am ancient.)

The main focus for a pilot is for us to want to go on a journey with the main characters.  Even though I didn't live through Underwood's betrayal, I am more than eager to watch him exact his revenge.  I had heard some rumblings about his talking to the camera.  It did not bother me in the least bit.  I felt it was natural and I liked how it was more than just exposition.  Normally a lazy writer uses this technique to cover the points of the story that they can't figure out how to show us.  So they just have the main character tell us what they don't want to slowly build up to.  Here we were his confidants.  We were his partners.  I liked when he waved to us from the third row of the inauguration.  They used the concept and turned it on its ear.   If they rely on it too much, it will wear out its welcome quickly but I felt it was not over used in the pilot.

My one complaint would be his accent.  I don't see anyone buying that Kevin Spacey is from South Carolina.  He hardly has the presence of a Good Old Boy from down south.  However, I will get over it.  I also wish that they might have cast an actor with a little more charisma as the President.  But at least this show acknowledges that the Vice President is a nonentity in government.  I will forever be baffled at how Homeland tried to sell us on the idea that the most important office in the world is the Vice President of the United States.   I do hope that the writers also learned the lessons from Revenge as well, that having him knock people off easily and per episode is unlikely. When you set your story in politics you had better do things in a believable way.  This was the  main reason I stopped watching VEEP.  Again, I saw no evidence that this show will fall victim to any of these lesser shows.

I fully endorse this show and I back the Netflix model of television.  It played wonderfully on my TV and looked perfect.  A new world is coming and I hope it is filled with great stories, great acting and superb directing.  Now, I am gonna wait a couple days to watch episode 2 because I can.  I like to have time to let a Pilot sit in my brain before I watch the next episode.  Then again, I also like to wait an hour or two and have a nice cup of coffee with my dessert.  For those of you who like to eat your meals all at once, have at it.  This is the newish millennium.

To read my review of the first 5 episodes: read here.

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