What could be so appealing about a show revolved around politics to a bunch of high school students? Sometimes it’s perceived as being stuffy and boring. But, Netflix’s House of Cards series proves that wrong. This thriller that can be watched all at once has sex appeal, murder, revenge and manipulation, all things that are essential for a good series. This unique show has taken popularity among high school seniors at East.
“At first I was really skeptical [to start the series],” Senior Mary Workman said. “I think it’s different than anything that kids watch on TV just because it’s dealing with real world issues.”
Netflix released its original series “House of Cards” on Feb. 1, 2013. It is Netflix’s own adaptation of the two “House of Cards” books by Michael Dobbs and Andrew Davies.
The political drama is set in present day Washington D.C. Frank Underwood, the main character is a Democrat from South Carolina and is a House Majority Whip who gets passed over for the appointment as Secretary of State. Schemingly, Underwood decides to get revenge on those who betrayed him along the way — making for a scandalous drama leaving viewers on the edge of their seats.
“It’s one of those shows where you want to keep watching it like it’s a movie,” senior Luke Haverty said. “There’s always a twist that you’re not expecting.”
The second season premiered last month on Valentine’s Day. Fifteen percent of Netflix viewers watched the premiere of the second season the day it came out. Taking into account that this isn’t a show that is played on big time cable TV station. It can only be watched from a Netflix account.
“High school students are on the cusp of voting,” Associate Principal Jeff Storey said. “When you turn 18 and get that right to vote it changes your perspective on how the government works and if you think the government really works that way [it’s portrayed in the show] then it makes the show even more intriguing.”
Storey said he heard about the show from some of his friends and wasn’t the biggest fan of it after the first episode, but he kept watching and was hooked after finishing the first season.
Like with Storey and many others, word of mouth helped this Netflix-produced series become popular. Haverty got addicted to the series immediately when he heard all the hype after the second season premiered, he was even cancelling plans with friends to stay home and watch the show.
“It’s racy and it’s a thriller,” Haverty said. “It focuses on politics but you don’t have to really be into politics to understand the show, it’s kind of like a look into the reality behind our government.”
Senior John Sears heard about the show from Haverty. He then watched both of the thirteen episode seasons in one weekend.
“It’s dope,” said Sears. “It’s like a literal house of cards because everything’s balancing on [Frank Underwood] and every move he makes has to be perfect because if one thing goes wrong the whole house falls down like the white house.”
It’s known that this generation is extremely focused on technology, social media and TV. In this case, watching too much TV isn’t necessarily a bad thing, seeing as the students are learning about the government or “TV’s version of the government” along the way. One wouldn’t expect students to be expanding their mind just from watching Netflix but according to students, they are.
“House of Cards familiarizes today’s kids with America’s political system.” Senior Frank Esberg said.
Since all seniors are required to take either a semester or year long government class, it isn’t as hard for them to decode the political innuendo that they hear on the show.
“It’s interesting since we’re in American Government, I feel like I understand more of what is actually going on in the show,” Workman said.
Government teacher Stephen Laird who is a fan himself, wishes he could show it to his students in class if it was more appropriate.
“I think the reason it relates to high school students is ‘cause it’s a great show with great actors,” Laird said. “But also, it plays on Netflix so you have access to it whenever you want.”
Although this show is focused primarily on the ways of the White House, many other aspects of it appeal to high school students besides the politics, like the death, murder and scheming.
“The subject matter is something different from other shows yet the focus isn’t on complicated politics as much as it is on drama and suspense,” Senior Melissa Ator said.
With Netflix releasing their own “Netflix Produced” series, the question is, will our generation help Netflix take over network television channels? Netflix gives the capability to have access to shows immediately because seasons come out with all the episodes at once.
“I like how it’s a Netflix show just because I never watch normal TV so I probably wouldn’t see it if it wasn’t on Netflix,” Ator said. “I watched each season in about a span of a week, I was able to remember what happened in each past episode better than I would normally have if it was on TV.”
With the popularity of House of Cards it wouldn’t be surprising to see Netflix’s own shows have a rise in viewership.
“Some people I know have dropped cable subscriptions because they have Netflix and other subscription services,” Storey said. “You have more control over what you want to watch.