When I think of politics, I picture old, white men sitting around a large room, yelling and debating over finances. To me, this idea of politics would create a boring, drab TV show that couldn’t hold my interest for more than 20 minutes.
However, Netflix original series “House of Cards” proved me wrong. It is able to portray politics in an interesting and engaging light. Each episode is filled with backstabbing and the story of a man and woman struggling for power, creating a plot with twists and turns that kept me interested and made me want to watch episode after episode.
Created by Media Rights Capital and produced by David Fincher, the producer of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, this show was the first of multiple Netflix original series. With the entire first season released to Netflix on Feb. 13, viewers were able to watch all 13 episodes at their own pace. For the first time, I was able to binge watch a brand new show, viewing multiple episodes back to back to back.
The plot follows the life of a US Representative Frank Underwood and his wife, Claire, an environmental activist. Frank is played by Kevin Spacey, the same actor who played Lex Luthor in the 2006 movie, “Superman Returns.” Frank and Claire spend each episode manipulating others in order to gain political power and personal control over the US. Their antics affect everyone from a young reporter for The Washington Herald to a drunken, drug addicted representative from Pennsylvania.
The Underwoods are obsessed with power; they blackmail and kill their way to the top. The majority of this manipulation comes from Frank. He blackmails a congressman, creates fake crimes and even creates a fake relationship with a reporter in order to inject the facts he wants to get into the news.
The first season begins the betrayal of Frank. After being promised the office of Secretary of State, the president instead appoints someone else. This is the point at which Frank decides to exact his revenge. After cutting his wife out of the loop and thinking it over, Frank begins to scheme. He creates an over arching plan that slowly unfurls itself as the season progresses.
By the end of the first season, every detail falls into place and Frank reaches his goal. Twists and surprises mark every episode as some people get fired, others get attacked and one is even murdered.
The most unique aspect of the show is when Frank will speak directly to you. He will turn and seemingly look the viewer in the eye before beginning to talk. The monologue may be about how he is about to manage a person or why he is doing something, but this connection with the viewer makes this show one of a kind.
By catching a glimpse of the inner workings of Frank’s mind, I was able to realize the truly ruthless mentality that he possesses. This snapshot of his mental state is similar to the way that a book written in first person allows the reader to determine the state of mind of the narrator. This helps to keep the viewer interested in what’s happening in each episode.
House of Cards was able to turn the dreary and seemingly routine subject of politics into a dramatized version of what goes on behind closed doors in Washington. House of Cards has me checking the recent additions to Netflix in anticipation of the release of season two.