After being speculated about for what felt like years, Netflix finally released its first original series, House of Cards, last week. It’s garnering tons of attention for a number of reasons. Perhaps the standout reason for its publicity is that it marks Netflix’s first foray into the realm of original programming, a big deal for a site that formerly dealt exclusively in streaming other movies and TV shows.
In a way, it follows the same model as HBO, which began as a channel designed to play movies, as indicated by the name Home Box Office. It was later that it became the beacon of high quality original programming that other channels have only recently begun to emulate. Netflix now looks to follow a similar path, and many are looking to House of Cards as well as the return of Arrested Development as indicators of the level of quality television that Netflix will contribute to the current golden era of TV shows.
The other big reason, for many it’s probably bigger than the Netflix angle, is that it represents a move into television by two huge movie commodities, Kevin Spacey and David Fincher. Spacey brings with him a presence that has made him a massive star on stage and in movies like American Beauty, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Usual Suspects, and of course Seven, a previous collaboration with Fincher. As for Fincher himself, he has developed a credibility few directors are able to earn, beginning with the hits of the aforementioned Seven followed by Fight Club, but is now finally receiving the level of respect he deserves following the brilliant The Social Network and the adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Two powerhouses combining their efforts to delve into the booming television market is worth the heightened interest.
The main question about the show though is: is it actually good? After all the publicity and the speculation and waiting for the big things this show was supposed to do, does it deliver? The dominating opinion seems to be yes; it hasn’t revolutionized TV storytelling necessarily yet, but it immediately deserves to be mentioned as the best new show out right now certainly, and likely merits mentioning alongside the finest shows running at the moment. I’m not even through the season, having a couple episodes to go, but for anyone still on the fence about whether the show is worth their time, I’ve got 6 reasons to plunge down the House of Cards rabbit hole.
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