It may come as something of a shock to be reminded that the upcoming new season of the award-winning Netflix Original, House Of Cards, is only its fourth. The American adaptation of the BBC drama of the same name – which was itself adapted from the novel by Michael Dobbs – was created by Beau Willimon, and boasts Dobbs and BBC writer Andrew Davies among its scribes, and the impressive creative talent involved goes some way to explaining how the show has come so far in only 39 episodes.
The series has thus far charted the rise to power of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) – from influential U.S. Congressman to President of the United States – and has depicted all the grimy, unpleasant, and often criminal actions he has undertaken to reach the highest office in the land. By his side is his manipulative, and equally scheming (though, perhaps, less bloodthirsty) wife, Claire (Robin Wright) – who is often seen to be in pursuit of her own agenda, which does not always work in concert with that of her husband.
House Of Cards makes for generally compelling viewing, although the show seemed to lose its way, somewhat, in season three. With Underwood as President, the series writers appeared to lack inspiration for the formidable character – becoming side-tracked with supporting characters, and a subplot that should have been long-since wrapped up. Whether it is the result of some harsh self-assessment, or whether the House Of Cards team have simply played close attention to feedback, however, the teaser campaign for season four appears to be priming us for a return to form.
The previous, longer trailer provided a recap of Frank Underwood’s darkest deeds, inter-cut with him addressing the audience from the Oval Office. This new teaser is far simpler, and direct, however. It sees a floral tribute lying on the tracks of a subway, under a Frank Underwood campaign poster, before a train rushes by – a clear call-back to one of the show’s more shocking departures, when Underwood literally threw a journalist (Kate Mara) under a train.
That call-back goes right back to the beginning of season two, which is a great reassurance to fans of the show. At a time when the series threatened to spin off its own axis, and collapse under its own hefty weight, it seems the House Of Cards team are looking to get the whole thing back on track – although we won’t know how successful those efforts are until season four arrives in Netflix on March 4th, 2016.