In the tech world the term ‘disrupt’ is used with fervent abandon, annoying the uninitiated and making the rest of us raise a skeptical brow. How many times can one re-invent the wheel? However, when it comes to online film and television platform Netflix and their breakout series House of Cards, directed by none other than David Fincher, there is simply no other word that fits the endeavor so perfectly.
This ultra-modern remake of the BBC 1980s series of the same name captured the public imagination in a manner unprecedented, as did its ultra modern distribution.
Trading the slimy slabs of Westminister for the stomping ground of Capitol Hill, House of Cards spins a tale of ambition along the corridors of power. Kevin Spacey delivers the performance of a lifetime as the manipulative Southern statesman with his eye on the political prize, willing to ruin lives and even end them in a bid to climb the greasy pole. Robin Wright, who won the Golden Globe for Best Actress for her troubles, stars as Claire Underwood, the political wife to rule them all. A charity CEO spouse who is just as blood-thirsty and coldly ambitious as her husband, this twosome give the Macbeths a run for their money. Also on board is Kate Mara, sister of Rooney, as a cut-throat reporter/blogger who finds herself trading sex with the unscrupulous congressman for scandalous headlines. Dubious values, smooth-talking anti-heros, the most nefarious and nerve-wracking soundtrack on the box. Sound enticing?
This time last year the ‘network’ dumped the whole highly addictive first season of the mini-series in one massive Machiavellian swoop, leaving it up to viewers to switch off at the end of an episode. No more waiting, no more advertisements, plenty more bloodshot eyes. When it comes to home entertainment why starve the narrative hungry self? The Netflix model can go either way. On the one hand you’ve got the power and can watch shows to your heart’s content. On the other hand water-cooler chat may reveal the cliffhanger you haven’t yet found time for yet. Or you may come to near-blows with a partner who skips ahead while you put in a late shift at the office. We’re not saying Netflix has caused any trial separations; we’re just not going to be surprised when it is quoted on the record as an irreconcilable difference.
If you’re the type who keeps saying you need to watch this House of Cards thing then get on it, like yesterday. Call in sick. With the second season of House of Cards on the horizon don’t say we didn’t prepare you.
Season one of House of Cards is available on Netflix now. Season two lands this Friday. Who said what about Valentine’s?
Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun