When they turn the pages of history, observers in the future will look back at television viewing in the late 20th and early 21st Century and chuckle. It took them that long to launch watch-every-episode premium television programming via streaming?
Yes it did, but now that it is here, it is fantastic. “It” is the debut yesterday of “House of Cards,” a new series based on the cutthroat politics inside the Beltway. Not that anyone in Washington had the time to do so, but you were so inclined, you could watch all 13 episodes, sans commercials.
For our time, this is a big deal. The better half and I, both retired, watched the first two episodes. We love Kevin Spacey, love inside-Washington type shows, so we were riveted. Spacey plays House Majority Whip Frank Underwood, who the new Administration turns down after promising him the Secretary of State gig.
Actually, I should say she watched. I stole moments. From what I saw, the plot was too thick with cynicism. But it’s deliciously cynical and without the commercials, flows like a river.
Laced with revenge and a Southern accent, Spacey is more than convincing as the great conniver. Robin Wright, who we also like, is equally cold in the veins. You want to turn away at times, but those moments pass.
“House of Cards” is brilliant at times, but gets bogged down occasionally by writing that is out of date. For example, there is a scene where a reporter for the Washington Herald gives a blogger a hard time, the ol’ “do-some-real-reporting” and stop begging me for favors. That scene worked with Russell Crowe and Rachel McAdams in State of Play, but that was three years ago.
Backstabbing and back-room dealing in the halls of government are as old as the Republic itself. Watching great actors portray it in this uninterrupted way is fresh and new. I just wonder how empty delivery rooms will be nine months from now...