In the beginning of March, Netflix released the fourth web-season of the ever-popular American political drama House of Cards. Adapted from BBC’s British mini-series, House of Cards has become one of the most anticipated shows to watch for 2016. Having already renewed for a fifth season, we have to ask ourselves what about House of Cards that makes this show so great?
To start, let’s understand the overall premise of the show. Set in presented-day Washington, D.C., House of Cards is a story of Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Space, a Democrat from South Carolina’s 5th congressional district and the House Majority Whip. After begin passed over for appointment as Secretary of State, Frank Underwood initiates an elaborate and well detailed plan to get himself into a position of power. With the aid of his wife, Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright, and his loyal chief of staff and confidant Doug Stamper, played by Michael Kelly, Frank was able to achieve his goal and assume his role as president of the United States. With season fourth now out, we see a new play on the overall dynamics of power. With the presidential election coming close, Frank Underwood is in the fight of his life to keep what he has worked so hard for in getting.
Now outside of the generic plot, what makes House of Cards so intoxicatingly addictive is the corrupt strong-witted drama that somewhat speaks to the true anxieties we have for today’s politics. In the show, we see Frank go head over heals threatening, bribing, and even murdering his way through Washington to get his seat at the White House. While of course those types of actions are implausible, it does show the hectic red tape that governments go through each and every day just to get things done. In addition, it also brings about the ever-growing media problem of shaming and discrediting candidates, similar to what we have seen these past few months in both the Republican and Democratic primaries. This terrifying reflection of the House of Card Government shows the fan base a true country run through corruption and fear.
After all, we are nothing more or less than what we choose to reveal. – Frank Underwood
To enhance this of course is the overall persona of our protagonist. For most popular shows, the main character is often an individual who generates the viewer’s interest and empathy. This is usually something positive and is always on the side of good, a heroine if you will. For House of Cards, Frank Underwood plays an entirely different protagonist. While he does generate the overall action of the plot, Frank portrays more of the villain than anything. He is a man who will do whatever it takes to achieve his goals, even if that means compromising his own morals. Because of this breathtaking change of a usual main character, we as viewers are enchanted by the moves and decisions that he makes in order for him to reach his goal.
If you haven’t watched the new season or haven’t watched the show at all, I highly recommend you at least give it a chance. The talented trio of Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, and Michael Kelly and the dark twisted political plot of the Underwood’s will keep you at the edge of your seat. It’s like what Frank says, “I never make such big decisions o long after sunset and so far from dawn.