Forget all the popular movies or any other show on Netflix you consider to be good, there are few shows as good as House of Cards. Few shows have so much to say on the current political climate like House of Cards. It is almost painfully real and relatable, shining a light on what goes on in the background of politics.
It’s the show that put Netflix originals on the map. It’s the pinnacle of the content Netflix offers.
The first and perhaps greatest aspect of House of Cards is its incredible cast. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright shine as the power-hungry Underwoods, the leads of the show.
There’s such a natural dynamic between them. No other ambitious on-screen couple can match them. They make Mr. and Mrs. Smith look like amateurs. There are a handful of couples which we remember, even fewer who are the villains. But seeing the characters Frank and Claire work their way up the political system is like watching a modern day Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. There isn’t another dynamic duo who could match. Especially not one so evil.
The show is built upon the leads, but it wouldn’t work without the talent of the supporting cast. Michael Kelly, who plays Doug, the chief of staff to Frank the main protagonist, is the most arguably the most ruthless and evil character on the show. Which just shows how good he is at the part. And not just Michael, but all of the supporting cast add to the show.
The Twisting Plot
Our anti-hero’s story begins when Frank’s passed up for being the Speaker of the House. From this point on he collaborates with his wife to extract his revenge.
The plot is riddled with surprises and twists. But what makes House of Cards stand out is that the two devious leads are always in danger of being stopped in their quest for ultimate power. I found myself rejoicing whenever someone discovered the skeletons in the Underwood’s closet.
But the show progresses and develops the two leads in such a way that you can’t help but like the Underwoods, and even root for them in the end. The show works in such a way that you go from hating the Underwoods to rooting for them, hoping they succeed. Another reason why this show is gold.
Don’t get me wrong, Frank is a completely loathsome character. So is his wife. However, in the course of the five seasons you cannot help but admire all he’s willing to do in order to accomplish his goals. There’s this unparalleled pragmatism to him which helps him get things done.
This practical mindset makes him shine above all the other politicians. Because unlike most politicians, Frank actually gets stuff done.
House of Cards is unlike other political shows in the way is shows the audience an almost hopeless look into politics. The only way you can get anything done is if you do whatever it takes. Including the illegal. Which is exactly why Frank is so good at what he does.
He is willing to do whatever it takes. Frank plays the same game all the other politicians play, he’s just good at what he does. Who doesn’t like watching someone do something they’re good at?
“One nation Underwood” -Frank
Art and Immortality
The biggest theme behind House of Cards is the nature of politics. The show begs the question whether our current political system is more than just a spectacle. We see what the characters want us to see. But arguably there is nothing underneath the mask they present. Whether or not this is true is the question.
The next biggest theme is the struggle for immortality. Frank strives for immortality in his quest for power. He wants to be remembered. And honestly, for someone like himself, that is the highest thing to strive for.
House of Cards cleverly reveals the nature of immortality and what it even means to reach it. Thus the title. Will all the work of the Underwoods last or will is simply be a house of cards? This idea of immortality is one of the greatest themes presented in art, and the show presents it with excellence.
Overall this show stands above the rest for its grit, phenomenal actors, deep themes, and main character, Frank Underwood. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. Be warned it does contain mature content in some of it’s episodes, but as the seasons progress the instances become few and far between.