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4 Reasons Why Netflix’s House of Cards Is Such a Hit

The giant of streaming video really struck gold with their first original series.

by
Becky Graebner

Bio

June 19, 2013 - 1:00 pm
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Check out the previous installments in Becky Graebner’s dissection of House of Cards. Spoiler Warning!

May 8: 3 Washington D.C. Stereotypes House of Cards Hits Too Close for Comfort

May 15: The House of Cards Vision of Infidelity: More Fact than Fiction

May 22: Seduce Your Way to the Top? Meet The Anne Boleyns of Washington, D.C.

May 29: Why We Love to Hate Politicians

June 5: Can ‘Evil’ Sometimes Be Good?

June 12: House of Cards, Part 6: A Cast of Master Obfuscators

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House of Cards was a slam dunk for Netflix.  The name is practically an entertainment buzzword.  The show is so widely known that a spoof was made, “House of Nerds,” for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.  The video featured Washington, D.C., superstars like John McCain, Jay Carney, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, all fighting with Frank Underwood to get the best seat at the dinner.  The dinner crowd loved it — and so did the House of Cards fans.

Obviously, this show carries some sort of magic in its pocket—it wins over audiences left and right.  Heck, half of Capitol Hill, which the show portrays in a not-so-flattering light, knew enough about it to laugh at the spoof at their “Nerd Prom.”  So what is it about this dark horse of a show that has made it so great?

Pure genius on many levels.

1. Characters that are too good at “being bad”

Southern gentleman Frank Underwood is the first piece of genius in this show. I’ve pointed out in previous posts that no matter what Frank does, you still fall for his South Carolinian charm and charisma. He’s smooth-talking and has a soft side.  He has the audience eating out of his hand and then, WHAM, he’s slapped with the title of “murderer.” Oh well, you still love him and you still want him to succeed. You just cannot hate Frank — his quips, smartass dialogue, and honest facial expressions make the audience laugh even in the darkest moments.  Frank is the perfect bad guy who continuously baits the audience only to have them coming back for more.

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Top Rated Comments   
I liked it because even though Underwood was a democrat, it was not a constant anti-Republican screed. Although I did once hear a representative say that the other party in the House was just the adversary, but the Senate was the enemy.
1 year ago
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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1 year ago
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Someone needs to do just a modicum of research before posting articles like this one.

Netflix' "original" *cough* HoC is a direct rip-off of the 1990-95 BBC trilogy of the same name, starring Ian Richardson as the Machiavellian political operative, Francis Urquhart. Richardson is absolutely brilliant in the role - far better, IMHO, than Spacey's pandering mimicry.

The story is by Michael Dobbs. Whatever cerebral elements of this show appeal to the Netflix audience are thanks to him and the original BBC series' writers, whom I don't see credited anywhere on Netflix' page for this show.

At the very least, some nominal mention of these important facts ought to have been included in this piece.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The giant of streaming video really struck gold with their first original series.
Original?

Excuse me? Isn't it based on a British production from 20 years ago?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Netflix's first original series is Lilyhammer, not House of Cards which is a remake of a British mini-series.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I liked it because even though Underwood was a democrat, it was not a constant anti-Republican screed. Although I did once hear a representative say that the other party in the House was just the adversary, but the Senate was the enemy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Me too. Too many "policial thrillers" feature one side being pure as the driven snow (i.e. Liberals or Democrats) and the other being evil for no apparent reason (though usually greed). "House of Cards" shows DC as it tends to be: a chaotic mix of power hungry politicos, the incestuous mix of charities, big corps and government, etc.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
--I’m not sure I will ever be able to view him as anyone other than Frank Underwood from here on out. --

And that is Keyser Söze's plan.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Oh, please. Both are obvious fronts for Luthor.
1 year ago
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