Other Show Reviews / Television

House of Cards “Chapter 1” Impressions

House of Cards 3

Lately Netflix has been getting into the original programming business. One of its first big forays into this arena is House of Cards, a political drama starring Kevin Spacey. Netflix recently made the whole first season available on Instant Streaming and we are here to chime in with our thoughts on the first episode.

Matthew: The opening scene of House of Cards wasn’t a good start for me. You kill a dog and break the fourth wall and from there on out, you fight an uphill battle to win me over. But you know what… it did win me over. House of Cards focuses on politician Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) who after getting passed up for the position of Secretary of State makes those involved in the decision regret it. I’m not sure I liked Frank by episode’s end, but I did enjoy watching him concoct plans to get his own style of revenge.

More entertaining is watching Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) try to make a name for herself as a journalist. Is it because Kate Mara is so good-looking? Maybe. But I think seeing her scrape and claw for a good story is fun. And maybe I like the newspaper angle a bit more than the politics one. Either way both of these storylines are working for me and obviously they are very much linked together, so that doesn’t hurt. Frank’s wife’s role in all this is a little less clear at the moment, but I guess I’ll just have to wait to see how her plot will tie in more closely with the main one.

And of course, I have to make a stink about this show breaking the fourth wall. In a drama, this just takes me out of the world. I don’t think I’m in these worlds, but I like to look at them as if they exist. Or pretend they do at least. And when a character starts talking to me unbeknownst to the other characters in the show, it kind of breaks the illusion. I know this is just a weird quirk of mine, but I could do without it here. But it is not killing the show for me and I will continue to watch. “Chapter 1” was a pretty good start.

  • Best Scene: The ones Kate Mara was in. I know you are thinking it must be the one where she was wearing the white dress, but she was kind of adorable in her normal “I write for a newspaper” look. Also I love when girls wear hats. It stems from my childhood crush on Alex Mack. So that is a plus for her too.
  • In an outside the fiction sort of way, I’m very curious how this show will do and what kind of affect it will have on the TV landscape. I’m interested to see if Netflix can get a foothold in the original programming department (it seems it has to be honest) and also what other shows we might see them “save” so to speak a la Arrested Development.

house of cards

Omarey: I like the premise of the program. Kevin Spacey plays Senator Frank Underwood, a man who he thinks is poised to be made Secretary of State after years of towing the party line. He is quicky disappointed and then sets into motion a plan to burn everything to the ground and exact his revenge. I love the dark look of this show and it definitely sets the mood and tone of the show.

I think the political world is fascinating, so I love getting to play around in this world a bit. I like most of the side characters so far, although I do think Representative Russo played by Corey Stoll is terrible, he plays him well, and his ability to get into trouble will play well into Frank’s plans. I also really like Michael Kelly who plays Underwood’s chief of staff, Doug Stamper. He should be brilliant in that role.

I think moving forward the most intriguing thing will be watching Frank unfold his plan. He obviously knows what he wants to do but I like the methodical way in which he is implementing it. I think it will be cool to see how that spiders out and effects everyone else from the President to Representative Russon to Zoe. It should be a wild ride.

  • Best Scene: The best scene was when when Frank was dressing down Representative Russo for being a moron. I hope he keeps him under thumb.
  • I would have probably been caught looking at Kate Mara in that dress too.
  • The fourth wall stuff doesn’t bother me, but I definitely see how it could.
  • It was cool to see Jayne Atkinson in this show, I loved her on 24.

That is our take on the House of Cards‘ pilot. What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “House of Cards “Chapter 1” Impressions

  1. Nice work . I’ve finished the series – and I know you will too. Or at least I hope you do.
    I am so glad that Netflix took the leap; into original content. I kinda of like the breaking of the 4th wall. Some call the asides, and still others call them soliloquies. Makes feel like a confidant. I understand that it puts some folks off – but that the trade off- we know stuff the other characters don’t. Anyway, we won;t be ruining Frank’s plans – so bring it own.

    • I think I am the only one it bothers… haha. I don’t know I just find it a bit distracting. I was trying to think of a good way they could do it without using them (asides is certainly a better term than I was using) and I don’t really have a great solution. Like I prefer narration, but that wouldn’t serve the same purpose. I wish they could present his thoughts without him sort of talking directly to us, but like I said it isn’t a big deal. I watched the second episode and am really enjoying the show. Will keep watching for sure. Anyway thanks for checking out the blog!

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