House of Cards

Bill Gallagher

"I just finished watching Episode Seven of House of Cards on Netflix."

That's the way many viewers of this top-notch political series are staking their ground on social media with House of Cards because this is unlike any series that's come before. If I chose to, I could write as a lead "I just finished watching Episode Thirteen". In other words, I just watched the whole first season.

Call me old school, but I'm not ready to watch an entire season in one or two days.

Especially with House of Cards. This new series on Netflix exclusively is as good as it gets when it comes to episodic political fiction on television... or cable... or as, in this case, strictly online.

West Wing? Great series, but limited by being on network television.

House of Cards has a lot going for it. David Fincher (The Social Network, Zodiac, Fight Club) directed the first two episodes and is clearly a guiding genius here but Kevin Spacey takes it to the level of The Sopranos, The Wire and Six Feet Under.

Spacey reminds me in House of Cards why I liked him so much in American Beauty and The Usual Suspects. (And he's now forgiven for that dreadful Bobby Darrin bio-pic)

Spacey soars as the Democratic Majority Whip who is passed over for Secretary of State by the incoming President and decides after getting angry to get even. With the encouragement of his conniving and slightly-conflicted wife Robin Wright (The Princess Bride all grown up) he plots sweet revenge. No prisoners.

Sorry. That's all I'm going to reveal. Though you should know that Spacey, as South Carolina Representative Francis Underwood occasionally turns to the camera and lets us know WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON. (A "D" in the House from South Carolina?!?!)

To reveal more might spoil the fun. A key plot point - a nationwide teacher's strike - would make the OEA and the PFT chuckle, I'm sure. All education politics is very local, right?

This is a new viewing concept from Netflix. The entire first season is there for your viewing pleasure. And you don't have to pay a cent. Take the Netflix offer of one free month and you can watch the entire 13 episodes. On your computer.

Netflix, which has a huge distribution center in Salem, has invested $100 million already in House of Cards.

The filming of Season Two begins in April.

Then what?

Well, if Netflix is satisfied enough with the response to Seasons One and Two, there's more to come. And for $15.98 a month (because I still get one DVD at a time in the mail) I'm all in.

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