House of Cards is a political drama series that slithers behind the curtain of power, sex, ambition, love, greed and corruption in modern Washington D.C.
An uncompromising exploration of power, ambition and the American way, the series orbits Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey), the House Majority Whip. Underwood is the politician’s politician – masterful, beguiling, charismatic and ruthless. He and his equally ambitious wife Claire (Robin Wright) stop at nothing to ensure their ascendancy.
Based on the British series of the same name, which in turn was based on the book by Michael Dobbs, House Of Cards is the kind of series that immediately grabs attention simply by the nature of who's involved with it. With Fight Club and Seven director David Fincher behind the camera, and Kevin Spacey leading an excellent cast in front of it, there's a real calibre to the talent here.
The story has changed a little, inevitably, as it now spans 13 episodes. Now set in the US, this take on the story follows Congressman Francis Underwood, played by Spacey, as he uses a mixture of tactics to try and work his way to the top. Set against the political shadows of Washington D.C., it's a gripping drama and an intelligent one, that's fleshed out exceptionally well. The glee, though, comes from seeing just what the underhand Underwood will try next. It's tremendous drama.
The series was originally released in one go via streaming services, but the disc presentation is excellent. Special features are in short supply, but it's the kind of box set that pretty much demands to be devoured. Distinct from the British version, but very much built from the same DNA, this is intelligent television, that just happens to boast Kevin Spacey's best screen role in a long, long time. --Jon Foster