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4.6 out of 5 stars489
4.6 out of 5 stars
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119 of 127 people found the following review helpful
From what I remember of the 1990 BBC version of House of Cards, this one is spiritually faithful but sufficiently different to make watching both a satisfying experience. The central dynamics remain - the sociopathic politician whose asides to the audience reveal the Machiavellian nature of his schemes & the extent of his contempt for those around him, like a predator curling up its nose at its prey; his equally ruthless wife, for whom getting her own way is justified by virtually any means; the naive yet ambitious journalist who lets Underwood manipulate her in exchange for career progression; and occasionally they even slip in that tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement of hypocrisy, the memorable mantra 'you may think so but I couldn't possibly comment'. Indeed, the opening credits cite Michael Dobbs (writer of the original novels) & Andrew Davies (who adapted them for UK screens) as being Executive Producers for this series.

Nevertheless, transplanting the story to the good old US of A with its different political system has ensured this series is very different from the British one. This newer version is more visually striking, no doubt due to the reigns being held by David Fincher, director of aesthetically bold Hollywood films including Fight Club. Fincher decided to work on an ongoing series because of its greater scope for character development & analysis, which this setup delivers in spades. Fincher previously worked with Spacey in Seven & has gotten a superb performance out of him here. His Underwood is boiling rage tempered only slightly by cold contempt, masked with Southern charm & held in place with inhuman self-control & subtlety channeled with animal cunning. Yet part of what kept me hooked throughout this series were the occasional moments of ambiguity surrounding both Underwood & his wife (particularly, in my view, the latter) as to whether they really are as uncaring as they often seem, or whether they have a small chance at redemption.

In summary - brilliant acting, fascinating characters & some beautiful cinematography which does for Washington what The Apprentice does for London. It's going to feel like a long wait for series 2. This was Netflix's first stab at creating its own original programmes for its online streaming service & one which is bound to leave an indelible mark on the map.

Incidentally, I've just watched the first episode of Boss - Season 1 & feel it may appeal to fans of this series, just as long as you can stomach its wobbly camerawork without getting dizzy.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2014
At first, I was a little sceptical whether this American version of "House Of Cards" would be a poor rehash of the earlier extraordinary TV series starring Ian Richardson. I thought our version could not be topped. However, whilst both series are set in the world of politics, this new series had me gripped very quickly and stands on its own merits, due to great writing but the fantastic acting skills of Mr Can't-Put-A-Foot-Wrong Kevin Spacey and the rest of the cast. I cannot recommend this series highly enough - great viewing.
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2013
The future is now, that is according to popular downloadable TV services. Why wait a week for your TV fix, when you can grab an entire series in one go. Boxset fans have known about this for years, readily absorbing entire runs of a show in a weekend, rather than waiting until 9pm on Thursdays. `House of Cards' promises to be the future, yet here we find it out on boxset, the place we all know and love. Show run by David Fincher `Cards' is very well shot and the HD version of the physical medium is the best option, but what of the show?

Kevin Spacey plays Francis Underwood, a Machiavellian politician who even The Prince would be wary around. He uses his political and none political influences to steer the President, Senate and Congress to his way of thinking. Over the course of a series he pulls the strings of power leaving him on the precipice of great things. Here is a man willing to do anything to gain power, but behind every great man is a greater woman, in this case Claire Underwood (Robin Wright). She has her own agenda as well as selling the Underwood brand. As a couple that make Macbeth and his Lady look like the amateurs they were, can they succeed where the Scottish Play did not?

`Cards' is an incredibly intense and rich viewing experience. The acting, writing and direction are all top-notch and leave you clamouring for more as every episode ends. Spacey is charming as Frank, a horrible man, but someone I really wanted to see succeed. He appears to show us the true face of many politicians. It would not matter where a show like `Cards' starts off its broadcasting life as it is the quality of talent that matters. Anytime, anywhere `House of Cards' would be great telly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2015
First and foremost, the performances in this series are first class and everyone involved is utterly convincing and a joy to watch. It goes without saying that both Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are excellent; they both manage to bring definite depth to their characters and allow us certain moments of sympathy, when they're not busy scheming and doing all sorts of eyebrow-raising stuff. Kevin Spacey's looks/speeches to camera are also wonderful and sometimes hilarious; it gives the series somewhat of a theatrical feel, though over-dependency on this technique in future episodes could prove to be a hindrance.
In addition to this, "House of Cards" also boasts strong supporting performances; including Michael Kelly as Spacey's loyal and suitably sinister right-hand man Doug Stamper as well as Kate Mara's ambitious and determined young reporter Zoë Barnes.
Perhaps most noteworthy though is Peter Russo, played by Corey Stoll. He brings heart to the series through his portrayal of the somewhat naive pawn that is used in Frank Underwood's "master plan". His transition through the series, from flawed, broken man to strong, confident politician, is mesmerising and his relationship with Christina Gallagher (Kristen Connolly) is also perfectly played.

"House of Cards" sports a very clever, interesting script and it definitely makes a certain effort to appeal to those who are perhaps unfamiliar with the American political system. For the most part, it is a series that requires full concentration, lest you miss certain key plot points, but there is definitely enough in the series to keep the audience entertained throughout.
On a similar subject, there are certainly a few "breather episodes" that allow you to perhaps take a break from the fast paced action of the White House and relax somewhat, such as the episode where Frank goes back to his old college. This particular episode allows for a more sympathetic view of Frank and Claire and, as previously stated, it definitely works as something of a "breather".

There aren't too many negative points about this series, though I do partially agree with certain reviewers that the final third perhaps loses momentum and that there are certain inconsistencies in the development of the main characters. There are also certain moments when the narrative becomes too complicated and the viewer may be "left out in the cold" if they lose concentration for even two seconds.

So in conclusion, this is a stylish, exciting, funny, sexy series that boasts stellar performances and is a worthy addition to the catalogue of quality American television.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2014
This is one of those rare shows that treats the audience like adults, with a brain.
It's powerful and subtle, nuanced and wonderful.
A lot of the plotting and interactions between characters is unsaid, implied or runs as a tense undercurrent - it's all there, if you're watching - and this is one show that demands your undivided attention - so put your phone down and watch it, you'll be rewarded.
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110 of 127 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2013
I have the original BBC series of the same name on DVD. There is no connection between the two, except the name. Every character in "House of cards-USA" is an irredeemable, amoral, nasty, self-obsessed, insanely driven and selfish monster who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Normal rules of civilisation do not apply. A Wife is fully cognisant of her husband's affair and even approves as the affair may help achieve a goal. Murder is carried out to avoid bad publicity. Power of high office is used almost arbitrarily to crush human obstacles. The glib acceptance of this sociopathic behaviour by the main characters as normal is one of the most striking and well-written aspects of each episode. The incessant and unrelenting tsunami of vile people doing vile things to each other and to innocent bystanders never becomes wearying. The portrayal of the most powerful people in the land as being the most corrupt is an old story but has rarely been told so well. Kevin Spacey will undoubtedly acquire the acting awards here. His character makes my skin crawl, such is the ferocity of the performance. He rarely raises his voice but he is a smiling, softly-spoken, southern gentleman and savage predator. In short, I absolutely loved every episode and I look forward to the next series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2014
This deserve more than five star.

It is a well made television programme. Kevin Spacey at his best. The writing is sharp, engaging and clear, and the characters are interesting and well developed. The editing helps: it is tight and keeps the plot moving briskly, making the political intrigue both exciting and easy to follow.

Looking forward to watching Season 2. I hope Amazon Instant and Prime Instant Video will added to their list.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2015
Am I the only viewer who finds this tedious and wooden, with too many loose ends and untidy strands which succeed only in confusing issues and muddying waters? The pace is leaden, the characters superficial, the politics unintelligible. Spacey looks bored and walks through the part without bothering to perform. The Lady Macbeth of Robyn Wright is arch and unconvincing, and takes up far too much of the plot line. The far superior version is the original British production with the great Ian Richardson. It has real intrigue, pace, wit, and subtlety. And the characters are superbly convincing and complex. There is neither tension nor style in this laboured American spin-off, which must owe its hype to Spacey's backing as producer. See the original (which warrants many satisfying returns) and breathe a great sigh of relief.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Husband and Wife 'Francis(Frank) and Claire Underwood' are both smooth
and ruthless operators.
'Frank' is a congressman who gets things any cost, he fears no-one,
he is a master manipulator, cross him and your career is over.
'Claire' runs a 'Charity' agency......but, her charity does not extend to loyal
In truth, the two understand each other, which is probably why they co-exist.
'Kevin Spacey' lights up the screen with a style all of his own.
This is a brilliant version of this political, and wickedly clever drama.
This a 4-Disc Box-Set of the 13-episode complete first season.
Run-Time - 674 minutes.
(Looking forward to receiving the second-series when released)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2015
I give it almost five stars but not five because I think Borgen and The Wire are more original, intelligent, complex and politicsl than this. But this is the top of glamour, entertainment and politics if you watch tv, it's shakespearian, sometimes in an easy way. (Thanks to Kevin Spacey and his fantastic wife) even though the original series (yes, it's a remake of a nineties bbc series, much simpler and poorer visually) was very audacious and smart script-wise. It's an american moral tale, very puritan in a way but at the same time very thought provoking, if you consider the audience it is addressed to. Visually great. Fincher made a sort of 12 episode film that has nothing less than his real films.
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House of Cards - Season 1-3 [DVD]
House of Cards - Season 1-3 [DVD] by Kevin Spacey (DVD - 2015)

House of Cards - Season 3 [DVD]
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House Of Cards - Season 2 [DVD]
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