Can you even call a show that airs exclusively on Netflix a “television” show? In order to be considered a “television” show, must it air on television? Will we need to adopt a new word for shows like Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards, which debuts on Netflix next February? Produced by MRC, House of Cards is not a dog-and-pony show, either. This will be a legit series: It cost $100 million to produce. David Fincher is one of the brains behind it, and it’s an adaptation of a BBC mini-series of the same name, and in addition to Spacey, it stars Robin Wright and Kate Mara. It also looks seriously bad ass.
The 13-episode show is a political thriller which follows a ruthless minority whip (Spacey) as he attempts to maneuver his way up the political ladder with an eye, ultimately, toward the country’s top position. He clearly has no reservations on stepping on folks on his way up. There’s an immense amount of talent and money behind House of Cards, and from the looks of the trailer, it could be not only streaming television’s first great series but the first great drama since Homeland. We need a good new show in our lives, and House of Cards, along with the March premiere of Arrested Development on Netflix, could be what propels Netflix into not just the world’s leading streaming service, but a legitimate content network, as well.
The catch, which is good or bad depending on how you see it: All 13 episodes will be released at once, which plays into Netflix’s binge viewing strategy. I like the idea of being able to watch an entire series in a short period of time, but the strategy does limit the media (and our) ability to digest, pore over, and discuss each episode. That may not sound valuable to some, but there’s a lot of promotional opportunities behind weekly discussions, and I certainly find that watching a television show along with a few million engaged viewers who are commenting on it on the same timeline to be a enriching communal experience.
Also, “enriching communal experience” is probably the whitest thing I will write today.
Here’s the trailer.