So those who know me may be wondering that when I’m as busy as I am (full time job, full time school, and marriage) why I collect television dramas like an old retired widow collects cats. To be honest I couldn’t really say, but what I can do is blog about my newest addition.
So Netflix, after some much anticipated buzz, has put out its own series, and I love it! For two reasons, first it’s a quality show, that a lot of thought and planning has gone into, but we’ll get to that in a minute. The second and primary reason I’m jumping on board with this show (lest it should disappoint me, because if the first episode teaches us nothing, it’s that promises are conditional on circumstances) is because I find no clearer way to take my chance to shout Viva la Revolucion! Down with Nielsen! Who’s Nielsen, you ask? Nielsen’s not so much a person as a system, used by networks to determine what shows should stay and what shows should go, based on viewership. On the one hand it makes sense, considering networks make their money from advertisers and merchandise, and they can’t get the money they need from those sources if a show isn’t popular. On the other hand popularity doesn’t always equal LOYALTY (Firefly anyone?). And it’s the loyal ones who will be more likely to buy merchandise or fill up airtime (think of Supernatural being brought back from the brink of death, a.k.a. the Friday night slot). So where does Netflix factor into this little Network and Nielsen system? It doesn’t .
Therein lies the beauty of a show like this, and why the first full season, ordered, written and shot is like a pilot in and of itself. One of the supporting characters Zoe (a journalist, who wants to bring the show’s paper The Washington Herald, more online) notes how paper media is sinking and can’t be saved. The statements were parallel to what could be said of traditional television. I recall once hearing radio DJ’s talking about how silly it would be to buy a season of a show, like one does a movie. With limited time, and quality dramas, and money to be made, why not? Netflix took a good product (TV and movies that could truly be watched on one’s own time) and made it a great one, and now they’ve got a product that’s their own. Now granted it’s a remake of a British series (which is probably why the credits and cinematography reminded me of Sherlock), but that’s not a bad thing.
And on that note, let’s get to the show itself.
Kevin Spacey plays the main character House Majority Whip, Francis Underwood, who’s just been passed over (despite promises by the President Elect) for Secretary of State, because he’s too vital in Congress. Now I won’t get into details, because I’m advocating for the viewership of this show. And that’s not just because I hate Nielsen and love Netflix. It’s because while Francis breaking down the fourth-wall is not always my cup of tea, unless it’s a mockumentary style show like The Office (U.S. or U.K. you ask, either), by doing so it keeps things from feeling too slow and moving along, which nicely reflects what he’s got to do for his President, his Congress, and himself. The rest of the cast, including Robin Wright also did really well in the first episode, mostly due to the quality dialogue, where a lot is said without a lot of words. In its first episode the show has set a lot up, and it’s done it at a perfect time. More than ever Americans on either side of the aisle are wondering what goes on behind closed doors, and why, and what if anything the press along with the personal lives of our public servants, has to do with it all.
So for all that I say, ANOTHER!!! Which I may partake of, at anytime, because Netflix dropped all 13 first season eps at once! Squee!