TV Review – House Of Cards: Pilot (minor spoilers!)

I know, I know, I’m four seasons late to the party on this one. I’d seen it on Netflix before, but never chosen to watch it for various reasons; mostly because a lot of my Netflix choices are often light-hearted comedies and easy-to-binge favourites. As a student I preferred things I didn’t have to think about a lot of the time – that I could work while watching or just sit and relax with. House of Cards has been sat in my to watch list for a long time, and now I have the time to fully commit to it I figured I may as well review it in the process. Also, before you say it, yes I should’ve read the novels first – but in fairness to me, I didn’t know it was a book series until the title sequence!

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The show begins with a dog getting hit by a car. Enter Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and the first of his infamous monologues, spoken as he strangles the dog. As a dog lover, killing one in the first scene of the show wasn’t exactly going to get me on side – but even I must admit it got my attention, and provided a powerful premise to the rest of the episode. Underwood is set to become Secretary of State under the newly elected president; however at the last minute another man is given the position. This triggers the cut-throat, yet measured attitude shown at the start of the programme – Frank doesn’t get angry, Frank calmly plans his revenge and acts carefully.

So far, the show is well written and cleverly done. I’ve heard a lot of good things, and I can see why it is so popular. Frank Underwood reflects the opinions many of us hold of politicians – he is jaded and sly, his morals are questionable and his goals are entirely selfish. Yet, he’s still incredibly likeable. His smooth talking, Southern charm appeals to us and although on paper I shouldn’t be able to stand him, there’s something that makes him a compelling protagonist.

I haven’t seen the British version, and as I said I didn’t know it was based on a book series, so my knowledge of the show is mostly limited to what’s in this episode. The pilot is interesting and well-paced, and has left me intrigued and wanting to find out more. I don’t think I’ll be able to binge watch it in one sitting, but I’m certainly hooked.