House of Cards

house-of-cards-1

I’m a little late to the party but I want to write about House of Cards.  First of all, if you haven’t seen it, watch it now.  Second of all, here’s why.  It’s the future.

It’s beautifully shot with a fantastic cast led by Kevin Spacey, an Oscar nominated writer, Beau Willimon and set in a captivating world of power and deception.   As each episode ends the next begins, with no recaps, very little story of the week.  This is a giant 13 hour movie.

images-174

When I saw the trailer I wanted to watch it.  Instantly.  And was prepared to pay for the privilege.

And this is key.

This is premium content for a subscription paying audience.  It has to be outstanding to cut through all the noise, all the ‘filler’ shows, all the not-quite-right, ‘quality’ series available on Freeview.  Cable has to justify its cost and so now does Video on Demand. Netflix had to design something so good you would sign up to monthly payments to see. Here’s why.

We have no more free time. We only have an hour or so to spend watching a show so it had better be good.

images-172

We want to watch it when we like. I don’t want to have to wait until 9pm to watch a great drama series on TV.  I want to watch it in bed when I wake up, on the move, when I’m in the mood.  I want to watch it where I want, on a portable screen or screens.  And I’m prepared to pay.  Not a huge amount, but enough.

I want a show that is exactly tailored to my requirements.  Not too old, not too young, not too male-skewed, not too girly –  but I don’t want to be pandered to or second-guessed or dumbed down any more.  That’s what ‘House of Cards’ gets right and all those over-targeted niche TV shows get wrong.  I  want the best.  And with the migration of top-flight talent from cinema to television, fleeing from the tent-pole culture of blockbuster movies, I am getting it on the small screen rather than the big.

images-171

At Cannes I heard someone ask ‘What is the future of cinema?’  The answer was, ‘Television’. Correction – it’s Viewing on Demand.  Kevin Spacey was right in his Edinburgh address.  Binge viewing is what we want and what we can now have.  I overhead a guy on the tube telling his friends that watching a whole series this way is ‘like reading a book, you are so immersed in the world and its characters you keep going back for more’.  And more.  And more.

Once the Emmys are over, will there be more pale imitators of House of Cards?  Cheaper series we will mainline like cheap candy when Netflix and Co have to produce much more original content at a lower per programme cost?  Or will quality continue to win out over quantity?

I hope it will.  I always think better in silence than in noise.

hocmarakiss_320x245

What kind of series inspire you and why?  Leave a note here or contact me  @emlin32 on Twitter.  Happy viewing!

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “House of Cards

  1. Episodic series are taking over, definitely. How many original ideas are in Hollywood? Everything’s a franchise. But then we get an insanely captivating story like Breaking Bad on AMC? I’ll stay home thanks.

    I haven’t yet seen House of Cards. But its on my list of series to watch. Your review just added an extra incentive.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Spencer! I agree. find a two and half hour movie with nothing to say feels overextended and dull. But with writers like Beau Willimon, I’ll happily watch thirteen hours and more…

      • I enjoy all sorts of shows. Hard to put a finger on a type. BREAKING BAD is the only one that has been able to consistently sustain my interest for more than four seasons, though DEXTER came close. Most shows tend to wear me out after one or two, just because it seems like they have trouble finding new arcs and storylines.

  2. I agree – binge viewing on demand is the way of the future. At the other end of the story spectrum from ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Breaking Bad’, I watched four hours of ‘Girls’ last Tuesday (on DVD). Could have watched 12. Huge pleasure.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s