House of Cards - early thoughts

Published February 9, 2013

If you pay any sort of attention to the goings on at Netflix, you can’t fail to have missed the introduction of their new original series House of Cards. It stars Kevin Spacey and Kate Mara and follows the inner workings of politics, newspapers, that kind of thing. We’re only three episodes in, so I thought I would just make some notes on the findings so far.

  1. Mr C was super keen to watch this. He’s not normally particularly bothered about any kind of TV, particularly after the whole LOST debacle, so this was a turn up for the books. Presumably this is down to the whole TV on demand thing, plus the fact it has a good cast and is, well, very good. But it just goes to show that making your content available and EASY means you get at least one more set of eyeballs.

  2. I’m not normally into shows about politics because I’m not interested enough in the subject to follow the intricate workings. The ins and outs of who wants this job, the silly petty fights and all the manipulation, I don’t find it entertaining. This, however, I am so far on board with. Spacey is excellent, breaking the fourth wall is really helpful (although a surprise at first), and the writing is clear enough for me without (I would guess?) being condescending to everyone else.

  3. I love that all the episodes are there at once. I’ve written about this before - the pros and cons of losing the weekly episodic format. However, it’s a really good feeling to know that we have an entire story in front of us to be worked through at our own pace. In previous discussions, I’ve worried about spoilers, but at this early stage everyone is still on the same page - we know that people will be at different parts of the story so we don’t talk about it too much. Actually, there hasn’t been much of anything to spoil anyway yet, and I suspect it will develop into a problem after a couple of weeks, when most reasonable viewers will have seen it all but some won’t.

  4. I really like that, in view of point three, the episodes are called Chapters 1, 2, 3 etc instead.

  5. I thought the promotion was handled quite well, although I’m not sure how far it went outside of Netflix. I follow their Twitter account which went quite over the top for a few days, but then settled back down again. It also appeared at the top of the homepage when I first logged into the Netflix app again, but that was also gone after a day or so. How much it reached those who aren’t already familiar with Netflix, however, it’s very hard to say. Was it in the Radio Times, for instance? I know in the US there were billboards and quite a big campaign. I’m not sure how big it was over here.

Overall, I’m loving this direction for Netflix. I noticed they brought Lilyhammer to the UK store at last which is also good. I couldn’t understand why they had that on BBC Four instead of their own app, but hopefully they’ve learnt their lesson for the future. More content like this, and they’ll guarantee my continued subscription.

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