Saturday, March 16, 2013

Netflix: Hit or Miss With US Rewrite of 'House'?

Netflix produced an exclusive series entitled "House of Cards". The series stars Robin Wright, former wife of renowned socialist Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, and Kate Mara, who played the spooky student stalker on "American Horror Story".

Kate Mara seems a bit type-cast in the series, playing a role similar to her "Horror Story" role as a somewhat naive coquettish thorn in the main character's side.

Kevin Spacey's acting is a little overdone. It is almost as though he attempts to reprise two of his previous roles into one. Those roles would be that of "David Gale" and his role from "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil". The role does spark a level of deeper intrigue such as Spacey portrayed in "The Usual Suspects".

The writers did a splendid job reworking the old BBC series of the same name. Like the BBC series did concerning corruption and political intrigue in the British Parliament, the Netflix retelling makes for a good American political thriller.

Where the two series differ is that the BBC version revolved around Britain's Conservatives and Margaret Thatcher. The Netflix version concentrates mainly on the socialist oligarchs that comprise the US's Democratic Party.

The pilot episode opens with the main character, Spacey, awaiting an important announcement. After being elected as a US Representative 11 consecutive times and backing the "right" members of his party, he feels he is due. Congressman Underwood was promised a nomination to Secretary of State by the newly elected Democratic president. However, the president decides to leave Underwood where he is:  the house majority whip.

For the most part, the show is a deep exploration of Machiavellian-style political games as the main character works a complex plan for revenge in his attempt to achieve his goals for ultimate power -- an eventual run at the White House. In doing so, he has no qualms destroying people's careers and lives and manipulating members of the press (Kate Mara's "Zoe Barnes"). Underwood even uses his wife, played by Robin Wright, as a pawn in his game.

While this is a work of fiction, it is not too far of a stretch to see some of the same games being played in our current government, mostly by those oligarchy-bent socialists who call themselves the "Democratic Party". For entertainment purposes alone, though, this show creates interesting escapism for political junkies. This is to say, it does once you get past Spacey's butchering of southern accents.