“House of Cards” (produced by Media Rights Capital for Netflix) is a remake of the BBC series under the same title developed for streaming and released in 2013, wining numerous awards over the last five seasons. The show takes its cues from the current political climate and acts both as a cautionary tale and as an intellectual soap opera.
The series stars Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood, an ambitious senator with the demeanor of a well-oiled snake looking to become the next president by any means. Robin Wright plays his wife, Claire, a strong political figure in her own right who accepts her marriage as one of convenient political power-grabbing. Several other character actors have advanced their careers over the course of this series, including Kate Mara (FOX’s “24”), Corey Stoll (FX’s “The Strain,” Marvel’s “Ant-Man”) and Michael Kelly (“Dawn of the Dead,” “Chronicle”).
Kevin Spacey’s personal life choices led to charges of sexual misconduct last year while he was attached to the show. The result has pushed the sixth and final season to a late release date of Nov. 2 after Stacey was fired.
“He doesn’t measure his wealth in private jets, but purchased souls,” Francis says as he turns from a table of politicians and looks directly into the camera. One of the show’s most enduring aspects is the ability to break the fourth wall via Spacey’s character, and it’s done with an often chilling effect. The big question is: Will Claire carry on this tradition? Trailers seem to indicate so.
The climb from senator to president and the struggle to maintain power amid low public approval have strangely become an act of life imitating art given our current White House administration. In the last season, Claire had become vice president under deep controversy. With the firing of Spacey, it appears the story has been tweaked with the death of Francis Underwood and Claire’s rise to the presidency.
How did Francis die? We’ll have to wait for the last season to air before we find out, but the trailers show his tombstone next to his father. With Robin Wright helming the final season, it will be interesting to see the ratings. The show has been a consistent performer on Rotten Tomatoes (averaging a strong mid-70 percent), with the last season being the lowest rated. With Spacey’s firing there could be a further dip in the ratings due to audience reactions of his personal life choices. Then again, the ratings could soar with an interest like that of a slow car crash. In either case it is the fall of an empire.