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House of Cards is an American political drama web series developed and produced by Beau Willimon and exclusively distributed via Netflix in February 2013. The series follows the story of Frank Underwood, a Democrat congressional leader who decides to carry out a grand scheme of political vendetta after getting ruled out from being appointed as Secretary of State, and his rise to power within the United States government.
Starring Kevin Spacey as the fictional South Carolina congressman Frank Underwood, the U.S. series is an adaptation of the 1990 British miniseries with the same name, which in turn is based on the 1989 novel House of Cards written by former chief of staff of the U.K. Conservative Party. The original plot follows the antiheroic Francisc Urquhart, a fictional Chief Whip of the Conservative Party, as he fulfills his political ambitions through a series of ruthless and manipulative ploys against his rivals.
Note: this video contains spoilers to the 1990 BBC series House of Cards.
A 21st-century American reboot of BBC’s 1990 Westminster political thriller was proposed by Media Rights Capital after purchasing the rights with an intent to produce a TV adaption. The studio initially approached several major U.S. cable networks with the proposal, including HBO, Showtime and AMC, but they were all outbid by Netflix, which reportedly offered a budget of $100 million for production of 26 episodes over two seasons as the streaming service prepared to expand into original programming.
In March 2011, the show was announced for the first time after picking up David Fincher as inaugural director and Kevin Spacey as lead director and executive producer. The script was written by Beau Willimon, a D.C. beltway insider who formerly served as an aide to Democratic leaders Charles Schumer, Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton.
Netflix, which has been credited with giving rise to the phenomenon of binge-watching in media consumption, made a bold departure from the weekly programming schedule by releasing all 13 episodes of the first season at once. On November 15th, 2012, the official trailer for House of Cards was uploaded to Netflix’s YouTube channel. The first season was released on February 1st, 2013, followed by the second season on February 14th, 2014.
The first season has received a score of 76 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 25 reviews. In July 2013, House of Cards was nominated for nine Emmy Awards, including the Outstanding Drama Series, winning in Outstanding Directing and Casting for a Drama Series, as well as Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series.
House of Cards is exclusively available for instant streaming on Netflix. The show does not have an official website. As of February 2014, the official Facebook page and Twitter account for House Cards have more than 600,000 likes and 129,000 followers, respectively.
There are several forum communities and fan sites devoted to the show, most notably /r/HouseofCards on Reddit, Fuck Yeah House of Cards and Frank Underwood Quotes on Tumblr, among others. On February 22nd, 2014, a Tumblr blog named House of Carbs was launched, which curates a series of still shots from the show that have been photoshopped to include various food items in the background.
In the second season of House of Cards, a new character named Gavin Orsay (played by Jimmi Simpson) is introduced as a former hacktivist-turned-informant recruited by the F.B.I to entrap the investigative journalist Lucas Goodwin and prevent him from uncovering the crimes of the show’s protagonist character, Vice President Frank Underwood. Since the premiere of the second season, the character’s story arc has drawn comparison to the fate of the former LulzSec hacker Hector Xavier Monsegur (a.k.a Sabu), who garnered notoriety within the online hacktivist community for ratting out several members of his group after being taken into federal custody in June 2011.