Best new tv series at the Writers Guild Awards 2014, same acknowledgement at Roma Fiction Fest, best direction of the first two episodes for David Fincher – just the guy of Seven and Fight Club – several nominations in several contests, famous or not. House of Cards conquered everyone, even the U.S. president Barack Obama who, at the beginning of the second season one year ago, invited all twitter users not to spoil.
The ingredients are very classic: the main character is Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a ruthless senator ready to step on everything and everybody to reach his goal, the White House. Even his family life is nothing new, him and his wife Claire are more into job than all the rest, so no wish for kids and constant cheating, like there’s no tomorrow. Kinda a couple of sharks, with no feelings. Or that’s the appearance.
Talking about the first season, also the other characters respect their role, with the ambitious and beautiful journalist Zoe Barnes, caught in a sexual relationship with Underwood just to have exclusive news; Lucas Goodwin, in love with his colleague Zoe; Doug Stamper, Underwood’s right hand, always loyal like a soldier; Peter Russo, politician with a past (and present) of alcohol, drugs and prostitutes, used by the Government entourage. And so on going through season two and three.
We could say it’s nothing new, but there’s no discussion about the quality of the show. And it’s not just Fincher or Spacey, sign of a new trend. Once the tv series gave a boost to actors to fame, see Jennifer Aniston after Friends. Now Scorsese is involved, Steve Buscemi plays in Boardwalk Empire, Matthew McConaughey in True Detective. I mean, nothing to do with actors on sunset boulevard, when there’s an Academy Award Winner!
Website telefilm-central.org explains the reasons that captured spectator’s attention. The adaptation to American reality of a born English series fits to modern reality, plus we got the falling of the “fourth wall”, the screen that forbids characters to interact with the audience. So Underwood doesn’t just explain his actions, he does it looking at the camera, talking directly to us, like nothing else is up there or can listen to him.
Conspiracy, anyway, is always appreciated. Plots which paint Governments, especially the U.S. one, as an almighty organism tickle the fantasy of those who paint pictures of situation at the borders of reality, not always far from real though. South Park went beyond: to them is the Government by itself which gets self-satisfaction in making believe people of its power and evil essence. Because fear helps to keep the population under control. And maybe the devil doesn’t exist, but it’s always better to make believe in him.