Category Archives: house of cards

I Just Don’t Get It

I have had more than a few friends tell me not only what a great, but also hilarious television series “Arrested Development” is/was. That coupled with the fact that Netflix is going to bring it back for fifteen new episodes, which would serve as a prelude to a feature film. Well now, that sounds to me like there must be something unique and exciting about the series to have all that going on for it.

What did I know about “Arrested Development” however? Virtually nothing. I knew it lasted three seasons on Fox and was canceled because of low ratings. I knew that the musical group Arrested Development sued and settled over the use of the name. I knew that it starred Jason Bateman, and that Ron Howard was somehow involved. That’s it. Until very recently, I had never even seen one episode of “Arrested Development.”

Seeing how the whole series, in anticipation of the new fourth season, was available on Netflix, I decided to give it a shot. Wow. As Queen Victoria was often said to say, I was not amused. This thing was just not funny, or at least just not funny to me. When described to me by friends, or read about online, it sounded hilarious, but actually watching it – nothing. Crickets, baby.

What confounded me the most is that there are cast members who are on other shows or other endeavors who I think are hysterical. There’s Jessica Walter in “Archer,” Portia de Rossi in “Better Off Ted,” Michael Cera in some things, and David Cross in everything – yet in “Arrested Development,” it’s as if they are performing at a funeral.

I tried. I got through seventeen episodes before giving up, and not submitting to masochism. I just don’t get it. The new season will be available on Netflix starting this Sunday, May the 26th.

House of Cards

I’m about a month late to the party on this one, but there’s still time for the rest of us. This fabulous Netflix exclusive TV series starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, and Kate Mara, is probably the best thing I’ve seen outside of pay cable in a while. And that’s probably the coolest thing about it – it’s not cable at all – it’s only available on Netflix. Welcome to the future.

“House of Cards” is based on the book(s) by Michael Dobbs, and the BBC miniseries that followed by Andrew Davies. Originally set in British Parliament, show developer and producer Beau Willimon adapted the concept to Washington DC and the US Capitol for American viewers. Spacey is an ambitious Congressman manipulating his way to the top with almost demonic precision and sly fourth wall breaking asides to the viewers at home. There are Emmy caliber performances by all involved, but I wonder if it will be eligible for the Emmys?

Netflix, observing viewing habits and trying to keep ahead or at least abreast of cutting edge technology, has gone into the entertainment business, creating their own shows. Seeing that many folks will watch an entire series at once, sometimes a season at a time – a practice called ‘stripping,’ Netflix created shows meant to adapt to that. In that spirit, the entire first season of “House of Cards” was released all at once on February 1st.

The compelling characters, I tense stories, and terrific performances will keep you coming back episode after episode. It also has the likes of David Fincher, James Foley, and Joel Schumacher in the director’s chair.  This is a series worthy of HBO, Showtime, or AMC, yeah, it’s that good. I highly recommend it. I just don’t know what I’ll be doing until season two comes out…