• Network: Netflix
  • Series Premiere Date: Feb 1, 2013
  • Season #: 1 , 2
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 645 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 14 out of 645

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  1. Sep 1, 2013
    10
    Absolutely amazing, Kevin Spacey at his finest and Robin Wright complementing him splendidly as well. Started the first episode for Spacey but ended up completing the entire First season in one go!!!!
  2. Aug 3, 2013
    10
    Ingeniously bold! Excellent performances from Kevin Spacey coupled with great intersecting plot lines. This show is even a hit among politicians in Washington
  3. Feb 11, 2014
    9
    Congressman Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is the smartest guy in Washington, but we meet him just as he suffers a devastating betrayal shifting his career into neutral, but this is only the beginning. We can tell by his acute composure and his stiff body language that even though he is extremely distraught, he is very far from defeated. He will never reveal his distress. That would be a sign of weakness. Underwood will even play his subservient role, for now, but eventually, his time will come, with the help of reporter Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) Perfectly cast as here, Mara has a unique allure as an actress, and as with all her roles, she is unassumingly engulfing.

    The congressman makes it loud and clear that he yearns for power. Using off-stage, to-audience-only recitations, he shares his real thoughts and objectives; it’s like getting inside the head of a sociopath, making an almost trite connection between pathology and politics, but Spacey is so convincing as an individual, he doesn’t speak for the masses, **** the masses, that the intended commentary on the sociopathic political mindset actually becomes more ingrained and powerful than trite. It works cleverly it all its glaring obviousness.

    We observe characters alone, watch them move, interpret their body language. Especially Underwood’s lovely wife Claire (Robin Wright). A fog of loneliness wafts over the show even as characters embrace, make alliances, and settle debts. Everyone competes neck-in-neck for Washington’s top spots, of which there are few.

    When Netflix, supposedly nothing more than your friendly neighbourhood video store, started making its own productions, the stakes were low. But Netflix has officially hit the ball outta the park. Way Out. Both of its debut series House of Cards and Orange is the New Black are blazing successes, and not just commercially, but as statements themselves: artistically, emotionally, and stylistically unique, they are really very good. Orange is the New Black especially has come up with some ultra-creative plots and characters that are a blast to watch.

    How did a first time production company, that was observably not-at-all subtle in its blazing out of the gate with such pomp and circumstance over it new shows’ greatness, make such great debut shows? With very deep pockets, they hired the expert help. Not just movies stars like Kevin Spacey, but veteran film directors.

    As the debut director for the series House of Card, David Fincher sets the tone of intrigue and shadows that shroud his dark thrillers. Post-HBO renaissance, Fincher achieves what any great director working in upscale TV does: he makes the episodes come across as mini-political thrillers, pieces of cinema unto themselves. The newsroom scenes are vaguely reminiscent of Zodiac. But as he directs the first episodes, it is his footsteps all others must follow.

    With so many scenes, directors of this kind of TV work hard. Big shows need a surplus of directors. Breaking Bad had a different director for almost every episode. Most directors work in other capacities on other episodes as writers or producers. Compared to film, how much does the director of the cinematic TV show’s vision actually make it to the screen? The Sopranos had dozens of directors, but none really left a distinct imprint on the show. Do we remember their names? Not really. It was the show itself that had a style.

    It seems like with shows like House of Cards, The Sopranos, or Breaking Bad that the momentum of the cast, combined with writers great scripts, makes the job of the director to step in and to channel this momentum, rather than drum it up from scratch as in film. But Fincher’s first two episodes of House of Cards are the force that starts the momentum. It is his footsteps that all others must follow in what continues over the season’s following eleven intriguing episodes.
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  4. Sep 17, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The writing is nothing short of brilliant. SPOILER ALERT: STOP READING NOW IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE SERIES.

    Spacey's asides draw us into his confidence, but we are slowly inclined to betray him as the series progresses--just as other characters do.

    It's an amazing affect I've never experienced, and it's utterly absorbing.

    This is not interactive tv, but it feels like it. And we are drawn into the action as we learn every characters' weaknesses and desires.

    Little things matter, too: The subtle change in Claire's character when the homeless man fashioned the twenty dollar donation into a swan and flicked it at her. Genius. Moments like that make great drama.

    winston Q summers
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  5. Oct 25, 2013
    7
    I find it difficult to look away, while feeling the show is a bit too cold and "inside the beltway" wonky to get hooked on. House of Cards suffers from the all-too-familiar problem of not really offering a character to root for. Who do I care about among all these people who only care about themselves, political power and personal gain? The outstanding performances, editing, score and other tech credits help a great deal, but with each episode I keep hoping to be offered a better reason to watch the next one. Expand
  6. Nov 16, 2013
    8
    Great show! Except one major detail... The settings are all wrong- Everyone knows that there are no tall buildings in DC due to the law that prevents buildings from being taller than the capitol. Every time we see Underwood's neighborhood and other local shots there are tall buildings. Also, the shots around what are supposed to be the Wash Post HQ- there is no bridge crossing any side street in that neighborhood as depicted. Maddening! What's worse is that the colleague of a son of mine was hired as an extra and went to Baltimore for shooting yuk! That's what I think of when I see the outside shots. Expand
  7. Feb 2, 2014
    5
    After watching the first two episodes, I was convinced this would become one of my favorite series of all time. Once I was down to the final two episodes of season one, however, it had completely worn out its welcome. While the acting is first-rate from Spacey and Wright, the overall plausibility of the story line suffers horribly with each subsequent plot twist. What seemed to be an intelligently-written series in the first few episodes suddenly morphs into some midway point between cliche and cartoon-like. It's not awful by any stretch. Some parts of the presentation seem vivid and life-like. Regrettably, these parts are vastly outnumbered by the endless parade of far-fetched plot elements and flat dialogue. I had such high hopes for this series, especially since the acting was of the highest caliber. House of Cards, unfortunately, proves that a bad script can totally neutralize even the best dramatic performances. Expand
  8. Mar 24, 2014
    9
    If I had the option I would give this about a 95 out of 100, but I am a round-down sort of fellow. This show grabs you by the balls and just keeps surprising you the entire way through. The level of selfish manipulation is shocking, and that's part of the charm.. It's honestly the first show I have really enjoyed that is based entirely on greed. The acting is impeccable (Whenever Kevin Spacey gives the camera one of his glances I chuckle). Robin Wright is fantastic as his 'just as manipulative' counterpart.
    I watched the entire series (2 Seasons) in the course of 4 or 5 days. each episode is about fifty minutes long, and there are thirteen episodes in a season. I think that in itself says something.
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  9. Feb 9, 2014
    10
    Binge-watching season one which is rehabilitating depraved regions of my primordial reptile brain and making them feel smarter and socially acceptable
  10. Mar 2, 2014
    8
    An eerie start to a great new show. A very ominous tales about the darkness of politics. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright carries the load on a dark series waiting to get better and better.
  11. Mar 9, 2014
    10
    Revolutionary Television!

    House of Cards is a television drama produced by Netflix, a subscription service that allows its customers to stream shows and movies over the internet. Although Netflix is popular, the company’s ability to produce a series that has received several awards, nine Emmy nominations, and four Golden Globe nominations after only two seasons is impressive to many.
    Among the impressed include well-known internet review sites such as Metacritic.com, IMDB.com, and RottenTomatoes.com.
    House of Cards is a binge-worthy political drama which Netflix first premiered in 2013 and then released a second season in February of 2014. This show has absolutely set a new bar for the drama genre of television. Kevin Spacey plays a downright evil politician, Frank Underwood, who is working his way toward presidency of the United States by any means necessary. The lengths he goes to in order to hide his secrets, eliminate competition, and throw wrenches in others’ plans are baffling. Don’t get too attached to characters in this series. Much like George R.R. Martin, writer of Game of Thrones, House of Cards writer Beau Willimon keeps his audience on the edge of their seats, wondering who may be eliminated next by Underwood’s ruthless desire for power.

    Orange is the New Black was another series produced by Netflix in 2013 which similarly pushed the boundaries of television drama, however House of Cards is even more captivating. As Americans, we can relate to the show’s scandals and dirty politics because what we witness in our own media is a mild version of similar events. This series simply takes that aspect of United States politics and stretches it to the edge of believability. The relationships, although definitely unordinary, are oddly relatable as well. The show is written in a way that feels as if the powerful characters, like Frank and his wife Claire, speak what we already expect them to be thinking. It removes boundaries we would expect to have in conversations we would be part of, allowing the audience to live vicariously through the characters’ brutal honesty. There are even moments in each episode where Underwood speaks into the camera as if he were speaking directly to the viewer. Kevin Spacey’s portrayal is chilling and cannot leave any viewer unintrigued.

    This series is worth watching, although viewers should be forewarned that all twenty-six episodes, each at least fifty minutes in duration, are available to stream at your convenience. Be prepared to have no control over your ability to stop watching. House of Cards is the most beautifully, creatively, tenaciously written series I have seen.
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  12. Mar 10, 2014
    7
    In intriguing insight into the this great fictional world of politics that mixes well with Kevin Spacey character out for revenge. The style is the most appealing part keeps the mood simple and modern with the characters coming life in a riveting tale of corruption and revenge in a world only a congressman could understand.
  13. Mar 29, 2014
    10
    I wholeheartedly suggest that before starting the first episode, you get munchies set up along side you and strap yourself in with a seat-belt for the ride of your life. Kevin Spacey was born to be Francis Underwood. I have not seen in my 65 years any political drama that is so engrossing. The characters are real to life, with everyday problems. When you are watching the story unfold, think about the present day politics........ Expand
  14. ysd
    Mar 15, 2014
    1
    Season2 - Points for acting. Writing not so much. Consistent victory of the political mafia all the way to presidency with scandalous debauchery makes it so predictable. We get it - Politics is beyond dirty. But making murderers out of unelected presidents. At episode 2, I suspected the grand finale , by season 7 - I was on it. Regardless Good entertainment but bored by the end. Too predictable and too desperate to scandal. Makes the media and FBI and CIA look like ignorant goons Expand
  15. Mar 20, 2014
    8
    You can tell since the beginning Fincher's touch. Netflix really knocked it out of the park with this series. Political dramas are rising nowadays and "House of Cards" is a front-runner. My main issue is that, the first half of the season spent too much time trying to describe the characters, which I don't think it was completely necessary because by the second half of the season, in which the plot develops in a great way, by then you already know how the characters are going to react. You can even anticipate when Kevin Spacey is going to look at the camera (in the characteristic way he does in this show). Other than that, the series is really well acted (Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Kate Mara do a really good job), well written and well directed. Expand
  16. Apr 6, 2014
    10
    Politics, suspense, intrigue, murders, lies, intimacy and affairs. A great mix of topics and incredibly well written. The depth of the characters is amazing. A great political thriller. It is creeping up on my personal list to become the best show ever, it certainly already made the top 5. Only downside: Kevin Spacey talking to the viewers which is a tool I never liked in any series but can forgive it for such an outstanding series. Expand
  17. May 8, 2014
    10
    Amazing show! The show is written in such a way to appeal to different types of audiences. It has tons of suspense, political drama, and great emotional development from the characters. Kevin Spacey is amazing as Frank Underwood, and the way Frank's character is written is very Shakespearean. He routinely has monologues and asides, and it really feels like watching a modern adaptation of a Shakespeare play. The show doesn't merely rely on action or suspense to keep going. It utilizes the political atmosphere of Washington to keep itself relevant. Frank and Claire are terrifying in the best ways and really exemplify what it means to be an anti-hero. This show definitely kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time, but I also love watching characters develop and emotionally interact with one another, and this show provides the best of all of those worlds. Expand
  18. May 22, 2014
    5
    Just OK; definitely not a show to watch after you've undergone a root canal and are feeling sick and tired... impatience and discomfort on the viewers' part will not mix well with this slow-paced series that demands complete attention to unravel the all of the byzantine-but-irrelevant plot twists. Can be quite boring, time-wasting, and predictable, and full of tired, banal, trite, and cliched plot devices and character lines. Worst of all are Frank talking to the camera and singing all of the traditional "Southern military academy songs" that we've seen as a cliche in every single movie about a military academy. The Zoe character is incredibly annoying, and the sudden rise to power from mediocrity of both Zoe and Frank is completely unrealistic. There were some entertaining events, for sure #such as Zoe's demise#, the acting particularly by Spacey is excellent despite the noted shortcomings #of the writers#, and several of the episodes are quite good, but overall the series had too many irrelevant, confusing, and tangential/inconsequential plot lines #such as the whole byzantine "Chinese currency fixing, money laundering to PACs" scheme# and boring, uninteresting legislative agendas that left me glancing at my **** or checking my iPhone too frequently. I fell asleep during several of the episodes. Expand
  19. Jun 8, 2014
    10
    Started watching the first episode yesterday around 6pm. I've gone through 9 episodes in one night unable to stop and wouldn't have if I don't have work today.
  20. Aug 14, 2014
    10
    While Bryan Cranston as Walter White in Breaking Bad will likely remain my favorite portrayal of all time, Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood is currently my second. I love this show. The director is incredible and for the most part, the writing and performances are believable ....what a compelling show. I cannot wait for season 3.
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 25
  2. Negative: 1 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Feb 22, 2013
    70
    I found the first two episodes handsome but sleazy, like a C.E.O. in a hotel bar. Yet by Episode 5 I was hypnotized by the show’s ensemble of two-faced sociopaths. Episode 8 was a thoughtful side trip into sympathy for Spacey’s devilish main character, but by then I was exhausted, and only my compulsive streak kept me going until the finale--at which point I was critically destabilized and looking forward to Season 2.
  2. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Feb 6, 2013
    100
    Watch at whatever pace you'd like--immediately. Given its quality, I think you'll be drinking it all in sooner rather than later.
  3. Reviewed by: Tom Long
    Feb 1, 2013
    67
    Fincher's unemotional style comes through in the first two episodes, and the show could use more heat. But Spacey makes it worth watching.