House of Cards (2013) : Season 1

  • Network: Netflix
  • Series Premiere Date: Feb 1, 2013
Season #: 1, 2, 3
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 865 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 20 out of 865

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  1. Jul 8, 2014
    4
    This first series was slightly tedious at times, US politics not being my favorite source of entertainment. However, I was curious about Spacey's rave reviews and I like him as an actor. Given the dispassionate style of the series, I found it hard to develop a genuine interested, and I followed until the end out of mere curiosity.

    Most characters are manipulative, sleazy and unpleasant.
    This first series was slightly tedious at times, US politics not being my favorite source of entertainment. However, I was curious about Spacey's rave reviews and I like him as an actor. Given the dispassionate style of the series, I found it hard to develop a genuine interested, and I followed until the end out of mere curiosity.

    Most characters are manipulative, sleazy and unpleasant. All seem to have hidden agendas. The plot-line gets confused and for me it will never make sense how the journalist played by Mara actually figured out that Frank is a lying bastard and possibly a murder. The part about Frank supporting Peter was genuine enough and Frank changed his plan only after Claire sort if stabbed him in the back.

    Hence, the "conspiracy theory from the start" does not make sense. Not one of my favorite series, but Spacey and Wright are good, although Ms. Wright wardrobe is super boring, with her black pencil skirts, sprayed on shirts and perennial stiletto heels, she looks like a parody of a "power woman", just out of an ad for any expensive designer brand.
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  2. Feb 1, 2013
    6
    I watched the first episode this morning, practically as soon as it came online. "House of Cards" is very entertaining, but it has a long way to go to equal the 1990 BBC series on which it is based. The series hews closely to the plotlines of the original series and features some of the more eloquent and cutting original dialogue, it is, for that reason, not quite as suspenseful as itI watched the first episode this morning, practically as soon as it came online. "House of Cards" is very entertaining, but it has a long way to go to equal the 1990 BBC series on which it is based. The series hews closely to the plotlines of the original series and features some of the more eloquent and cutting original dialogue, it is, for that reason, not quite as suspenseful as it might be. I would normally give this series a seven or an eight, but there are a number of things that hold me back. First, I don't quite believe Kevin Spacey's South Carolina accent. It just doesn't sound quite right. Second, a President makes an education bill the centerpiece of his first hundred days? That's a little bit too inside-the-beltway even for me, and doesn't ring true. Third, and most importantly, I have concerns about the viewing experience. Maybe it will look better on Blu-Ray, but the streaming product is definitely substandard. To an audience used to sharp and vivid HD images, the first episode looks dark and even a little blurry when compared to other programs I have streamed on Netflix. I don't know what's wrong, somebody needs to fix this quick. Expand
  3. Jun 29, 2013
    5
    There's something I just don't like in the execution of this show. I like political satire, I like odd tones, I like breaking the fourth wall. I even like some kinds of hammy or arch performing in the right light [as in Spacey's hero-villian character]. It's a lot like Richard III in the sense that the whole work revolves around the deliciously evil hamming of a main character that weThere's something I just don't like in the execution of this show. I like political satire, I like odd tones, I like breaking the fourth wall. I even like some kinds of hammy or arch performing in the right light [as in Spacey's hero-villian character]. It's a lot like Richard III in the sense that the whole work revolves around the deliciously evil hamming of a main character that we take delight in rooting for and against simultaneously. And it has the same weakness that Richard III the play does, in that all the other characters more or less prop him up without any real interest to them or the plot.

    I just don't like the show in execution. The plot and scenes don't really hinge on much to me. The humanizing moments, that in another work would do more to round out the main character, just fall flat to me. It's better than most of what's on TV, but I'd give most of what's on TV a 2.

    Give it a try I guess.
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  4. Feb 23, 2013
    5
    After a good start (they only gave critics 2 episodes that tells you something) it falls apart. The politics are dumbed down to an insulting level. The plot line is more of a soap opera than a political thriller. By episode 5 6 it's a freakin' mess (those dogs were directed by Joel Schumacher of "Phone Booth" and "Batman Robin" infamy).
    Dumb and dull.
  5. Feb 4, 2013
    4
    One of the most contrived pre-credit opening sequences I've seen recently, and the show doesn't get much better from there. It's as if David Fincher's direction to every character had him strapping on a fake Southern accent and saying, "Oh you are just wicked. And privileged. And naughty. Go." Every time Kevin Spacey turns and speaks to the camera, I wonder if anyone on set had secondOne of the most contrived pre-credit opening sequences I've seen recently, and the show doesn't get much better from there. It's as if David Fincher's direction to every character had him strapping on a fake Southern accent and saying, "Oh you are just wicked. And privileged. And naughty. Go." Every time Kevin Spacey turns and speaks to the camera, I wonder if anyone on set had second thoughts about how this was going. False, artificial notes ringing all over the place... Expand
  6. Jan 26, 2015
    5
    I firmly believe that this show reflect the manipulative political framework that we are exposed too on a daily basis. The main characters play their roles quite excellent & the show for the most part keeps me interesting. However, I found it absolutely fitting to attribute a 5 rating to what I've seen thus far (season 1 & 6th episode of season 2) because I am very annoyed with how muchI firmly believe that this show reflect the manipulative political framework that we are exposed too on a daily basis. The main characters play their roles quite excellent & the show for the most part keeps me interesting. However, I found it absolutely fitting to attribute a 5 rating to what I've seen thus far (season 1 & 6th episode of season 2) because I am very annoyed with how much and how long the deceptions, lies and murders continue to go on for. I will proceed to the other episodes in hope that the writer at least considered the exposure of one thing, anything. Frank should fall, some way or another, he is doing way too much. I hope light shines on all of his darkness. Expand
  7. Feb 10, 2013
    4
    I was really looking forward to this show, but after 10 episodes I'm really wondering if I will bother to finish it. You know what? It's just not clever. That's so disappointing because the original British version was indeed very clever. I've always loved Kevin Spacey, but after 10 episodes I still see the Southern accent as pointlessly pasted on a cheap, student actor kind of trick.I was really looking forward to this show, but after 10 episodes I'm really wondering if I will bother to finish it. You know what? It's just not clever. That's so disappointing because the original British version was indeed very clever. I've always loved Kevin Spacey, but after 10 episodes I still see the Southern accent as pointlessly pasted on a cheap, student actor kind of trick. And that damn little reporter wannabe not sexy, not intelligent, not interesting, I don't get it. But the writing, it's just bad. The dialog is ok, but the plot lines are way too simplistic and canned in 10 episodes I've yet to see anything clever. To the normally great David Fincher: please ignore all the high ratings and learn from this vacuous debacle. You can do better. Expand
  8. Feb 9, 2013
    5
    I wanted to love this series. A dark look at the underbelly of politics? Sounds good to me! Unfortunately, it feels like the show is confused. Plot points are introduced, but there's no tension. Everything goes according to plan for Mr. Underwood, and Ms. Barnes, and its boring. Spacey is great for the role, and watching him knock the cards over is entertaining. But, it's too easy. AndI wanted to love this series. A dark look at the underbelly of politics? Sounds good to me! Unfortunately, it feels like the show is confused. Plot points are introduced, but there's no tension. Everything goes according to plan for Mr. Underwood, and Ms. Barnes, and its boring. Spacey is great for the role, and watching him knock the cards over is entertaining. But, it's too easy. And that's also where his asides fall flat too. He almost gets away with the truisms, and clichés, because he fits that charismatic Southern gentleman role. But, without any struggle, and without offering anything new, the asides just feel...awkward. Simply put, the show's premise is quite interesting, but the illogic of some of the characters, and the ease at which Underwood pulls the strings, leaves the show feeling pretty empty. Expand
  9. Feb 5, 2013
    6
    I can live with the slow pace of the series I'm that person who thinks that
    2001 Space Odyssey is hours too short. The writing is incredible as in incredible linear, but hey, I watched it with a cold, so that's good.
    I can live with the unchanged tone of voice of the whole series it wants to be in it's own world. But what I can't live with is that I didn't make an epic journey. I
    I can live with the slow pace of the series I'm that person who thinks that
    2001 Space Odyssey is hours too short. The writing is incredible as in incredible linear, but hey, I watched it with a cold, so that's good.

    I can live with the unchanged tone of voice of the whole series it wants to be in it's own world. But what I can't live with is that I didn't make an epic journey.

    I wasn't swept away by unexpected twists, because there were none. The makers got 50 mil. and 13 hours to explore the characters and make
    them got from A to B or C, perhaps D, hey why not E? It felt as I was
    commuting from Powerrr Corrupts to Powerr Really Corrupts all the time.
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  10. Feb 6, 2013
    6
    High production values but weak storytelling and no sympathetic characters. Kevin Spacey is an amazing actor but 2 things weigh him down here: 1) mediocre southern accent that blunts his usual sharp delivery 2) the device of his character speaking directly into the camera. The latter is really the killer for me. It's as bad as using voiceover. Worse, actually. Breaks the 4th wall and notHigh production values but weak storytelling and no sympathetic characters. Kevin Spacey is an amazing actor but 2 things weigh him down here: 1) mediocre southern accent that blunts his usual sharp delivery 2) the device of his character speaking directly into the camera. The latter is really the killer for me. It's as bad as using voiceover. Worse, actually. Breaks the 4th wall and not in a good way. Show the story, don't just look at the audience and tell them what's happening! As others have said, the plot machinations are basically cruel revenge schemes perpetrated by one group of corrupt people against other corrupt people. This happens to appeal to my evil misanthrope side a little. But in general there is not much of anyone to care about in this show. Even the archetypal "spunky young reporter" character ruins everything by using her sex appeal to get ahead. Expand
  11. Jul 9, 2013
    5
    A decent series that stars off brilliantly but then somehow slows down to become something that would put a crack addict to sleep (and yes, that is a paraphrase). The first 3 to 4 episodes are beyond amazing. The dialogues are brilliant, the editing better than any series one could think of, and the stunning performances of Spacey, Wright and Mara are able to overcome the challenge ofA decent series that stars off brilliantly but then somehow slows down to become something that would put a crack addict to sleep (and yes, that is a paraphrase). The first 3 to 4 episodes are beyond amazing. The dialogues are brilliant, the editing better than any series one could think of, and the stunning performances of Spacey, Wright and Mara are able to overcome the challenge of their almost unrealistically dark characters. Those episodes are also the ones where viewer will grin with satisfaction as they follow the gloriously Machiavellian schemes of the amoral Francis Underwood. But then, for whatever reason, the story starts to slow down and the implausible plot twist just start piling up. Characters start moving back and forth in their ideas, plans and alliances where in the end, nothing really happens. Its a common technique used in series that need to fill more episodes than the story can hold (Prison Break being a prime example), but House of Cards starts off so well you don't see it coming. Moreover, the editing becomes sloppy, the repetitive conversations make you feel as if you're stuck in a loop and ultimately even the great Francis Underwood gives off the impression of being a bloated fool, something I can't imagine the creators intended him to be.
    House of Cards certainly can't be considered to be a bad series, but its unfortunate that the brilliance of the first episode have to make room for a very average follow up of predictability and emptiness.
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  12. Dec 12, 2014
    6
    This is a show about how unhappy and robotic people can get by loving nothing but power and getting to power through manipulation and intrigues. Every single episode they do the same things over and over again just to get more detached and sophisticated at being cannibals
  13. 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 anAfter 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
  14. 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, andJust 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
  15. Apr 14, 2015
    5
    Quantico summed it up for me: A show where a one-dimensional sociopath repeatedly (and predictably) outsmarts lesser one-dimensional sociopaths. Contrived and ill-informed.
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.