House of Cards (2013) : Season 1

  • Network: Netflix
  • Series Premiere Date: Feb 1, 2013
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 1080 Ratings

User score distribution:

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User Reviews

  1. 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 aCongressman 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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  2. 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 anyGreat 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
  3. 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 KevinIf 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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  4. 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.
  5. 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.
    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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  6. 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.
  7. 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, inYou 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
  8. 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 butPolitics, 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
  9. 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 aAmazing 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
  10. Dec 13, 2015
    10
    Nothing more to add to what has been already written on this pages. Masterpiece, I loved the show from the beginning to the end. " A "MUST WATCH TV SERIES".
  11. Jan 27, 2015
    9
    Loved this series! I think the show alone is why most of America dislikes congress and is unhappy with the government. Kevin Spacey is amazing, he pulls off the coldest character ever. The goal is simple for Frank Underwood yet the path he takes to it is exciting but also funny. As a student learning about how the government works, I would suggest this to anyone with an understanding of the US.
  12. Sep 6, 2014
    10
    Amazing! 10/10. First 5 minutes of the very first episode and you're already hooked. After a week... I already saw the whole 2 seasons. Definitely worth the Netflix month. Brilliant acting from Kevin Spacey and the plot twists are very very unexpected especially some scenes in the few final episodes on Season 2.
  13. Oct 10, 2014
    9
    I really liked Season 1 but i thought Season 2 delivered so much more. I like sex on television as much as the next 29 year old, but I felt season 2 offered more depth. The ending of season 2 in which Kevin Spacey cavalierly raps the desk was so classic.
  14. Mar 1, 2015
    9
    This might be the shade of politics, not democracy. It might be worse in the real world. hence, I don't like politics.
    The movie shows how it works with some black humor.
    It's just necessary evil.
  15. Dec 3, 2014
    10
    Kevin Spacey made this TV-show great.
    This has some of the best and realistic acting there has been in tv-shows.
    I don't know anything about the American government,
    but this show really showed me some great things in it.
    Good job to the producers and keep up the good work.
  16. Dec 11, 2014
    9
    'Let the butchering begin!'
    Academy award winner Kevin Spacey stars in a truly gripping American political drama. It details his character's, Frank Underwood's Machiavellian machinations to climb the treacherous mountain to power. Full of charm, wit, humour and of course conniving office politics, Underwood's character narrates the plot while staring at the audience in a highly original
    'Let the butchering begin!'
    Academy award winner Kevin Spacey stars in a truly gripping American political drama. It details his character's, Frank Underwood's Machiavellian machinations to climb the treacherous mountain to power. Full of charm, wit, humour and of course conniving office politics, Underwood's character narrates the plot while staring at the audience in a highly original film technique.
    The soundtrack is first class, the plot, simple but varied and at times utterly compelling . The variety of supporting characters and acting is top notch, especially from Claire Underwood and Remy Danton who add spice to an already thrilling story.
    If there were any flaws in the series, and I really would be nit-picking, it would be the following:
    -No character seems to be any match for Frank Underwood and in a largely credible series, it is difficult to believe that he could proceed without any vigorous checks and balances.
    -The setting is occasionally too centred on the White House.
    -This is a rare criticism from me, but occasionally there is too much happening in terms of the plot and drama, and I feel like the story and detail could be fleshed out a little more (flashbacks, different opinions, street level discussions etc)
    -More slang and Argot could be used as the language is occasionally too formal and contrived.

    Overall, a fantastic series. Can't wait for Season 3.
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  17. Jan 2, 2015
    10
    The arcing story of House of Cards flows very well. It's a very fluid, organic tale, one fueled by all the Washington turmoil but solidified by some excellent performances. The program works as well as it does largely because it's infinitely believable; there's not a sight, sound, or syllable that feels manipulated or in any way something other than plausible at worst and realistic atThe arcing story of House of Cards flows very well. It's a very fluid, organic tale, one fueled by all the Washington turmoil but solidified by some excellent performances. The program works as well as it does largely because it's infinitely believable; there's not a sight, sound, or syllable that feels manipulated or in any way something other than plausible at worst and realistic at best. The series travels through moral darkness with a strikingly believable rhythm to every step, offset by an almost gleeful cast of main characters who find a perverse pleasure in not just working the system, but taking advantage of it and using their own political skill to alter the landscape in their favor. Every character is in some way flawed -- spiteful, manipulative, dishonest, addicted, naive, oblivious -- and the program skillfully uses each and every one of those to fuel the drama and constantly shift the landscape for better or for worse, and usually the latter even if, on the individual level, it's for the former. Just as important, the production design proves top-notch in every scene; whether the Oval Office or a run-down apartment, whether a back alley rib shack or a shindig where all of the elite rub elbows with one another, House of Cards exudes a very real sense of location authenticity that will leave viewers believing it's all real or, at the very least, filmed on-location. Expand
  18. Mar 4, 2015
    10
    A brilliantly written political thriller. I've watched all three seasons and they are all equally amazing. Intrigue, lies, murder and sickness are plaguing lives of these equally bad and corrupted couple. Watch Frank and Claire Underwood on their ruthless rise to power. Highly recommended!
  19. Jan 10, 2015
    10
    an awesome drama showing the ugliness of politics
    kevin spacey is like The One for FRANK UNDERWOOD
    so thrilled to get the chance to see the series
    kate mara gives it a freshness an makes it more exciting with her realistic acting
  20. Sep 13, 2015
    10
    Brilliant TV series from start to finish. You have to wonder which president they are taking inspiration from - they do seem to remind me of an ex-President and first lady that we have seen before......
  21. Jun 6, 2015
    9
    It's been a while since I really got sucked into a high quality low-sex and gore TV series such as this. This series very convincingly reveals the underbelly of US politics or perhaps politics in general. Kevin Spacey plays Frank Underwood, master of machiavellianism and equally brilliantly played by Robin Wright is the ice-queen/slow burning Clare Underwood. The episodes are bothIt's been a while since I really got sucked into a high quality low-sex and gore TV series such as this. This series very convincingly reveals the underbelly of US politics or perhaps politics in general. Kevin Spacey plays Frank Underwood, master of machiavellianism and equally brilliantly played by Robin Wright is the ice-queen/slow burning Clare Underwood. The episodes are both interconnected and self-contained which gives the viewer a sense of satisfaction that is often missing in more cliffhanger-type series.
    Season 1 shows Franks seedy and cynical manipulations as a resentful and callous whip and has more of a soap-type feel with its interacting characters. Season two focuses on Underwoods steely determination to get to the top at any cost. Season three gets interesting when Underwood as president unhappily discovers that power alone does not guarantee his place at the top.
    This is not a series for teens, nor for those who don't wish to think seriously about the nature of power and leadership. It has little humor, a sprinkling of action and the scenery is neither breathtaking nor dramatic. It is, however brilliantly acted (the casting is simply fantastic) and gives us a fly-on-the -wall view of a world we only know from the outside.
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  22. Mar 6, 2015
    9
    A great show with a lot of potential. Offers a great first season. The Underwoods are incredibly fun to watch even if it is a guilty pleasure. Watching them tact their way with deception and manipulation through DC is an absolute pleasure.
  23. Mar 14, 2015
    10
    Absolutely amazing show. Every season and episode is like a book you can't put down. I'm always angry when I've finished the season and have to wait for the next.
  24. Sep 4, 2015
    9
    All around a great story drama. Kevin Spacey is great in his role as a Congressman working the system to become President. But the show is not only politics, it accounts for the relations of the characters outside of work. Great show, recommend to any Netflix user.
  25. Jan 9, 2016
    10
    This is one of my absolutely favourite seasons of all times since I'm interestedin politics and shows that is about the reality. What I love most is that there's so much happening at once and nothing being dragged out on. And the cast are amazing!
  26. Nov 7, 2015
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. When people talk about binge watching a TV show for several hours on Netflix, it all started with House of Cards. One of the best political dramas that will get you hooked all thanks to Kevin Spacey's soliloquy in the first episode and you will be hooked for several more episodes before coming back to reality. Expand
  27. Mar 18, 2016
    9
    Seasons 1 & 2 are some of my favorite television I've ever watched. While seasons 3 & 4 have the same feel and production quality, something is off in my opinion. The acting is still first-class, but for some reason the story lines do not resonate with me as much. Regardless, Frank Underwood is one of the best "bad guys" that you'll somehow catch yourself continually rooting for. This isSeasons 1 & 2 are some of my favorite television I've ever watched. While seasons 3 & 4 have the same feel and production quality, something is off in my opinion. The acting is still first-class, but for some reason the story lines do not resonate with me as much. Regardless, Frank Underwood is one of the best "bad guys" that you'll somehow catch yourself continually rooting for. This is an amazing look at politics...maybe a super-dark version of the West Wing. This may be the show that invented the concept of binge watching, and for good reason. Expand
  28. Mar 30, 2016
    8
    Actually the first 60 minute format show I enjoyed watching. Still the show needs some time to pick up the right pace and tone IMO. Spacey is spot on for the role he is playing and the supporting cast is stronger than in most TV shows.
  29. Mar 31, 2016
    8
    This show. Is sometimes hard to watch but for the right reasons. The show pushes the envelope on my belief system and makes me consider what people are capable of when they seek power. I know the show is fiction but it is very realistic in its approach to things and it shows the darkness that can be in people.
  30. Mar 31, 2016
    9
    There just aren't enough superlatives in the thesaurus to do proper justice to this series. Kevin Spacey is pitch perfect..sly, shrewd, smart, scheming and murderously ambitious..married to the perfect mate, and served by the cold blooded mendacity of his assistant(s). Once you've seen this series you will never see a political story on the news again without thinking of House of Cards.There just aren't enough superlatives in the thesaurus to do proper justice to this series. Kevin Spacey is pitch perfect..sly, shrewd, smart, scheming and murderously ambitious..married to the perfect mate, and served by the cold blooded mendacity of his assistant(s). Once you've seen this series you will never see a political story on the news again without thinking of House of Cards. To say anymore risks spoiling the surprises. Just turn it on, sit back, and try to remember its fiction! Expand
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.