Monday, April 22, 2013

Netflix Breaks The Mold With Original Series ‘House of Cards’ - By Alexis George

Guest Blogger: Alexis George

There is nothing wrong with your Netflix account. Do not attempt to adjust
the monitor. Netflix is controlling transmission. If they wish to release an exclusive
thirteen episode series straight to their website, they will do it. If they wish to stir
up the format, they will release all thirteen episodes at once.

‘House of Cards’ is a political drama directed by David Fincher that finds its
origins in the 1990’s British political thriller of the same name. It stars Kevin Spacey
as the 2013 Republican Majority Whip Frank Underwood. Stark, clever and
emphatically compelling, Rep. Underwood propels the thriller forward into a plot of
deceit and cutthroat politics.

Funny that the show’s first episode begins with Underwood being denied the
position of Secretary of State and subsequently inspired to bring the entire
organization down with him. The show aired on February 1st, the same week in
which Senator John Kerry was to be confirmed in the position of Secretary of State.
The program follows Spacey’s recent world tour in the starring role of Richard III,
directed by Sam Mendes. The role cast him in a similarly devious light, and much
like in Richard, Spacey’s Underwood speaks to the audience directly regarding his

Alongside Spacey, ‘House’ stars Robin Wright, Kate Mara, and is developed by Beau
Willmon. To the audiences that enjoyed the cutting dialogue of ‘The Newsroom’, or
feel the occasional passing reminiscence of ‘The West Wing’, take note.

Netflix’s direct digital subscription is already notorious for killing video
rental industry. More than a few Netflix subscribers might admit to a late night
binge marathon of ‘The Next Generation’ or ‘Supernatural’. Don’t think Netflix, Inc.
hasn’t taken notice. In releasing all 13 episodes at once, the company has taken an
alternative approach to appealing to their audiences. By providing direct online
access to every episode, Netflix users can avoid waiting a week between episodes
and potentially losing interest in the show. Because the show does not have a
broadcasting time to conform to, future shows may not be limited by run time. Users
who don’t have cable can be caught up on shows without having to resort to
torrenting. This ‘watch-at-your-own-pace’ approach has propelled a viral campaign
of discussion. Fans on twitter and facebook post their progress with episodes, and
most of the feedback on the distribution choice has been wholly positive.

Whether or not ‘House’ stands up critically in the following weeks, Netflix has once
more found itself the fortunate subject of distributive discussion, and perhaps the
progenitor of a new format.

Let’s hope BBC catches on to this system in time to release all of Sherlock season 3
at once… to make up for the year of hiatus. That seems only fair.

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