1) Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood
Monstrously ambitious and cruel, Kevin Spacey surpasses himself as Frank Underwood. It’s a clichè but one cannot help but love to hate the most powerful man in Congress (or so he likes to think). The audience are almost too involved at times as Spacey constantly breaks the fourth wall and addresses the camera. Frank murders, manipulates and schemes his way into the very heart of US politics and, despite his methods, we want him to succeed.
2) Powerful Women
In reality, politics remains a male dominated arena but House of Cards, similarly to Homeland and The Good Wife, presents the political ambitions of women both in the White House and behind the scenes. Frank is hardly chivalrous and mercilessly uses his female acquaintances as he does his male counterparts.
3) Frank and Claire Underwood – The perfect marriage?
Claire is the only person Frank truly cares about but their relationship is not based on love or affection. Their ambition and mutual desire for power ensures their partnership is equal and quite unlike anything you’ll see on other shows.
4) So cynical you have to laugh
Murder and corruption tend not to be amusing topics, but they are dealt with so casually that you cannot help but laugh, in shock, at how truly mercenary the characters are. With a major death occurring in the first episode of season 2, there are plenty of opportunities to be sickeningly amused.
5) The Pleasures (and dangers) of ‘Binge-Viewing’
It may not be the best idea, especially at this time of year with dissertation deadlines and the prospect of revision looming, to begin watching House of Cards. It’d be much less dangerous, degree wise, if it was on weekly, however as both complete seasons are available on Netflix there’s the distinct possibility you may struggle to tear yourself away. If you do devour both series in less than a week, you are left bereft at the prospect of having to wait another year (if not longer due to delayed production) for a third season.