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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:27 pm    Post subject: House of Cards Reply with quote

Stop whatever you're doing, get off the internet, get on Netflix and WATCH THIS SHOW.

This blows The Wire and Breaking Bad into the weeds.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my favorite shows. I think it is better than the British version (which is the original). Kevin Spacey is incredible. What an actor.

I believe Season 2 just came out or is coming out soon.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We're rewatching season 1 in prep for 2, so I can't speak for the new stuff, but the first season was excellent. I think Cail's getting a little carried away--there's no way it's better than Breaking Bad. But certainly a lot better than I was expecting for a Netflix original. With this show (not to mention Arrested Development) Netflix is proving itself to be a serious contender in providing original programming. We're witnessing the beginning of an entirely new TV paradigm.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not carried away at all (and we binged our way through season 2 this weekend). BB was certainly not bad (my grave issues with the finale notwithstanding). HoC simply has better writing, better acting, better pacing, far, far better directing, and a far more intricate story.

I have never been a Kevin Spacey fan, but his performance is spectacular. Similarly, Corey Stoll (Peter) is amazing.


It's thrilling watching the bar raised every couple of years in television.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure I'd agree with better writing/acting/directing. Sure Kevin Spacey is great, but I'd put Bryan Cranstan right up there with him. In fact, his range is much greater in Breaking Bad than Spacey's one-note character here (more on that in regards to plot below). As far as directing goes, HoC is good, but I definitely like the look of Breaking Bad better. I can't stand muted colors, or the artificially yellow/green/blue that so many modern movies and shows have used in the last decade and half. House of Cards isn't as bad in this respect as some, but it does have that artificial color thing going on. (Yeah, directing is much more than color grading, but it's still his choice.)

Now, the pacing is quicker in HoC, but I'm not sure that's better. It fits that particular story better, perhaps. And because it crams more into its timeframe, it may give the appearance of a more intricate plot. But I think Breaking Bad's plot was just as intricate. It's easy to conflate Underwood's machinations with the actual plot of the story. The story is pretty simple: a bastard politician manipulates everyone around him to get revenge for being overlooked as Secretary of State. While Underwood has lots of sneaky plans, Walter White's own machinations as he rises from a bumbling meth cook to a drug kingpin are quite complex, too. The way he manipulates his wife, Hank, Jessie, the local and regional criminals, is comparable even it's if not the entire focus, and takes longer to develop.

However--and this is my main point of contention--the reason HoC has more room for schemes is because it has absolutely no character development (except for perhaps Russo). Underwood is a bastard from the beginning, and doesn't exhibit any change whatsoever from the beginning of season 1 to its end (I still haven't watched season 2). And everyone around Underwood are just lessor copies of him: everyone manipulating everyone else in order to scheme for their personal goals or power. Walter White, on the other hand, went on an epic journey, a complete transformation. And in the process, he deeply transformed everyone else around him.

In my opinion, that's better writing. Granted, we can't judge HoC in these terms until it's over (a point that goes both ways, positive/negative), but there's no indication in season 1 that Underwood is on a journey of self-transformation, as it was apparent for Walter. He's not even likeable, really. There's no reason to sympathize with him, even as we "root" for him. He's a lying manipulative bastard from the beginning, and even worse by the end.

Hopefully, season 2 will deepen this show. But for now, it's just a political soap opera--a very interesting one, but not a very deep one ... or believable. I can believe that getting cancer can change a man's outlook, pushing him over an edge that he's been walking ever since being screwed out of billions. But I can't believe that any politician is as effective a manipulator as Underwood. They wish they were that good. Laughing

I'll update my opinion after S2 next week.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair points about character development. I think you'll see a bit more depth with Season 2. BB's major failing to me was the increasing unbelievability of the story as it progressed. The thing that attracts me to HoC is the fact that this stuff is actually happening right now, and has happened before.

Maybe it's because I'm more interested in politics than meth dealing. I dunno.

I also love the look of the show, but again I think that's due to my appreciation of David Fincher's style.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's next in line for my viewing, based primarily on people from work going on about it. And speaking of Netflix original programming, I've been enjoying Orange Is The New Black.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HoC is great! We're re-watching in preparation for Season 2. I agree that Spacey is great, but don't leave Robin Wright out - I didn't know she was capable of such fine acting, having only really seen her in Forrest Gump. She's every bit as evil as Frank, perhaps more so.

Nothing beats seasons 1 & 3 of The Wire or both seasons of Rome for sheer awesomeness.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wright kills in Season 2.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Titus Pullo wore a guido medallion.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
She's every bit as evil as Frank, perhaps more so.

In my opinion, Claire Underwood is an infinitely better person than her husband. Sure, she plays political games, but this is only a means to an end, not the entire point. She doesn't seem to want political power for its own sake, but instead for what it can do for her charity. She truly wants to do some good in the world, to actually help people, and she has merely tied her fortunes to Frank because he offers her the best chance of doing so. Though it wasn't apparent at first--because she's such a good CEO--she genuinely grieved for having to fire half her staff. She was outraged at Frank for making her choose between taking Sancorp money (which would have allowed her to hire them back), and doing what's best for Frank's political career ... even though she has no problem using his power and career to help her.

She also resisted having an affair until Frank screwed her over ... even though this is clearly an open marriage. And I believe it's because the affair wouldn't have been casual or for power--like Frank's affair--but because she actually loved the photographer guy. So it really *was* cheating, despite the open marriage, because it was real and not just for sex.

She genuinely cares about people, even if they offer her nothing in terms of how she can use them. She'll give money to the homeless, avoid jogging in a graveyard out of respect, and even seemed genuinely sympathetic to Russo's kids (while Frank despised them). Frank won't lift a finger for anyone unless he sees an advantage.

In my opinion, we're going to see Warden Dios vs Holt Fasner relationship develop between this married couple. She'll be the only one able to take him down, but to do so she'll have to ride with him to the top.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Z, did you miss the episode where Claire visited the dying man in his hospital room? Her reaction to his confession of love stunned me, and convinced me of her true nature.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was a shocking scene, but I thought it was more a reaction of how insulting it was for this man to use his dying breaths to come onto a married woman that he wouldn't have the balls to approach while healthy, i.e. when it would have been riskier for him. He doesn't have anything to lose now (he thinks), and besides ... who would dare hurt a dying man's feelings? It's as if he thought his imminent death insulated him from normal protocol, and trumped the fact that she was WAY out of his league. He was using his own weakness to appeal to her, when she was only interested in strength. So when she called his bluff, explaining to him why he was the exact opposite of her type, and yet giving him what he "wanted" anyway, she showed him that he didn't really want her pity. She shamed into seeing the truth of what he was doing.

To me, she came across as more offended than merely cruel and arrogant.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You guys really need to watch Season 2.......
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've heard from several people now that season 2 is awesome. I guess it gets better as it goes on? We're about 4 episodes in (Claire just had her interview and revealed the thing about the general), and it's kind of boring compared to season 1. However, I do like that the slow down allows more character development. I like the lady that replaces Underwood as Whip. The fact that she has a different "management" style is cool. But the quarantine was a time waster. Underwood's looks to the camera are starting to come too frequently; they're distracting. Zoe's fate was a huge letdown; it should have been Rachael. The guinea-pig-stroking cyberfreak is just silly. The reporter guy is a moron. He didn't realize that the cyberfreak had already hacked into the system prior to giving him the newspaper's firewall info? The porn spam and Zoe's picture didn't clue him in? I can understand not being tech-savvy, but that's not being logic-savvy.

But we'll hang in there until the end. I trust that it will be thrilling and shocking.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just started watching the British series this is based on. If Spacey's 4th wall breaches annoy you, the Brit series will drive you nuts.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the 1st season the technique seemed more like first-person narration, as if he was speaking to himself more than us. I liked it because it was like a glimpse into his own inner dialog. But now it feels like he's talking directly to us.

Maybe that's intentional, as a way to escalate the effect over seasons.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hate to say it, but I was disappointed with season 2. Season 1 was much better.

After Claire's crying fit, I'm still holding out that she will be the one to bring Underwood down in a later season. She's the only one who seems to have a conscience and a heart in this entire show.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen the first 2 episodes and started the 3rd of Season 2. I scrolled down to the bottom of this thread to avoid spoilers.

Spoiler:
Absolutely stunned by Zoe's death. Didn't see that coming at all.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, that was stunning. And also disappointing, given that we lost a great character. Also, a source of narrative tension is gone. But perhaps it had to be, in order to move on to bigger and better things. Still, it seemed out of place. It didn't have the narrative momentum behind it like what happened to Russo.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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