(NaturalNews) When you think of TV series production studios, you don't normally think "Netflix." But the company has just produced and released a full season of a new political thriller starring Kevin Spacey and called "House of Cards."
Let me cut to the chase: House of Cards is an instant hit. It's smart, fascinating and a quantum leap better than the typical dumbed-down series shows you find on cable TV. When it comes to accolades, the real question is: Where to begin?
The acting is all top notch. Spacey is, of course, a master of the art and plays the role of a deceptive congressman perfectly. Robin Wright (from Forrest Gump fame) plays his wife. She's outstanding for the role: Chiseled, firm, authoritative and yet graceful. Kate Mara pulls off her role as a nosy, manipulative reporter willing to do almost anything to scoop the next big story. Every actor on the show holds their own. Nobody fails.
The writing is absolutely superb. This drama is obviously written by a top-notch team of talented professionals with amazing insight into the machinery of Washington politics. (Beau Willimon is the lead writer.) The storyline is just saturated with raw authenticity, and it exposes the dark side of human nature that most TV and cable networks are hesitant to portray.
Sets and screenplay are both award-winning virtuoso performances. This series looks authentic, feels authentic, and requires no suspension of belief on the part of the viewer. It's as if you're actually watching a real-like political drama unfold while being given a backstage pass into the minds of the players.
House of Cards doesn't preach a political philosophy, thank goodness. It's not a propaganda piece pushing an agenda. The message is far more powerful than that: Everybody's a wheeler-dealer in Washington, regardless of political affiliation. Although the story is told through the eyes of a deceptive Democrat (played by Spacey), it's clear that almost everybody in Washington is willing to cast aside morals and ethics if it moves them higher up the pyramid of power.
There's also a lot of storytelling innovation in this Netflix original series. Kevin Spacey's character, congressman Frank Underwood, breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the camera with surprising frequency. This narrative technique works! It allows us a peer into the mind of a master deceiver, and the contrast between what he says to the people versus what he's thinking (and therefore verbalizing to the camera) is shocking and informative.
Netflix also chose to use text pop-ups on the screen to depict cell phone texts. I've never seen this in a TV drama before, but it's an eloquent solution to the narrative challenge of trying to show cell phone texts without breaking the continuity of the scene. Like everything else in the series, this works, too.
No waiting and no commercials
One of the best things about House of Cards is that you don't have to wade through commercials to watch it. Even better, you don't have to wait week after week for the next episode to come out. The entire first series is already available FOR FREE to all Netflix subscribers (www.Netflix.com), and once you watch episode one, you won't want to stop watching. By the last episode, you'll be begging for season two.
Natural News readers know I'm not a TV junkie. In fact, I don't even subscribe to cable or broadcast television. Netflix is the only video service I use, and this series is proof that Netflix can beat the networks at their own content game.
In fact, I've been scratching my head trying to figure out how Netflix stays in business. Seriously: How does this company stream so many terabytes of video across the internet -- while also paying video owners for usage rights -- all while charging just a few bucks a month? Either they are running at a crazy loss or they've figured out how to deliver terabytes of data for practically nothing.
This House of Cards series, I'm guessing, must have cost at least $50 million to produce, probably more. The investment shows. This series just rocks, even if politics normally bores you to death.
You've got to watch this series. Become a member at www.Netflix.com to see it for yourself.
Why Netflix will continue to beat out Google, Apple and other video streaming wannabes
On the business side, there are legitimate questions about whether Netflix can continue to dominate the video streaming market. The company is relatively short on cash, and earnings have been hammered in the last year. Does Netflix have a bright future?
Here's my answer: Nobody wants to watch video streaming services from Google because Google is the Big Brother of the online world. If you watch videos from a Google service, it will psychology profile the films you watch, cross-reference that with all the text of all your emails on Gmail, and then add in another psych profile layer of what you're searching for on Google.com. The result? A total invasion of your privacy and a spooky surveillance grid that violates the privacy of your mind while turning over that data to the U.S. government. (Can you say "1984?")
Apple has a different problem: It's arrogant and proprietary. If Apple tried to launch a video streaming service like Netflix, it would probably involve swearing an oath to Apple, wearing an Apple cult bracelet and performing full moon Apple animal sacrifices to the Apple gods. Plus, you'll have to log in, agree to the bewildering terms of service, and repeat this process every two weeks when Apple secretly updates its terms of service by adding things like, "You agree to be used as a human experiment in our Human Cent-iPad Project." (South Park reference, FYI.)
Netflix delivers streaming video without the Big Brother surveillance. Netflix doesn't make you join a cult to enjoy their service. And don't even get me started on Amazon's video service, which is a navigation nightmare that's so clunky and frustrating, you actually want to throw your remote at the screen over and over again until something shatters.
For a few bucks a month, Netflix delivers an incredible collection of streaming videos, movies, documentaries -- and now this House of Cards drama -- without making your life difficult in the process. You pay the nine bucks or whatever it is, and you get unlimited video streaming, period.
I hope House of Cards is a successful model that Netflix will expand into other realms. Personally, I'd love to see a really well-done sci-fi series produced by Netflix. The last decent sci-fi series was Battlestar Galactica, and it was well-written and professionally produced, but since that series ended, all us sci-fi fans have been in a programming drought.
If House of Cards becomes enough of an economic success, Netflix will likely green light other original dramas, and we may then see the unleashing of a whole new model for how "TV dramas" get produced and distributed.
Because, let's face it: Commercial television is for the dumbed-down masses whose time is so worthless that they don't mind being interrupted every few minutes with insultingly stupid commercials. The rest of us want quality shows written for a higher IQ audience, and we don't mind paying cash for it. I've always found it fascinating that people would pay for a cable TV service and then sit there and watch commercials. Do they not realize they just PAID for the privilege of being marketed a bunch of crap they don't need?
I won't watch television commercials, period. Any service that comes with commercials gets the boot. Life is too short to waste it away 60 seconds at a time listening to some mega corporation try to install brand viruses in your skull. The only video programming I will watch is the kind that's commercial-free, and that's Netflix.
That's why the name of this series is so funny, by the way: House of Cards. That's the perfect name for the mainstream media, if you ask me. The mainstream media's business model is quickly eroding and will ultimately collapse. Cable TV news is largely a total joke, and outfits like CNN are routinely caught faking and staging their so-called "news."
The advertisers who support mainstream television are all sellout corporations pushing garbage like high-fructose corn syrup soda that's making us all diabetic and obese. Or a brand-name perfume formulated with twenty cancer-causing chemicals. By producing and distribute its own content, Netflix avoids dealing with advertisers altogether, and as a result, its content is smarter, more honest and not subject to advertiser censorship.
Plus, Netflix doesn't have to push a bunch of crap products every few minutes to pay its bills. The viewers pay its bills, and that's a cleaner and more honest business model for streaming video. I love it!
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With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.