Sunday, February 03, 2013

Media: House of Cards

When Crackle did it, we called them out.  Now Netflix has done it as well.

What are we talking about?  Offer a 'series' by dumping it.

house of cards

First let's talk about House of Cards.  It's a remake of a British series which means it will be new to most Americans.  Kevin Spacey stars as US House Rep. Francis Underwood.  Robin Wright plays his wife Claire who's an environmentalist of sorts. And what exactly is House of Cards?

House of Cards pretends it's a political drama and that it has something to say about politics.  The reality is it's George and Martha if the encounter Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? lasted a year and not just an alcohol-soaked night.  Also, unlike George and Martha, Frank and Claire don't just toy with words, they set plots in motion that result in loss of beliefs, loss of love and loss of life.

Claire's supposed to be the more 'noble' of the two and she does toss off twenty to a homeless man outside of her work.  She also reached under the sheet of a man who lays dying in a hospital to grab his cock and she helps Frank get a security member in deep trouble.

There is no nobility with Claire or Frank.  Kristen Connolly plays Christina -- one of the few characters with actual beliefs.  And you root for her and care about Peter Russo (Corey Stoll) mainly because Christina invests so much in him.  First rate performances are to be found throughout the 13 episodes, with the actors already mentioned as well as Constance Zimmer, Mahershala Ali, Sandrine Holt, Kate Mara, Sakina Jaffrey and Michael Kelly.  It's to Spacey's credit that he surrounded himself with a top-notch cast -- something that often threatens big names.

The big spoiler we're going to do here is this: At the end of the 13 episodes, you do not have an ending.  Clearly the plan is for a second season to resolve the issues.

Will anyone want one?

Friday, Netflix elected to dump all 13 episodes of this new series online.

A series isn't a glut or a dump.  A series is something with multiple episodes.

You need some space to allow the episodes to register and, more importantly, get talked up.

We criticized Crackle for this before and were told (by a Crackle-r) that we didn't understand their model, "Our model is to provide everything."


Is that Netflix's motto as well?

Because neither provide everything.

All the movies Netflix or Crackle will show in 2013 are not now up for streaming.  No, they will add some and take away some as the year continues.  Were they to put everything up in January and not change it until next January, they know that by April, they'd see their streaming numbers drop because people would have already grabbed what they could and they would know that there was no point in visiting for anything new until the following year.

So they can kid themselves all they want about having a model, but they don't.

What they have is a problem on their hands.  They're trying to create calling cards but don't have faith that they could build a buzz by doling out an episode weekly.  In other words, their biggest problem is that they don't believe in themselves.

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