But it’s not the prestige drama it thinks it is
It’s one thing to make a visually striking show. It’s another to make a visually striking show with substance. The House of Cards look might remind you of other cinematic series like Breaking Bad or True Detective -- and make no mistake, Netflix wants you to make those connections -- but this show is using all that low-key lighting as a mask. It’s not like those others shows. It’s a bananas D.C. soap opera wearing a really nice suit, and you can’t have it both ways. Just ask Shonda Rhimes, whose Washington political drama Scandal is arguably a better show, but has never been taken half as seriously because it’s owned the soap label from day one. House of Cards isn’t any more meaningful, despite all the incredibly smug things its creator Beau Willimon has said to the contrary. It’s just got a nice gloss.
So, is it a good show?
I’ve dutifully watched the past three seasons of House of Cards along with everyone else. It would be a little masochistic to devote 39 hours to something I openly loathed -- and the thing is, I don’t hate this show. I’m a sucker for political dramas, and I will never tire of watching Robin Wright being a perfect ice queen. But I’ve had a nagging thought in the back of my head since the first episode that’s been getting louder and louder even as I’ve blearily binged through each new season like a relapsed junkie: This isn’t a good show. It probably never was. And I honestly don’t think I can keep up with it anymore. That might mean missing out on some really exciting new plot twists, but I’m finally ready to take that risk. Call me if anything big happens with Cashew.
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Kristin Hunt is a freelance writer for Thrillist, just poured one out for Peter Russo. Follow her to the Capitol at @kristin_hunt.