Today, a Netflix membership certainly has its privileges. The rental house and streaming service has released to its members the first trailer for House of Cards, the highly-anticipated collaboration between David Fincher and Kevin Spacey, which will be premiering exclusively on Netflix early next year.
Adapted from the BBC TV political drama of the same name, Fincher's House of Cards takes place in Washington, D.C. where Congressman Francis Underwood (Spacey) sets in motion his underhanded plan to wring every ounce of power out of his position that he possibly can. Scripted by Ides of March screenwriter Beau Willimon, the 13-episode series certainly packs quite a punch considering the talent involved, but it may need all of that and more to win over fans of the original 1990 series from writer Andrew Davies and starring Ian Richardson (Dark City, From Hell).
Aside from Spacey, Netflix's House of Cards boasts an impressive cast, which includes Robin Wright, Mahershali Ali (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button), Kristen Connolly (Cabin In The Woods), Michael Kelly (Chronicle), Kate Mara (American Horror Story) and Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris).
In addition to serving as executive producer on the series, Fincher has stepped in to lend his directorial prowess to the first two episodes. Meanwhile, filmmakers James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross) and Joel Schumacher (Falling Down, Batman & Robin) – a name that will certainly turn some heads – have been brought in to handle multiple episodes of the series. In addition, frequent television directors Carl Franklin (Magic City, Falling Skies) and Charles McDougall (The Office) will also be contributing behind the lens.
Read the official synopsis from Netflix below:
"A ruthless Congressman, Francis Underwood, and his ambitious wife Claire, will stop at nothing to conquer everything. This wicked political drama slithers through the back halls of greed, sex, love and corruption in modern D.C."
While there is undoubtedly some excitement related to the cast and creators of the series, the real buzz regarding House of Cards is the untraditional manner in which it will be presented to viewers. Not only will the series not air on any television network – cable or otherwise – but all 13 episodes will be made available to Netflix subscribers on February 1, 2013. Netflix has reportedly poured $100 million dollars into the project, in the hopes the series will generate more demand for the company's original content, and to get viewers hooked on its "binge viewing" model.
According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, "The Netflix brand for TV shows is really all about binge viewing, the ability to get hooked and watch episode after episode. Our release strategy ... is to get [you] hooked rather than get strung out." So, in other words, if House of Cards proves successful, it may herald a new model for the way we view our television series.
You can watch the House of Cards trailer below:
Netflix has been quite vocal in regards to becoming a legitimate outlet for original television programming that is intended to compete primarily with the kind of shows found on pay-cable services like HBO and Showtime. The service's trump card, however, may be the way it steers clear of the standard "weekly installment" model currently used by all television networks. The service previously tried its hand with the original series Lilyhammer, starring Steve Van Zandt (The Sopranos), which appeared on the service earlier this year almost as a test to see how subscribers would respond to an entire season being made available for viewing at their leisure.
The model poses an interesting question: with every episode available at the same time, what will this do to the normal build-up and anticipation in regards to a series' premiere and finale?
At any rate, we will all find out come February.
House of Cards will be available on Netflix starting February 1, 2013.