I, like millions around the globe I suppose, love House of Cards. I think it is deliciously over the top and Kevin Spacey proves, once again, that he is the premier actor when it comes to playing villains.
A work colleague put me up on the fact that House of Cards is based on a British series of the same name. That same colleague also warned me that the show was badly dated. For a reason I can’t remember, I listened to the fella for a good year and stayed away from the series on Netflix. I only recently relented and let me tell you – fuck that guy.
Let me be clear, I love the US version of House of Cards – it would be difficult to find a bigger fan – but the UK series is a different, darker and, dare I say, smarter affair. It is also kinkier… far kinkier.
The show is a great exemplar of the difference between this country and the USA. Yes, we are very similar to our American cousins – but we have significant differences. Our ways, whether it be dramatic, satirical or comedic, are far more subtle.
I also have to give a lot of love to Ian Richardson, who is just fabulous as the Chief-Whip Francis Urquhart. I’d never heard of him before watching this show – but his performance makes Kevin Spacey – KEVIN ‘Mr Villian’ SPACEY – seem amateur. It is a performance that everyone has to see at least once in their lives.
Again, I love Spacey in the American version, but his character is a satirical, over the top caricature. Richardson’s Urquhart is a darker, more grounded protagonist than Spacey’s, yet he is just as charismatic and charming.
I used to believe that Americans did films and television better than we Brits. I have felt this way for the majority of my life, but only recently have I been persuaded that this argument is a lot more complicated than it appears. We Brits have a wealth of talent and forgotten television gems like House of Cards acts as a reminder of this.