Wednesday, 13 February 2013

You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment.

House of Cards
I'm enjoying the American rework of House of Cards at the moment and have been pleasantly surprised. I did enjoy the original British series years ago and it's on my vague list of things to watch again.

The new version has Kevin Spacey in the Francis Urquhart, Chief Whip character which was spectacularly played by Ian Richardson in the original. The new Francis still talks to camera right from the start and despite the transfer from Whitehall to Washington, some of the understated one-liners seem to survive the transition.

Although I can remember the general plot-line, I can't remember the detail in the way that I can for, say, The Killing, Dragon tattoo or Let the Right One In, each of which received a US-makeover but remained too similar to the European versions.

The House of Cards seems to have embraced the alternative US version of politics and an American and quite cinematic angle plays well to this British eye. We also get a few modernisation updates along the lines of State of Play (which was also a UK-tv show made into a good Russell Crowe movie).

So in House of Cards we get banter about blogs and the end of 20th Century-style journalism. I think the original was made in 1990, so the inkies would still have had more of a role than they do nowadays. I know some of the repositioning could be considered formulaic writing, but on the other hand it helps balance out the original storyline.

Kevin Spacey plays a wily South Carolina Democrat House Whip named Francis Underwood, although the euro-Francis drifts to a more US-friendly Frank throughout this version. I wonder if Spacey's time as an arty Londoner on the South Bank a few minutes walk from the Globe will influence this version? The unruly politics of Shakespeare's Richard III and the conniving of the Scottish play are references in the original House of Cards.

Apparently it's currently only available on Netflix. I'm told it's already their most successful series and they've decided to let the full Pilot Episode be viewed without a subscription.

Now why would that be???

You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment.


OldLady Of The Hills said...

Good Question! Why, indeed??I haven't seen this new Americanized Version---I remember the very spectacular Original British series quite well, including the references to Shakespeare and "Richard" AND the Scottish Play....I look forward to seeing this new version, though I'm not a Netflix "streaming" member---just a DVD member.(Maybe it will be available to me, too--I'm hoping it will be sent to me as an Emmy voter...)
Personally, I cannot imagine this version being better or even as good as the original, but I hope I am wrong.

Ellie said...

Hurray. A new series to watch! (actually 2 since I missed the original). I am gagging for the latest Killing series (Danish version) ... dont think iTunes will get it any time soon though.

rashbre said...

Naomi I'm only on episode 3, but I'm finding it quite good. There's some different aspects to it and understandably, the scenes around Washington are pretty epic.

I've just watched a section where Spacey is supposed to be in a big meeting but is elsewhere sorting out something else and teleconferenced in. I can so recognise the types of scene (which wouldn't have been possible in the old series).

Yes. Enjoyable!

Ellie : not forgetting Weeds and Breaking Bad. K3 is on DVD in UK btw.