Wednesday, February 22, 2017

House of Cards (UK TV Series) Season 1 Review

 Like many I noticed Netflix's House of Cards TV series with Kevin Spacey a few years ago. I liked the series so far and I had almost waited to see this British TV series on which the American show is heavily based on. I didn't want to it spoil the ending in some way, but I don't really like how they kind of seem to be stretching things about in the American incarnation. I heard the British TV series is better in ways, and it's actually quite short. What the American House of Cards got done in about 26 episodes only took four in the British TV series. It's actually based on a novel of the same name by Michael Dobbs who actually served under Margaret Thatcher in the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP.
It's set in the early 1990's as the ruling Conservative Party in Great Britain has the big question on who to replace Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister. Most watch on as big names in the cabinet are the front-runners. The Conservative Party goes for the "safe" choice with Henry Collingridge as he becomes the new Prime Minister. Chief Whip Francis Urquhart looks on but pledges loyalty to the new Prime Minister nevertheless. Francis Urquhart is a no nonsense Tory who's ultimate goal is to see his party stay in power. The Conservatives have been in power too long and could very well see changes. Francis Urquhart begs the new Prime Minister to consider a shuffle of new cabinet ministers which also includes himself getting a new role. Collingridge refuses and Urquhart remains Chief Whip. 
Francis Urquhart feels utterly snubbed and quite furious at his new Prime Minister. To everyone (including the new Prime Minister) who is a loyal Conservative who out to make sure the new Prime Minister stays in power. However Urquhart plots revenge, which will ultimately lead to him possibly being Prime Minister instead. He plots against him in secret hoping to have his position become unstable. When Collingridge begs for help, Urquhart is there to "make sure" the real culprit is found so they can be ousted from party ranks. But toppling such a man is no easy task, and Francis Urquhart may have to resort to some very dark things to achieve his goal. 
Overall I'll say that the original House of Cards TV show kind of let me down. Part of it is that I kind of knew what was going to happen. Some people let secrets out and the show mirrors the American one in many ways. I think I was disappointed most by how not-so-evil Francis Urquhart is here. The American version with Frank Underwood had some pretty dark stuff, but Urquhart only crosses the line very late on in. But he still seems kind of a nice fellow that you can have a "cup of tea" with, Frank Underwood is certainly more evil when it comes to the role of anti-hero. There's still two more seasons to watch so I hope to see a bit of a darker tone.

Score: B


  1. Very interesting. I think this covers why I really haven't had any desire to see the original. Yeah, the American version stretches things out a bit, but Kevin Spacey is incredible, and I love just how evil Frank Underwood can be, and what he's willing to do to achieve his goals. It makes for a great story.

  2. I haven't seen the one on Netflix yet, but it's in my recommendations so I should probably check it out. I didn't know there's a British version too! Seems interesting :)

  3. I've heard good things about the original series. I may have to check it out because I love the new one with Kevin Spacey!

  4. American TV rarely understands that "less is more" the way the Brits do.

  5. I've watched the American version but didn't even know there was a British one. I will check it out. I usually really like British shows.

  6. When it comes to mini-series the Brits are so far in front of their
    American copiers it is laughable.
    And with "Turnip Top" now in charge and advocating suppression of the
    press and removing US information on Climate change for information sites, I wonder when the followers of Herr Turnip Top will be standing with outstretched arms and screaming "Heil Mein Fuhrer".

    I'd love to be a 'fly on the wall" when the new Secretary of State meets the competent Mexican President today in Mexico. Maybe the Mexicans will "cage" him - ha ha!
    They might even go so far as to have a few walls for him to clamber over?????

    1. Ooops - should read "...Climate change FROM information" sites.

  7. I was a huge fan of this series and would have given it an A.