Unfortunately, most telly watchers who reside in the U.S. today know House of Cards as the more recent, critically acclaimed, Emmy-nominated, Netflix original series. Good as it was in season one, I’m still over-the-top more of a fan of the 1990 political thriller by the BBC which was set after the end of Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The original story was adapted by Andrew Davies (Bleak House, Mr. Selfridge, War & Peace) from a novel written by Michael Dobbs who was a former Chief of Staff at Conservative Party headquarters. You be the judge…
1990 House of Cards with Ian Richardson
Francis Urquhart, the fictional Chief Whip of the Conservative Party, played by Ian Richardson, lacks, shall we say, some of the traditional heroic qualities that would be expected of a leading character in a drama. The plot follows his amoral and manipulative scheme to become leader of the governing party following the resignation of Margaret Thatcher which leads the way to becoming the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
2013 House of Cards with Kevin Spacey
Season 1 of the 2013 Netflix adaptation is set in present day Washington, D.C. and begins to tell the story of Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, a Democrat from South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District and House Majority Whip who, after getting passed over for appointment as Secretary of State, decides to exact his revenge on those who betrayed him.
Netflix just announced that season two of the 2013 reboot will premiere on Friday, February 14, 2014. Nothing screams Valentines Day like a series that involves scheming, deception and cheating. Here’s a just released really cool film noir-style promo for season 2, coming in February 2014.
The original BBC version will return to public television stations nationwide beginning in February. Might be a great time for those that only remember the original to check out the new one and vice versa. Would love to know what you think. While I will continue to believe the original BBC version will forever be superior, what makes them both worth your telly time is that they examine the issues of power, ambition and corruption to the nth degree.