When television shows debut in January or February, they are known as mid-season replacements. They used to be shows that were "crap shoots" for networks. These shows usually had half-season orders, meaning the networks were only responsible for 10-12 episodes instead of the 22-24 episodes in a season. If they did well, you order more for the fall, if they failed, no big deal.
But the TV landscape changed. It began with cable networks premiering new shows any time. HBO started doing short seasons of shows with very high production values and gritty stories. Then the big 3 networks started doing the same... in their own way, followed by cable nets upping the ante even more. As you can see,in the last decade, TV has evolved. We do have a lot of great television to watch.
It seems Netflix has taken the next step in the television evolution. "House of Cards" is a Netflix exclusive. A one hundred million dollar gamble to get new subscribers, and have all of those in the Netflix universe change the way they watch television. Not only can you watch "House of Cards" anytime, all the episodes have been posted, so you make this series fit your schedule. It is the convenience of the DVR, without worrying about taking up hard drive space.
But can this upstart production deliver on this gamble? It appears the answer is "yes".
With Kevin Spacey,Robin Wright starring and David Fincher directing, reviews have been very positive about the first 2 episodes. And everyone has been talking about the high production value of the show.
HOUSE OF CARDS IS MORE LIKE A THIRTEEN-PART MOVIE THAN EPISODIC TV. - The Verge
And it practically reeks of money well-spent: Outside of a repeat of Planet Earth, this may be the most gorgeous piece of television you see all year. - USA Today
But pretty pictures are not the only thing to drive viewership. You got to have a good story to get people to continue hitting that "next episode" button.
I should say that all 13 episodes are available as of today but that I’m basing this review on the first two that Netflix made available to critics. You can bet I’ll be consuming the rest as soon as I can. - Entertainment Weekly
Now several questions come to mind with this venture. Can Netflix continue feeding the television viewer? After these 13 episodes, what is next? Television viewer consumption is a ravenous beast. You watch all 13 episodes in two weeks, you are right back to the same old Netflix streaming. The next show up for Netflix, is the revival of one of my favorites, "Arrested Development" coming in May.
Is this worth $8.99 a month?
Time will tell if this is the next step in television viewing, or a mid season replacement that doesn't get picked up in the fall. Tell us, is the show any good? Will you subscribe to Netflix just to watch? Also, how long did it take you to watch all 13 episodes?