“House of Cards” debuted its entire fourth season on Netflix on Friday. Will it be an Emmy winner? The show has been nominated for Best Drama Series every year of its run so far, but it has yet to prevail in that top race.
“Cards” has won six Emmys to date out of 33 total nominations: for its casting, cinematography and directing in 2013; sound mixing in 2014; and music composition and guest actor Reg E. Cathey in 2015. But it lost Best Drama Series twice to “Breaking Bad” (2013-2014) and then once to “Game of Thrones” (2015), which won more awards at that event (12) than any other series ever has in a single year.
Will “House of Cards” overtake HBO’s blockbuster epic this time around? Consider the reviews:
Verne Gay (Newsday): “Foremost, the fourth season is a much deeper study of Claire — her early years in the Texas hill country, when the tea was ice cold and the landed gentry was as well. [Ellen Burstyn] as her mother is flawlessly cast: Almost but not quite an Amanda Wingfield from ‘The Glass Menagerie’ who drifts through an empty house with only ghosts as companions, you see into Claire’s heart through her mother. The view is fleeting, like a fast cut, but it also humanizes her, and enriches her as a character. The fourth season, or at least the first six episodes, belong to Claire.”
Jeff Jensen (Entertainment Weekly): “Kevin Spacey, that wicked walking wink, remains a spellbinding hoot as Frank. But more than ever, it’s the First Lady – and Robin Wright — who rules this term. Her story resonates with issues of gender, race, and power, bringing in a trio of actresses who provide a sparky jolt. Last seen leaving Frank, Claire sets up in a different white house, the ghostly family homestead in Texas occupied by her hermetic, ailing mother (Ellen Burstyn), Elizabeth. Their conflict not only echoes Claire’s relationship with Frank but helps to explain it. Watching her cruelly impose her will on her mother – catharsis for the powerlessness she feels with Frank — is heartbreaking.”
Katy Waldman (Slate): “The new episodes — sordid little dopamine bursts, each as gratifying and wrong as a dirty campaign contribution — feature some delicious writing, parceled out in typically sharp one-liners and asides … The lines that stick, though, aren’t quips but moments of honesty: Amid all the lies, a character’s decision to speak the truth can feel revelatory, as can the outlandish context in which a universal human experience surfaces.”
Brian Lowry (Variety): “‘House of Cards’ remains eminently watchable, in large part a testimonial to the splendid casting, from Spacey and Wright on down. This season, that includes classing up the joint with Neve Campbell as a new political operative, Ellen Burstyn as Claire’s mother and Cicely Tyson as a venerable congresswoman. (Joel Kinnaman, another big-name addition, isn’t in the episodes previewed.) Given the role ‘House of Cards’ has played in Netflix’s extraordinary rise as a provider of original series, the show’s place in history is secure.”
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Photo credits: “House of Cards” by Netflix