The House of Cards Trilogy

It’s high time that I profiled one of the best miniseries on television of all time: the House of Cards trilogy. The three titles — The House of Cards, To Play the King, and Final Cut — total twelve hours, and together constitute one of the most beautiful and up-close views of how power and politics can be deliciously used and abused for personal gain. Get it on Amazon or Bit Torrent.

house-of-cards

The series is focused on Francis Urquhart, who starts the series as the Chief Whip of the Conservative Party in the days after Margaret Thatcher. The character is played by the late Ian Richardson, a veteran Shakespearean stage actor. The character known by his initials of “FU” is both evil and lovable, the true anti-hero who lies, cheats, seduces, terrorizes, defrauds, and murders his way to gain and maintain power. (Ian Richardson’s portrayal of the archetypal Machiavellian politician was so popular with the British public that one of his last performances was reading Machiavelli’s The Prince, which you can buy on Amazon here.) What’s more, he speaks to the audience throughout the series, almost making the audience complicit to his acts, part of a delightful grand conspiracy. What do I mean by that? Check out the opening few minutes of the series below.

It would be criminal to reveal to readers the conclusion of any of the episodes of the trilogy, but needless to say the “bad guy” protagonist survives both in his political career and physical body long enough to provide for a three-part series. In these episodes he faces off against his own party members in a power struggle; the new King and the institution of the monarchy itself; and the men and women of the cabinet who are supposed to be his loyal ministers and honorable friends.

And the series is so delightful that it’s probably the series I’ve seen repeatedly so many times over any other series or movie ever. For those who enjoy raw politics, I can’t recommend the House of Cards trilogy enough.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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6 Responses to The House of Cards Trilogy

  1. feeblemind says:

    I saw this series once on pBS about 1000 yrs ago and it was very good. I liked ‘To play the King’ the best. The ending of ‘Final Cut’ was a tad farfetched for me. Still, the trilogy is well worth viewing.

  2. Curzon says:

    The writing of The Final Cut was actually very controversial among the writers as lots of the people involved (writer, director, producer, etc.) wanted it to end in different ways. I agree that it’s the weakest part of the series, but still lots of fun, especially the first 3 hours.

  3. Alfred Russel Wallace says:

    Indeed a first class romp! I always think of FU when I sip Bruichladdich… one of the milder Islay malts.
    [Bruichladdich is associated with two humorous stories for CA readers - a CIA monitoring operation in case they were making WMDs, and a Royal Navy Yellow Submarine - all accessible via Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruichladdich ]

  4. feeblemind says:

    Re Alfred “I always think of FU…’ I had forgotten to mention that I still think of FU as well. The thing I liked most about FU was his quick wit and ability to debate. In the House of Commons when he would appear to be verbally cornered by his adversaries, he would pause dramatically and then deliver a crushing response. Touche! To this day, when seeing/reading particular debates, FU always springs to mind as I wonder what he would be saying in those circunstances.

  5. Watched it all in two days. Very impressive stuff! Agreed, the final season was a bit weak and far fetched.

  6. A says:

    I downloaded at Curzon’s recommendation. Great series. Though, what is with Ben’s accent? He looks like Donald Trump, and his character is like Rupert Murdoch, but the guy, who I assume is a Brit, sounds like he’s trying to affect a Brooklyn drawl.