Netflix offers House of Cards preview; will it change TV forever?
Just in case you somehow hadn't gotten enough of politics after the conclusion of a two-year presidential campaign, Netflix has released the first trailer for its new series, House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey as a powerful, spurned Washington D.C. powerbroker at the start of a presidential administration.
But House of Cards may stand for more than Spacey's chance to try on a character who sounds just like his Southern-fried eccentric Jim Williams from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It may also represent a serious game-changer for the TV industry; an on-demand original series outside the world of cable or network TV.
It's not the only series Netflix will debut next year. New episodes of Fox's canceled but critically beloved comedy Arrested Development are also coming, allowing viewers with the right home entertainment technology to see high-quality original series on demand for little less than half the monthly cost of premium cable channel HBO.
It's a peek at the world I always envisioned for television; a universe with no scheduling issues, where series are watched when the viewer chooses. Already, Netflix dipped a toe in that model with Lilyhammer, its series about an American Mobster living in Norway which debuted all its episodes at once.
Got a free afternoon? You could spend it on eight episodes with Little Steven Van Zandt's Frankie Tagliano, or save each nugget for the rare free hour when you've got time to enjoy that quirky blend of Norwegian and American pop culture.
And once viewers get a taste of consuming high-quality series, without commercial interruption at a pace they control, how much patience will they have for the glacial movement on network TV -- where series of varying, often dumbed-down quality are debuted every week, packed with commercials at specific times?
I think we've only seen the smallest tip of the changes this will bring.
For consumers, it's gonna be cool. Network TV executives better buy stock in Pepto Bismol.
Check out the preview below.