Good reads, links, reviews, and thoughts on Season 2 of House of Cards

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When we last saw South Carolina Congressman Francis Underwood on Netflix’s “House of Cards,” he was being offered an appointment to the vice presidency of the United States.

How much trouble can that cause?

Given what Underwood did in the first season of the show, probably more than anybody anticipates. Don’t expect him to be the glad-handing, funeral-attending type of VP; Underwood is more likely to be holding a knife or two, the better to stab people in the back — or, if it’s necessary, in the front.

“House of Cards,” which helped establish Netflix as an original programmer — rather than those folks who send you DVDs in red envelopes — returned Friday for its second season. Like the first, it will be available for download all at once, which may mean that a lot of Valentine’s Day dinners grow cold while fans binge on watching 13 straight episodes.

The following are some interesting reads and live-blogging notes about Season 2 of House of Cards. I’ll be updating this site throughout the weekend.

How awesome is this tweet: @BarackObama: Tomorrow: @HouseOfCards. No spoilers, please.

— Before you watch the new House of Cards, do yourself a favor and watch the original.

Is House of Cards TV?

It’s worth marveling just how quickly people have come to accept the prospect of getting to watch an entire new TV season at your own pace, wherever you want. And it’s worth wondering how the rise of streaming affects not only how shows are watched, but how they’re made. Does it change the creative process to know half your audience will consume your show’s entire season in one week?

— House of Cards may well be the most joyless show on television. A review from the New York Times.

— House of Cards premiere is a big test of how video gets to you. 

Owing to positive reviews of the first season and aggressive marketing by Netflix, demand for the show is likely to be strong. Throw in some terrible weather, and it’s easy to imagine a huge portion of the 33.4 million households that subscribe to Netflix’s streaming service in the United States trying to watch House of Cards at the same time on Friday night (notwithstanding that it’s Valentine’s Day).

… Even if millions of people want to watch House of Cards on Friday, Netflix doesn’t have to send each of them a unique copy of the show. The company uses content delivery networks (CDNs), including one of its own, to send the data just once.ISPs, which get the data into homes, can choose to peer with these CDNs, essentially creating a direct connection that bypasses the rest of the internet and keeps things working speedily for Netflix and its customers.

Peering is different from traditional internet transit. And while maybe it should be, peering has never been subject to net neutrality rules. It’s more like a private internet to help Netflix and other companies—Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft all rely heavily on peering arrangements—get their data to people faster.

House of Cards is D.C.’s Valentine to itself says Andrea Drusch of POLITICO: “D.C. is in love this Valentine’s Day – with itself. Netflix released the second season of its original series House of Cards on Friday, and media and politicos can’t wait to settle into thirteen straight hours of a show that centers on the very industry in which they work and live every day. Whether they’re planning to power through the whole season in a single night or space it out over the coming weeks, the show’s loyal fans can’t stop talking about the next chapter for D.C.’s shadow cast. ‘It’s a fun escape from what day-to-day life on the Hill is actually like,’ said Alex Conant, press secretary for Sen. Marco Rubio, in an interview. He plans to dive into the show right away. ‘It makes politics in Washington appear even worse than it is, which is a feat.’

Not every pol is interested in House of Cards.

“That’s the one about the guys all living together?” asked Rep. John Shimkus.

— Robin Wright insists her character is not based on Hillary Clinton.

“People were suggesting to base the character on Hillary Clinton or other strong women personas, and I didn’t want to do that,” Wright said in an interview posted Wednesday.

— Now This News gets members of Congress to act as Kevin Spacey’s character, Frank Underwood. Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina has “zero tolerance for betrayal.” Watch here.

— The Washington Post explains what House of Cards gets wrong about D.C. 

— Yehudi Mercado created this House of Cards and Mickey Mouse mashup illustration called “Mouse of Cards.”

mouse of cards

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.