Film and TV-streaming service Netflix is starting to branch out with its own unique programming and its newest original series, which will debut early next year, carries some Hollywood heavyweights in the form of director David Fincher and Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey.
House of Cards, a political drama based on a BBC miniseries, will be available to Netflix subscribers from 1 February. All 13 episodes will be available at once, letting users dictate their own viewing schedule.
Netflix is pulling out the big guns for its first online TV production, with Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network) involved as an executive producer and also as director of the first two episodes. Other noted directors working on House of Cards include Alan Coulter and Charles McDougall, who have worked on TV successes The Sopranos and The Good Wife, respectively, while film directors James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross) and Joel Schumacher (Batman films) also sat in the House of Cards director’s chair.
The cast for the series is just as impressive, with Spacey taking the lead as Francis Underwood, majority whip in the US House of Representatives, and Robin Wright alongside as his wife. The lead writers for the show are Beau Willimon, no stranger to political drama having written the play on which The Ides of March was based and also having co-written the film’s screenplay, and Eric Roth, who teamed up with Fincher on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and also counts Munich, Forrest Gump, The Good Shepherd and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Clouse in his repertoire.
With such a promising cast and crew behind it, House of Cards will have high expectations to meet, but producers must be confident of its success as a second season is already scheduled to start production next spring.
Other upcoming original series from Netflix include a longed-for fourth season of cult hit Arrested Development, a murder-mystery series from horror film director Eli Roth, and a second season of Lilyhammer, which stars The Sopranos’ Steve Van Zandt as a New York mobster in hiding in Norway.
AMENDMENT: This article originally referred to House of Cards as Netflix’s first original series, however this title belongs to Lilyhammer. This series was first broadcast on Norway’s NRK1 channel in January 2012, reaching Netflix US in February. However, Netflix subscribers in the UK and Ireland will have to wait until the series finishes its broadcast on BBC Four before it will be available to them. House of Cards is the first Netflix original series to be broadcast exclusively on the video streaming service first.