House of Cards is back – and even Barack Obama thinks it’s a big deal

Washington is agog and politicos are even advising on plot as the  TV hit’s second series arrives

US Editor

Do they have the ability to stream Netflix on Air Force One? This is not an idle question. Valentine’s Day was also House of Cards Day and President Barack Obama let us all know, via Twitter, that he too is a fan who has been aching for season two, which was released in its entirety yesterday for fans to gorge on. The problem: he was flying all of Friday, from Maryland to California. The whole evening was taken up dining with King Abdullah of Jordan in Palm Springs.

Doubtless the tweet to Mr Obama's 41 million followers late Thursday was written by an aide trying to spin the myth that the President is like the rest of us, unable to resist the delicious darkness of this political thriller, never mind how ludicrous some of its plotting. "Tomorrow @HouseOfCards. No spoilers, please."

The chief executive of the land confessing an addiction to a show that depicts the federal capital in such dark caricature might seem a surprise. But for the cast, who gathered for a premiere screening on Thursday, it was an exciting endorsement. It is one thing that all of Washington gorged on the  first 13 episodes released all at once one year and two weeks ago. But now the Oval Office is hooked too?

"It's the coolest news ever," said Kate Mara, who plays the reporter, Zoe Barnes, who becomes close, maybe too close, to the ruthless chief whip Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey.

Fans in the real world of politics in the District want us to know – of course – that their existences are entirely more monotony than Machiavelli. No one actually kills to protect their political advancement. Well there was the New York congressman caught on camera threatening to throw a TV reporter from the balcony in the Capitol Rotunda the other day, but setting that aside ...

It's barely a secret that the opening instalment of the new season does not disappoint. No, I won't say; just that as Underwood readies to be sworn in as vice president, keeping a lid on what happened to a certain dead Pennsylvania congressman becomes more imperative than ever.

Read more:
Netflix series makes ferocious return

Such has been the anticipation on Capitol Hill that aides campaigned to have Netflix release it a day early because a snowstorm was due on Thursday and offices would be shut. The snow came, but no new season. One aide,  Alex Conant, press secretary to Senator Marco Rubio, told Politico that the show "makes politics in Washington appear even worse than it is, which is a feat".

Embracing it hasn't been a problem for politicians either. Several volunteered for an online news site to go on camera speaking some of Underwood's famous season-one scorchers. Watch Trey Gowdy, a Republican from South Carolina, giving appropriate menace to, "I have zero tolerance for betrayal", and somehow the effect is even greater than from the lips of Spacey.

And slightly worryingly, the chief writer of the Netflix saga, Beau Willimon, revealed at Thursday's screening that some of the most powerful figures in Congress have been advising on plot and characters. "Kevin McCarthy, the house majority whip and Steny Hoyer, the house minority whip, they both were really helpful in talking to Kevin Spacey and me about what it means to be a whip," he said. "They helped us achieved the authenticity we strived for."

But we must repeat. Mr Spacey and his onscreen wife, Robin Wright, are just actors. It's not real. Washington isn't like that. Which goes no way to explain why the main guest with George Stephanopoulos on his morning political show tomorrow on ABC, The Week, will be, yes, Mr Spacey.


Watch the trailer for the new season of House of Cards

Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?