Years of televisions shows depict the backdoor deals, scheming, sneaking, and the less-than-ethical business that is politics. House of Cards is not new in this regard, but it is new in a myriad of other ways.

If you’re one of the some 27 million Netflix subscribers, you have access to the Netflix original television show House of Cards. In a world where most of us are forgoing cable in favor of the much cheaper alternatives – online streaming sites such as Netflix and HuluPlus – every show we’ve watched has still originated from television. However, that’s changing with the exponential growth of web series such as The Guild and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

What makes this show different than a web series is that it was produced more like a regular television show that would air on a premium channel, but with more wiggle room. All thirteen 50-something minute episodes were released at once, raising questions about the likelihood of binge-watching and the implications it could have for future Netflix original shows. The company was able to raise enough money at once for a second season, a 26 episode guarantee, and because it doesn’t have to deal with network and cable executives, there’s no worry about being canceled due to low viewership.

This show isn’t filmed in a green-screened studio. It is high production, valued at around $3 million an episode. It makes great use of multiple, intricate, detailed sets. Houses, offices, big galas and protests sets do not come cheap. The show makes full use of its location, though filmed in Baltimore (which makes this Marylander extremely happy), viewers are placed directly in the heart of Washington, D.C. – with constant references to being “on the hill” and being in close contact with the White House.

The show is tense and quiet, a political thriller in every sense of the word. Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey, with a fantastic South Carolinian drawl) is enthrallingly devilish in his quest for more power in government. Passed over for Secretary of State in the pilot, he is faced with another term as House Majority Whip but with the help of his equally terrifying, strong wife Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), they take Washington, D.C. by storm

You could watch one episode a week on your own time and try to uphold the facade of actually watching it on a television station, but if you’ve got the time, why not just watch a few in a row… Netflix’s auto-play makes it fast and convenient. By the time you’ve realized one episode’s ended, the next one’s already beginning.

Similar to premium channels HBO and Showtime, House of Cards doesn’t break for commercials, and some episodes feature nudity and foul language (though, much less than you find on even the tamest Girls). And unlike traditional television channels, no ratings are available the next day to give a less-than-accurate depiction of its viewership. Netflix has given no indication that it is worried about the show flopping. As long as you, the Netflix user, continue to shell out the $8 or whatever the cost of your membership per month, it doesn’t matter to them whether you watch it or not.

House of Cards could start a television revolution. Ties to advertisers for monetary support are slowly being cut. Television networks might start realizing they have to step up their game, now competing with online sites that are easier to access, for equally high quality content. Who knows where this type of programming will be in five years, but we do know something will change – it has to.

Will you give ‘House of Cards’ a chance?

This writer is on episode eight – yes, some binge-watching occurred this weekend – and is thoroughly enjoying the dramatic lives of the politicians that run this nation.

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Disney’s released a minute-long clip from Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a great one: Emma Watson performing “Belle.”

Belle skips around town as the townspeople observe the “funny girl” in this uplifting sequence from the movie. You can’t help but get excited for Beauty and the Beast after watching this, and Emma sounds great!

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Disney’s released a minute-long clip from Beauty and the Beast, and it’s a great one: Emma Watson performing “Belle.”

Belle skips around town as the townspeople observe the “funny girl” in this uplifting sequence from the movie. You can’t help but get excited for Beauty and the Beast after watching this, and Emma sounds great!

In related news, the cast and crew kicked off their press tour today in Paris. Disney released the following adorable photo of Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Josh Gad, Luke Evans, director Bill Condon and composer Alan Menken as they start publicizing the movie, which opens in theaters March 17:

Can’t wait to see it!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Read full article

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 brings the L.M.D. storyline to a truly wild end. Here’s what to expect from “Self Control”!

You don’t know what’s coming

Yeah, there’s a synopsis for “Self Control” — “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” But that’s the equivalent of saying that Iron Man is about a goateed man who can fly.

Sure, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 answers a lot of questions about who is and who isn’t a robot. More profoundly though, the episode goes in for a final knead and punch of the ideas that have been floating around all season.

Free will and humanity. Sacrifice and love. The nature of reality — and even of life itself. Beneath the plot, surprises, and pain, that’s what’s really going on in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spring finale.

That, and the characters who get caught in the middle.

Jed Whedon is Not. Playing. Around.

Executive producer and showrunner Jed Whedon is the man behind the pen and the camera in “Self Control,” and he’s there for a reason. Whedon’s first try at the director’s chair on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is operatic, incisive, and perpetually gut-clenching.

Yes, there are lovely and disturbing vistas, an artistry that comes from a deliberate and careful eye. But more important is the unshakable Whedon impulse that animates Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, that builds through the episode like a cresting tide.

You know that unmistakable sense that someone is laughing behind the scenes? Yeah. That’s why Jed Whedon is here.

What’s next?

Well, that’s a very good question. “Self Control” leaves us with a few razor-like possibilities, all of which lead down spiky corridors of questions. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15 is here to leave us thirsty for the season’s final seven episodes, and that’s exactly what it does.

Oh, and to answer your next question…

Cliffhanger?

Uh, yes. Cliffhanger.

Oh boy, cliffhanger.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×15, “Self Control,” airs Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.

What are your top theories for ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 4×15?

Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

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Have President’s Day off? Here are some movies, TV shows, and soundtracks with which to celebrate President’s Day.

‘Hamilton’


Even if you were somehow lucky enough to have already seen the musical, you might as well celebrate today with another listen to the soundtrack. In case you have been living under a rock, Hamilton is a hip-hop, rap, musical about Alexander Hamilton. Yes, Hamilton never became president, but the musical does include multiple would-be presidents. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and even birthday boy himself George Washington are heavily featured in Hamilton. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, you can get a history lesson while you listen to great music.

‘Liberty’s Kids’


Liberty’s Kids aired in the early 2000s on PBS. Liberty’s Kids follows three teenagers from varying backgrounds throughout the American Revolution, mentored by Benjamin Franklin. It is geared for children but is still pretty enjoyable for adults. In each episode, the teenagers encounter a significant person or event from the revolution, giving a concise and entertaining history lesson. The show features many important figures throughout the revolution, showing even more presidents than in Hamilton. As one can imagine, Washington is among these.

‘Lincoln’


Lincoln is a 2012, Oscar nominated movie, directed by Steven Spielberg based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals. Instead of a biopic of Lincoln’s entire life, Lincoln is specifically about his passing of the 13th amendment. Essentially directed between each of his science fiction blockbusters, Spielberg also made many significant historical movies, Lincoln among them. Lincoln not only shows his power as a president, but also humanizes him through an Oscar winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis.

‘1776’


Hamilton is not the first musical about American history. Thankfully, though, because this way there are other options, one of which is 1776. Even more conveniently, the musical 1776 was adapted into a movie in the early 1970s. Heavily implied by its name, 1776 is about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 1776 definitely has a more classical musical theater vibe than Hamilton. The strange combination of American history and musical theater allows for a humorous yet educational experience. However, as reflective of the history of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Washington is not a character in the musical; yet, it obviously includes many other significant historical figures.

‘The West Wing’ or ‘The American President’


Unlike the other items on this list, these two are about fictional presidents. But it would be nice if they were real. Of the many politically charged movies and television shows by Aaron Sorkin, these two are specifically about presidents. If you have the day off and want to attempt to binge watch seven seasons, then you may want to check out The West Wing. The West Wing follows President Bartlet and his staff and advisors during their time in the White House. If you want a movie to help you transition between Valentine’s Day and President’s Day then The American President is worth watching. It is a romantic comedy about President Shepherd, who falls in love with a lobbyist.

How else will you celebrate President’s Day?