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TV Column
Posted at 11:05 AM ET, 02/01/2013

‘House of Cards,’ set in DC and filmed in Baltimore, premieres Friday on Netflix

In case you missed it, Netflix is pulling a fast one on the TV industry and offering up original series “House of Cards” today on its streaming service — all 13 episodes at once. The company figures that audiences will love no commercials, no waiting for new episodes, and the ability to watch whenever they want.


Kevin Spacey in a scene from Netflix's "House of Cards." (Melinda Sue Gordon - Netflix)
The show, a political thriller starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright that is based in DC and filmed around Baltimore, has garnered some decent-to-mixed reviews. Here’s an excerpt from Post TV critic Hank Stuever’s take:

“Although no expense has been spared, ‘House of Cards’ appears to suffer from the same ambitious but weighty seriousness that afflicted Starz’s ‘Boss.’ As with that show, the cinematography is moody and gorgeous. The writing is broad. The arcs are wide. The corruption is all-consuming. The sympathetic characters are nonexistent. And most important, the lead actor is a known scenery-chewer.”

He goes on to note that the show might appeal to some people, although some viewers may be tired of yet another show about Washington:

“...If your day has not already been consumed with Type A personalities inside the Beltway, then it may fall well within your definition of entertainment. If, on the other hand, you’ve got even the slightest case of Washington fatigue, then you should run screaming.”

Speaking of which, “House of Cards” is the latest show to use Baltimore to double as Washington — and take advantage of the fact that when they do need to film in the city, it’s just a short drive away. HBO’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus vice presidential comedy “Veep” is currently also filming in Baltimore. In a story that ran in Sunday Style, we talked to the Maryland Film Office about the scope of the “House of Cards” production. Some fun facts:


Director David Fincher with Kevin Spacey and Kate Mara — although most of the show was shot in Baltimore, the crew managed to wrangle a DC Metro station for one scene. (Melinda Sue Gordon - Netflix)
* The Maryland Film Office suspects, once the final numbers are in, that “HOC” will be the largest production ever filmed in the state of Maryland

* “Veep” shot for about 40 days its first season, and hired 978 local workers. While they don’t know the exact count yet for “HOC,” the show shot for 100 more days, and had larger sets and crew, which means an ever bigger economic boost to the state

* Bonus info not in the story: Everyone at the film office was thrilled when Kevin Spacey, speaking to Men’s Journal in an interview about his favorite late-night haunts, gave a shout out to Metropolitan Kitchen & Lounge in Annapolis. Jack Gerbes, director of the film office, said that’s exactly the kind of good publicity the state hopes to get when productions take advantage of the Maryland’s tax breaks and film there.

On Tuesday, the cast and crew were in Washington for a screening and premiere party at the Newseum. The Reliable Source pointed out that Spacey has been playing a lot of political roles lately, and talked to Spacey about whether that was intentional:

“First, campaign operative Ron Klain (‘Recount’), then disgraced superlobbyist Jack Abramoff (‘Casino Jack’), and now, in ‘House of Cards,’ a sinister (though fictional) House majority whip...Is this a new specialty?”

“It’s not a particular plan,” Spacey told us. “It’s just these scripts came along at a certain time.”

By  |  11:05 AM ET, 02/01/2013

 
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