As Netflix releases the fifth season of the hit series, how will Frank Underwood's dark plots and the series' unexpected political twists compare to what's happening in real life?
Having schemed his way from South Carolina congressman to the Oval Office, the power-hungry Frank Underwood, depicted by Kevin Spacey, will be setting things up to allow his wife Claire (Robin Wright) to succeed him as president. Fans of the Netflix series "House of Cards" can start binge-watching the fifth season on Tuesday and discover how he will be achieving this.
Critics are rather eager to find out if the fictional US president's trademark asides to the camera and cunning plots will manage to seem anywhere as suspenseful and twisted as the current political reality under President Donald Trump.
"Trump has stolen all of our ideas for season six," star Robin Wright said during a talk at the Cannes Film Festival.
Her co-star doesn't agree: "People are saying 'House of Cards' will be boring this year; how can we compete with reality - I have to say honestly, we've never been more relevant," Spacey said in an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Early reviews are divided on whether the claim is true. For some, the show manages to capture the spirit of the times. The plot twists are "bonkers" but there is a "methodical madness to this new season that feels of the moment," writes the website Vulture.
Other critics believe that given the current political climate, it's hard to find satisfactory entertainment in Frank Underwood's schemes. The magazine The Hollywood Reporter sees it as a potential "opposite of escapism."
"If CNN/Fox News/MSNBC haven't sated your appetite for stories of voter fraud, media distortion, a fragmented electorate, an initialed terrorist group out of the Middle East and the potential for Russian interference in our democratic process, 'House of Cards' has you covered, but probably not surprised," writes The Hollywood Reporter in its review of the latest season.
eg/rf (dpa, AP)