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House of Cards
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that House of Cards (which stars Oscar winner Kevin Spacey) plays up the dark side of national politics with recurring themes of revenge and retribution. Audible language includes strong words like "f--k," along with "prick," "whore," etc., and there's also some simulated sex and partial nudity, including exposed breasts. Many characters drink socially, many times as a stress reliever, and some secondary characters have drug (cocaine, pot) and alcohol problems. Most of the "violence" is tension that bubbles just below the surface, although death (and even murder) isn't unheard of.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When he's passed up for the top cabinet post he was promised, powerful Minority Whip Rep. Francis "Frank" Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his wife (Robin Wright) launch a revenge scheme of Machiavellian proportions against the president (Michael Gill) and his unsuspecting underlings. But carrying out his plan to topple them all like a HOUSE OF CARDS requires help from an eager young reporter (Kate Mara), who's just hungry enough to take the bait.
Is it any good?
Hardcore Netflix users might already know that House of Cards is based on the BBC miniseries of the same name (which, in turn, was based on a novel by British politician Michael Dobbs). But while the British series centered on Conservative Party politics in the post-Margaret Thatcher era, the U.S. version transplants the action to modern-day Washington, D.C., during the term of a Democratic president.
So what's the verdict? With its second original series (the first being Lilyhammer), streaming content provider Netflix delivers an effectively addictive political drama with movie-quality storytelling and A-list casting. (Not to mention A-list director/producer chops, thanks to the presence of The Social Network's David Fincher.) The series' exclusivity to Netflix subscribers means it's not easily available to a broader audience. But in our opinion, it's compelling enough to deserve one.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about House of Cards' take on national politics. Is it positive, negative, or somewhere in between? How close do you think it comes to portraying the way things really get done in Washington?
What role does the media play in American politics? Do you think it plays too big of a role? How has the rise of various technologies -- from television to Twitter -- affected the way we pick and choose our politicians?
For kids who love drama
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.