With the advent of the internet, the way that people watch television has been rapidly changing. While there are still those (like me) who tune into their favorite shows week after week, there are others who prefer to wait and watch episodes at their own pace, either all at once on in increments of their choosing. It's a market of television watchers that is steadily growing. Television ratings are declining, but the shows are still getting watched just as much -- if not more.
Netflix is looking for a way to access that market. The streaming and DVD rental service is edging into its own original programming, perhaps most notably with its resurrection of the long-cancelled FOX sitcom Arrested Development, the fourth season of which is currently in production and slated to premiere on Netflix early next year.
The site (should we start calling it a network?) is also partnering with director David Fincher, the man who brought us films like Fight Club, Zodiac, and The Social Network on a new series, titled House of Cards. The series sees Fincher reunited with 'Seven' actor Kevin Spacey and will be based upon the 1990 British political thriller of the same name, which followed a member of Parliament's devious schemes to become the leader of his party.
The series will also star Robin Wright, Kate Mara, and, excitingly, Kristen Connolly (who was particularly memorable in this year's horror-comedy The Cabin in the Woods).
Netflix will be launching House of Cards on February 1, but here's what's interesting -- it's all going to be debuting at once, meaning that viewers will have complete control over how and when they watch the series. All at once, or one episode at a time: it's all up to them.
“House of Cards combines the best of filmmaking with the best of television," Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos said in a statement. "Beau Willimon’s compelling narrative, David Fincher’s unparalleled craftsmanship, indelible performances by Kevin Spacey and the rest of the cast unite to create a gripping story and new kind of viewing experience for Netflix members... In offering the entire season at once, Netflix is giving viewers complete control over how and when they watch the show.”
It's been long-rumored that Arrested Development's fourth season will be released the same way, which is certainly a rather innovative way to premiere a new series -- where the attention appears to be on making the viewers happy, not making money. Is it financially lucrative? We'll just have to wait and see, it appears. What do you think?
House of Cards has already been renewed for a second season of 13 episodes, which will start production next spring.
House of Cards season 1 will premiere on Netflix Friday, February 1, 2013.