It’s been just over a month since Netflix released all 13 episodes of it’s original series “House of Cards.” The political thriller, based on a UK show, stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. The first two episodes were directed by filmmaker David Fincher (“The Social Network”) who’s also executive producing along with Spacey and the showrunner Beau Willimon (screenwriter of “Ides of March”).
Neither Fincher nor Willimon have produced television before, and Spacey’s TV background is limited. But this naivete about traditional TV may have actually worked to their advantage, says Willimon. He told Kim Masters on KCRW’s “The Business” that it allowed them the freedom to conceive of a 13 hour long movie version of a TV series.
But the strategy of releasing all 13 hours at once is not without debate. Without the benefit of weekly episodes to keep “House of Cards” on the top of viewers’ minds, would people forget about it? And would it kill linear TV?
Brian Hughes at Ad Age concludes that the experiment won’t destroy the weekly episodic TV model. He points out that the DVR didn’t kill linear TV, and that “House of Cards” is the product of a subscriber-based business, much like HBO. And that hasn’t wiped out ad-driven content either. But Willimon gets almost philosophical about it or maybe more concrete. He said on “The Business” that he believes if you’re a network executive and still programming weekly shows you are an anachronism.
Then there was the issue of how to even have a public dialogue around “House of Cards.” Brian Stetler writes in The New York Times that the show has caused a redefinition of the spoiler alert. Citing people like Jenni Konner, executive producer of “Girls,” who tweeted just one day after the series was available.“I don’t know how to talk to people who aren’t at least halfway through ‘House of Cards.’ ” And Josef Adalian at Vulture invited people to come to his “safe digital space” where those who’d binged on the full season already could talk with each other without inadvertently spoiling it for others.
David Carr in The New York Times reminds viewers how powerful Big Data is in Netflix programming. This company has incredibly detailed data on its subscribers– how and when they watch watch and what they like. And Netflix uses this data in its content creation. “House of Cards” is a result of that data and may be the business model of the future.
Is the Harlem Shake Really Over?
Now from the small screen to the smaller screen: The Harlem Shake is a video meme that cropped up in early February and by many accounts, is over now. But it’s still a video phenomenon of global proportions with tens of thousands of new iterations being uploaded daily. NPR reported this morning that last night’s Simpson’s version may have signaled the end. Meanwhile, The AP and The Guardian among others say that the end was near when a group of gold miners in Australia who made a Harlem Shake video were fired for doing just that.
Still, last week Red Bull said that they wanted to put the trend to bed with style. They made their Harlem Shake video the extreme sports way (ie: skydiving). Ad Age says it may not have actually put the nail in the coffin, instead catapulting Red Bull’s YouTube channel into popularity.
If you’re still new to the phenomenon, here’s a good explainer of the origin of the meme. And if you want to binge on some Harlem Shake videos this post has 13 of the best ones. Here’s one of the more innovative: