Welcome to what I hope is the first of many posts I make under the guise of 'TV Screenshot'. As a television enthusiast often when I'm watching an episode of a series there are scenes, or more specifically, shots, that are striking beautiful or memorable in one way or another that they stick with me long after I have finished watching the episode. I usually make these shots my screensaver for a time, until I come across another that is. These posts will highlight what I think to be memorable shots in the television shows I watch, and I'll go into a little detail about why I find them so enthralling, and what they may represent in the series they're from overall. Much like tv.com's FTW vs. WTF posts, I'll be trying to post a 'TV Screenshot' each week, but really it'll depend on whether or not a shot that incites me pops up. First up is a shot from the premiere of House of Cards, I hope you enjoy, and please let me know your thoughts!

House of Cards is a series that will always be associated with revolutionary television, it being the first drama series produced by the online streaming service provider Netflix, but the brashness of its storytelling indicates its attempt to be a series known for much more than that. I don't deny there's something truly exhilarating in watching a series like House of Cards when it makes such a risky decision by killing off one of its main characters in journalist Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), but at the same time, such a decision also comes across as a sign of desperation for any series, that these decisions are being made to generate buzz, rather than being a legitimate creative decision.

I myself hadn't planned on tuning into House of Cards' second season having come to the conclusion at the end of its first that I wasn't willing to commit any further to a series whose two lead characters were such deplorable people, and Mr. and Mrs. Underwood were in fine form throughout this episode, to say the least. But once the entire thirteen episode second season became available on January 14th, not long after came the aforementioned buzz because of the series' risky decision, and as a television lover, I couldn't not watch it. I'm obviously the bigger fool here, tuning into a series I said I no longer would because of the hype. And ironically enough, House of Cards seems to know this. At the end of the second season premiere soon-to-be Vice President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), broke the third wall to give the viewer a monologue, a distinctive trait the series used prominently in its first season, and an aspect that was noticeably missing from most of the second season premiere. His words, I think, as his monologue's in general have been, are very existential in their meaning:

'Did you think I'd forgotten you? Perhaps you hoped I had? Don't waste a breathe mourning Miss Barnes, every kitten grows up to be a cat. They seem so harmless at first, small, quiet, lapping up their saucer of milk, but once their claws get long enough, they draw blood - sometimes from the hand that feeds them. For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted. Welcome back.'

The camera then pans to a set of cufflinks Underwood had received from Edward, his chauffeur, for his birthday, inscribed with his initials 'F U' (which, by the way, someone obviously needs to inform Edward about proper gift-giving etiquette. It's never appropriate to give someone a gift with their name and/ or initials on it if it implies fuck you, but I digress). To me, the monologue blatantly states that the writers of House of Cards are not going to apologise for their decision to kill off Zoe Barnes, arguably the shows only moral compass. The series is out to make a name for itself, and despite my, or any other critic or viewers problems with how they go about this, the writers mean serious business, and don't care what anyone thinks. They have now officially warned us about what House of Cards is, and where it's willing to go as a series, and now it's up to us to decide whether this journey is one we are willing to follow into undoubtedly darker depths. And if we don't like it, well what they're saying is, 'F U'.
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just started to watch this, normally I don't do , but there is a part of me that is hoping that Stamper (Michael Kelly) isn't dead, if he dies who's going to help with covering up for Frank. I don't see him trusting anyone else with their secrets and dead bodies. face it who to have p---- off at you than the guy who know where all the secrets/dead bodies are since he's the one that put them there. they need each other
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Interesting read, I have been very much enjoying the new season and enjoyed that parting shot of his cufflinks.

However I do hold issue with this statement; "I myself hadn't planned on tuning into House of Cards' second season having come to the conclusion at the end of its first that I wasn't willing to commit any further to a series whose two lead characters were such deplorable people"

I can't disagree with this more, I have never understood this idea that to be a likeable character you have to be morally 'good'. The show is driven by the Underwood's and their deplorable nature has not adverse effect what so ever on my enjoyment of the show.
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I too have never understood the idea that a likable character has to be morally good, it's not the sole reason I have a problem with the Underwoods's and the show as a whole either, just a part. Here's a response I made to another comment on this post, which sums up my problems with the series a lot better:

As for Frank and Claire, it's not so much that I hate despicable characters (Walter White is my all-time favourite television character at this point), it's that there's a. no change/ or development in their characters which makes for stagnant and repetitive viewing (I'm sensing a theme with the series here) and b. their motivations are un-relatable, as are most of the problems their characters face. It's difficult to follow main characters whose soul purpose is to gain power (in the more traditional sense of wanting to become President of the United States).
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Fair enough, whilst I still disagree on their likeability it seems that we completley agree on morality issues in regards to its affect on likeability.

I would argue against their suggested lack of development as characters, whilst they don't go through the major changes that other series protagonists might go through, I think as mature people who have very strongly defined characters they achieve just the correct amount of development, always in relation and adaptation to their situation.

For me the extent to which I relate to a character's problems are not important, I hardly ever relate to the issues being faced by various characters in shows. However this is also where I agree with you as it isn't so much the problems being faced but the motivation of characters in response to those problems that can often make you relate to a character.

Anyway I have been enjoying the second season, I think the Zoe murder was handled brilliantly, the show has developed from that initial core that was created in season 1, and think it was beneficial rather than just for shock value. Haven't as yet finished so can't comment on it as a whole.

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"I myself hadn't planned on tuning into House of Cards' second season having come to the conclusion at the end of its first that I wasn't willing to commit any further to a series whose two lead characters were such deplorable people"

"It's never appropriate to give someone a gift with their name and/ or initials on it if it implies fuck you"


hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahbwah-haa-haaa-hahahahah

Who the fuck is this guy?

Walter White and Frank Underwood are two of the most memorable and amazingly written characters of late, but what the hell would you know about good writing, right?


hahahahahahahahahah
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"It's never appropriate to give someone a gift with their name and/ or initials on it if it implies fuck you"


Why not? Michael Dobbs has often said in interviews that Francis Urquhart's Frank Underwood's intials were there as a big Fuck You to the political classes for the past 25 years
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I have just finished watching season 2 and I must say the Underwoods are the epitome of evilness. The F U really summed up the theme of the show. I really like this show and have been shocked at the slimy evilness Frank is. I think Spacey is top notch in the show. I look forward to season 3 and the web that Frank the spider weaves.
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Like you, I like that shot very much too. I will remember for years to come as a signature shot for this show.

Unlike you, I leave my moral compass at the door when watching this show and I root for Frank all the way till his demise (I presume in season 3). Even if the shows end without him being punish, I am okay with it but I still think he will get his punishment.

I am enjoying the show for what it is and taking a fun ride along with F.U. I liked season 2 which I have finished even more than season 1 and look forward to season 3.

As for killing Kate Mara's character, I was shocked when I was watching it but had since learnt that the writers are actually following the same storyline as the original. Therefore I hardly think it was for shock value. Perhaps the timing was more of "the shock value" as in the original I think she died in the first season.

I am now very tempted to watch the original though that was from so long ago.

Anyway, good post and I look forward to seeing your screenshot every week. I might even contribute some of my own.
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As you've probably gathered by my posts on Cory's reviews, I've kept watching season two, and I think I'm enjoying it more than season one. I tend to agree with Cory's assessment of the show though, particularly in regard to its repetitiveness - but I'm really enjoying it's subplots thus far (I get over the politics quickly).

As for Frank and Claire, it's not so much that I hate despicable characters (Walter White is my all-time favourite television character at this point), it's that there's a. no change/ or development in their characters which makes for stagnant and repetitive viewing (I'm sensing a theme with the series here) and b. their motivations are un-relatable, as are most of the problems their characters face. It's difficult to follow main characters whose soul purpose is to gain power (in the more traditional sense of wanting to become President of the United States).

Despite this I'm enjoying Claire having a lot more screen-time this season. I'm a fan of the vixen character trope, and she fits it perfectly. Even if the motivations behind her actions are somewhat basic, I must admit it's fun to watch her manipulate others.

Excellent point about the original, I did see quite a few people mention it following the same plot. Interesting that few viewers have been spoiled by the events of this series considering the presence of the original.

And I would love for others users to join in and make their own 'TV Screenshots' there really are so many to choose from, with many different opinions and interpretations to be discussed!
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