Wednesday, April 17, 2013

House of Cards vs. The Americans

So my husband and I have been watching these two series.

DISCLAIMER!  I could not, in good conscience, feel okay about recommending either of these to my kids OR my parents.  Just so you know.  Although it's possible TRQ might secretly enjoy them both.

Anyway,  both shows make me fairly queasy (thanks for that apt word, Lisa B).   House of Cards, however, is a lot harder for me to watch than The Russians (oops!  I mean The Americans!), even though the second show is much more graphic (violence!  sex!)  than the first.

Why is it harder to watch?  Ken Cannon and I were discussing this amongst ourselves this morning.   I think the answer (in part) is this:  House of Cards is deeply, deeply cynical with characters who aren't merely flawed but who are, instead, completely amoral and driven only by a lust for power and/or revenge.  The characters in The Americans, on the other hand, are more shaded, and all of them--the Russians AND the Americans--believe in something bigger than themselves.  I guess I find that easier to connect with.

For the record, both series are intelligent with great production values.

Have you been watching?  I'd like your thoughts on either/both series.

P.S.  House of Cards is based on an older BBC production, which was just as evil but considerably more charming.


Lisa B. said...

I am so glad that I have DVRd The Americans, because I am saving it for a rainy day. However, even though we only have three more episodes of House of Cards, I feel stalled, because I am quite certain that the show is going to destroy one character whose sins are of the more ordinary kind, and who I wish they wouldn't destroy. It just feels so heartless.

But I will finish it one day. One day when I am feeling strong.

Dr Write said...

We are so addicted to House of Cards. Yes, amoral, but interesting. Because good people, sadly, are boring. And amoral in a sometimes vulnerable way. But they will get their comeuppance! (maybe)

Louise Plummer said...

I watched the whole series over a week. Very cynical and dark, but extraordinarily well done.