House of Cards will be seen for the first time by many of you because it originally aired on the streaming-video service Netflix. The 13-episode DVD set is very much worth your attention — in spite of the absence of extras other than what Sony calls "stunning collectible packaging." It's nice, but I would have traded it for some commentaries or deleted scenes.
Based on an excellent British series of the same name (which is also on DVD and Blu-ray), the series stars Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood, a congressman from South Carolina who has great ambitions and few scruples. In his attempts to advance, he brings into his orbit another representative (Corey Stoll) and a driven young reporter (Kate Mara), and their ethical struggles or lack of same provide a contrast to Underwood's efforts.
The story drags in spots, especially when it lingers too long in the life of Underwood's wife (Robin Wright). But it is often a superior soap, with a clear vision of how the political system works. Spacey, Mara and Stoll are in excellent form, and the ending leaves plenty in the air for the planned second season. But I'm still waiting for good extras — or any.
House of Cards: The Complete First Season retails for $55.99 on DVD or $65.99 on Blu-ray.
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These DVDs were also released this week:
Films: Oz the Great and Powerful; Snitch; Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters; Absolute Deception; Wrong; Knife Fight; Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder; Killing Lincoln; Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary; 11 Flowers (2011, China); Fred Won't Move Out; Betty & Coretta; Beverly Lewis' The Confession (sequel to Hallmark Channel's Beverly Lewis' The Shunning); Masquerade (South Korea); The Black Kungfu Experience; The Unbroken; Tom and Jerry: The Golden Collection Volume 2; Enter The Dragon 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition (1973).
TV series: The Newsroom: The Complete First Season; Burn Notice: Season 6; Necessary Roughness: Season Two; Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Third Season; Doctor Who: Inferno Special Edition (with extras); Doctor Who: The Mind of Evil; Ghost Hunters: Season 8, Part 2; Fairly Legal: Season Two; History Classics: After People (2006-10); The Philadelphia Experiment (Syfy); Major Crimes: The Complete First Season; Perry Mason: The Ninth and Final Season, Volume One.
THE WASHINGTON POST