For me, a fun little activity for after I finish watching a new episode of my favorite TV shows — whether it be “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men” or “Louie” — is checking out what some of my favorite critics have had to say about what just aired. With most of today’s critically-acclaimed shows, this is easy to do. (It’s even easy to do with the not-so-acclaimed, but insanely popular shows like “The Walking Dead.”)
Every Monday morning after an episode of, say, “Mad Men” airs, I pop online and see if others had the same responses as I did. Oftentimes, the reviews will make suggestions and point out things I had missed, or maybe I’ll read a complaint and have a valid counter argument. It makes TV viewing a sort of shared experience.
When Netflix dropped all 13 episodes of their new series “House of Cards” all at once on their streaming service, this made the whole idea of a communal viewing experience basically impossible. Without each episode airing at a certain time, people could view at their leisure. Some chose to blast through all 13 episodes in a day, others to stagger them out in weeks. I decided to just watch them as quickly as possible without putting off any other aspects of my life. That translated into 13 hours of television in about two and a half weeks. (Had I moved any faster I may have lost my job/girlfriend/house/etc.)
Now that I’m done, I’ve found that the critics also took about that much time to watch the episodes and then pump out their full-season reviews. And what I’ve found, thus far, is that people like The AV Club’s Todd VanDerWerff and HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall pretty much had the same response to the show as I did: It’s good, but not great. And if it weren’t delivered in such a revolutionary way, it might kind of get lost in the cable drama shuffle.
Have you finished “House of Cards”? If so, here are two reactions I recommend.
• Alan Sepinwall: In the end, Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’ good but not great
• Todd VanDerWerff: ‘House of Cards’ gets a B-
–Shane Nyman, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @shanenyman