TV in Trump's America

(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, and opinionated about something that makes us very happy…or fills us with indescribable rage. In this edition: the rise of political television in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency.)

It started with Nazi symbols strewn across public transportation and billboards across D.C. and New York. No, it wasn’t the alarming rise of anti-Semitic vandalism that had skyrocketed in the first three months of the Trump administration. It was advertising The Man in the High Castle, the dystopian Amazon series based off the 1962 Philip K. Dick novel set in an alternate 1960s where the Axis powers won World War II.

And it was just the beginning in a recent surge in “newly relevant” and timely TV shows that took on new meaning after the election of Donald Trump to the White House. The Man in the High Castle kicked off a spate of fictional TV shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale and American Gods, whose stories were conceived long before the White House was even a glimmer in Trump’s eye. But these science-fiction and fantasy stories, at first cautionary or highly theoretical tales, now take on an eerie prescience as fiction and reality collide on the small screen.

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house of cards season 5 trailer

I’m still a few seasons behind on Netflix’s House of Cards, so I can’t directly comment on the events showcased in the new trailer for the fifth season of the streaming service’s flagship series. However, I can say this much: this sure is one effective trailer, the kind of marketing that may nudge me into actually giving the show another shot after getting bogged down in the first episodes of season three. At the very least, the series seems to have transformed from “political thriller” to “vaguely apocalyptic political thriller about the total downfall of American democracy.”

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netflix skip intro

Don’t have time for a minute or two of opening credits while devouring a show on Netflix? Then hit the newly added skip intro button. You can now more easily – although it was easy in the first place – skip past some (pretty terrific) opening credits sequences on Netflix. Let’s take a closer look at Netflix’s new skip intro option.

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house of cards season 5

Netflix has released a bunch of teaser trailers and made a ton of announcements today, many of which we’ve already covered elsewhere on the site. One of the announcements is the casting of Oscar-nominated actress Patricia Clarkson (Green Mile, Pieces of April) and Campbell Scott (Big Night, Roger Dodger) in their hit political dramatic series House Of Cards. Learn more about their casting and see some House of Cards Season 5 photos, after the jump.

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house of cards season 5

Well, that’s one way to celebrate Inauguration Day.

As I type this sentence, Donald Trump is on the cusp of taking the oath of office and becoming the 45th President of the United States, so Netflix saw this as an opportune time to release the first House of Cards season 5 teaser. There is no actual footage here, no glimpse of Kevin Spacey‘s scheming Frank Underwood – just foreboding imagery, specifically an American flag being flown upside down…a sign of distress.

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netflix movie catalog

Netflix doesn’t release its viewership numbers. In fact, even people that work on the streaming service’s shows, like Kevin Spacey, don’t know exactly how many people have watched their work. Since Netflix doesn’t sell advertisements, they don’t feel obligated to release those figures. If they’re happy with the numbers — as they were with their most-watched movie ever, The Ridiculous Six — they don’t feel the need to boast about them. If they’re not pleased with viewership, then very few people outside of Netflix will ever know about it. Unless a show gets the ax, of course.

The streaming service hasn’t come out and said how many viewers their original content attracts, but the company has released the Netflix Binge Scale, revealing which shows are the most devoured (Sense8Grace & Frankie) or savored (DaredevilNarcos) by their customers.

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house of cards season 4 trailer

The results are in. House of Cards season 4 hit Netflix at exactly 12:01 AM Pacific time this morning, and the critics have now weighed in with their thoughts on the latest batch of episodes. Overall, the consensus is that House of Cards has re-embraced its soap opera roots, and is all the better for it. Robin Wright is getting particular praise for her turn as Claire, who finds herself at odds with husband Frank, and some of the new additions to the cast (including Ellen Burstyn and Cicely Tyson) have drawn positive notice as well.

On the flip side, it sounds like House of Cards hasn’t suddenly gotten more real-world political just because 2016 is an election year. Those hoping showrunner Beau Willimon will use his final season with the series to comment on the craziness of the current race for the White House will probably be disappointed, although those who just want to escape into drama and scandal and intrigue may find plenty to enjoy. Read a round-up of House of Cards season 4 reviews below.  Read More »

House of Cards

Netflix has named two new show runners for their original series House of Cards, replacing the show’s creator Beau Willimon. The streaming service is promoting two of the senior writers who have been working on the show since 2014. The new House of Cards showrunners will be Melissa James Gibson (whose plays include PlaceboWhat Rhymes with AmericaThis, [sic], Suitcase or, Those that Resemble Flies from a Distance and Brooklyn Bridge) and Frank Pugliese (whose theater work includes Aven’U Boys, The King of ConnecticutThe TalkThe AlarmThe Democracy Project). Read the full press release, after the jump.

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new Daredevil movie

Did anyone else spend his or her time this weekend binge-watching Love? Did anyone else watch it twice on Netflix? I did, because the relationship comedy is just that good, and also because I’m not sure how to feel about the season finale yet. It’s a great and honest show, and one to watch right away if you haven’t yet.

There isn’t a whole lot more content coming to Netflix to enjoy next month, but two of the streaming platform’s most popular shows return this March.

Find out what they are below.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

house of cards season 4 trailer

I’ve joked a few times about Netflix‘s approach to marketing the fourth season of House of Cards, which has mostly entailed them nothing at all. There has been some viral marketing and some vague teasers, but otherwise, the the streaming service’s flagship series has been awfully quiet for a pop culture juggernaut that is less than a month away.

And right on cue, the first proper House of Cards season 4 trailer has arrived. Don’t give Netflix too much credit, though – this is still very much a teaser. They know they have a built-in audience for this show no matter what they show off in previews.

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