Election Season on 'House of Cards'

“Democracy is so overrated.” — Frank Underwood

Netflix has been a major player in original content in the past few years, churning out a number of high profile series. But the series that started it all was "House of Cards." It's hard to believe, but four years ago it seemed shocking that Netflix could lure Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, and David Fincher into working on a television series for a streaming service.

Now tons of big name talent work on shows for Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and a number of other niche channels and streaming services. "House of Cards" might not be the best series on Netflix, but it's the original, and it's a pioneer of sorts.

Its third season, which dropped in February '15, left something to be desired. It felt meandering, off course, dry, and unsatisfying. It left some to wonder if the series was running out of steam. The fourth season, which dropped on March 4, proves otherwise. It's not as great or memorable as season one, but it's certainly more of a return to form for a show that will always be among the greats for the streaming service.

But what made season four strong? Here's a couple reasons to be excited about the fourth season of "House of Cards."

1. Frank and Claire are back and better than ever. Part of what made season three so rough was that Frank (Spacey) and Claire (Wright) were at odds, and often distant. Their stories weren't entirely compelling, either. What has made the series so great is their partnership. Sure, these two are married, but theirs isn't a great love affair. No, it's a perfect match of personalities and ambition. And, after smoothing the rough waters left in the wake of the season three finale, that's what we get more of in season four. That great partnership.

2. Michael Kelly is back in his role. What would Frank and Claire Underwood be without trusty chief of staff, and chief mischief officer, Doug Stamper (Kelly)? Not much. We saw that in season three, as the storyline had Doug on the sidelines for most of the action. In season four, he's back in the thick of things, and the flow is just so much better.

3. A tough new adversary. Joel Kinnaman — star of "The Killing" — takes on the role of Frank's Republican challenger this season. Kinnaman is a good actor, and a good foil for the Underwoods. That, too, is a step in the right direction.

4. Election Season. For the first time, we get to see Frank and Claire have to run for the office they've so far schemed to obtain. It adds a fun wrinkle to the series. Plus, who doesn't love a good televised election season? Sure beats the real one we're currently enduring.

5. The pressure is real. It's fair to say Frank and Claire have never been as close to being taken down and exposed as they are by the tie season four ends, and it's glorious. Part of the fun of the series has always been seen how much they can get away with, and season four sets up for the biggest challenge yet for these two to overcome in the future. I can't wait to see where it goes.


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