Today is Valentine’s Day, or as it’s known for those with Netflix memberships, House of Cards Season 2 Day.
The second season of Netflix’s political potboiler is now available, meaning fans can stream the first new episode or all 13 installments in one fevered rush.
It’s binge viewing catnip, and the show remains the talk of the culture. Even President Barack Obama is Tweeting about it, and Netflix shrewdly targeted actual politicians via its House of Cards official Twitter account.
Compare it to the reaction Amazon Prime received for Alpha House, its original political comedy starring John Goodman. Both shows are set in the Nation’s Capital, and each is one of the earliest offerings from a streaming service.
Yet House of Cards instantly grabbed the imagination of TV watchers while Alpha House slipped into the pop culture conversation like a wallflower at prom.
The two shows are certainly different, with Cards going for the jugular and Alpha House teasing our funny bone. One other difference could explain part of the former’s crossover appeal. It’s a political show that doesn’t insult, demean or smite one particular party.
The same can’t be said for Alpha House, created by the liberal dream team of Garry Trudeau and Jonathan Alter. It takes shots at the GOP in between teasing the characters and caricatures who walk the halls of Congress.
Most networks lean left with their content. Some, like HBO, are unabashed in their progressive bent. Netflix, so far, is trying to stay centered when it comes to original fare. Even its recent documentary Mitt failed to mock a politician most other channels would have scorched for partisan purposes.
So far, that neutral stance appears to be working for the current streaming king.