For its first four season, House of Cards was a bit of perversely enjoyable entertainment. It positioned Washington, D.C. as the epicenter of absolute evil with Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) the ringleader of utter ruthlessness. But when the show returns for its fifth season, it will be entering into a much darker universe where the rules of political gravity no longer hold sway. We could always keep Frank at arm’s length because his antics were larger than life. Unfortunately, we now have a former reality star in the White House who would be a powerful authoritarian if he weren’t so lazy and stupid.
So where does that leave House of Cards? Judging by the new trailer for the upcoming season (which will be the first under new showrunners Melissa James Gibson and Frank Pugliese, who are taking over for Beau Willimon), it’s going to lean hard into left-wing fears generated by the Trump Administration. The trailer shows “Never Underwood” signs and has Frank pontificating about never letting go of the White House. While our current reality is terrifying, it’s terrifying because our President is a narcissistic moron, not some evil genius planning to live in the White House forever.
With Willimon out and the political landscape having changed so drastically since last year’s season, it’s hard to care about whatever House of Cards is offering. It’s a show for a different time, and while that show would obviously go on regardless of who won the White House, reality doesn’t favor what Netflix is offering. Since the streaming service doesn’t release its viewership numbers, it’s impossible to know how the new season will perform compared to past years, but I assume viewers are less than eager to spend 13 more hours looking at a different political hellscape.
Check out the House of Cards Season 5 trailer below. The new season premieres on Netflix on May 30th and also stars Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Jayne Atkinson, Neve Campbell, Derek Cecil, Paul Sparks, and Joel Kinnaman.