So if you’re anything like the rest of the people I surrounded myself with this weekend, you spend the last three days binge-watching House Of Cards. I know that because I only had time to watch one episode myself, so I spent the majority of my time clamping my hands over my ears and running out of rooms. It was actually pretty annoying, because I didn’t get to be in any of the conversations.
And I started thinking — this must be how everyone else feels all the time when I’m obsessing over season one with someone I know who watches the show. It must be pretty annoying to be left out of a cultural Netflix phenomenon like that just because you’re not that into the show. Because there are actually a lot of people like that out there. People who have given House Of Cards the old college try but just don’t really love it that much. They like it, sure, but it’s just missing a little something-something for them.
Are you one of those people? Because if you are, I’m really sorry. I’ve been kind of a dick to you in conversation, but all of that changes today. I’m ready to mend my ways, I’m ready to make you a priority and put your needs before my own, and most importantly…I’m ready to give you some suggestions of other TV shows you can watch on Netflix if HoC isn’t quite your thing.
For if you liked House Of Cards but wish it was a little…
1. More Realistic — The West Wing
This show is a star-studded Aaron Sorkin political drama that turned to actual former White House staffers to advise its plot arcs, so it’s extremely well-researched. And since it ran for seven seasons, earned three Golden Globes, twenty-six Emmys, and was well received by everyone from critics to poli sci professors, it’s safe to assume has the seal of approval from people who might think that the twists and turns in House Of Cards are a little unbelievable.
2. More Ridiculous — Scandal
Yearning for more romances and character reveals in an incredibly addictive package? You should definitely check out Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, professional fixer. She goes with her gut to take on PR-nightmare clients, and in absolutely no time the show is flush with betrayals, back-stabbing, cliff-hangers, and ever more-complicated secrets. Say what you will about the Underwoods, but at least you know they’re evil from the beginning.
3. More Thrilling — 24
Considering it’s shown in real-time, you’d be amazed how much danger and drama this show manages to cram into each episode. If you’re bothered by the amount of time Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood spends just sitting around and talking on House Of Cards, I can’t wait for you to meet Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, the renegade agent whose ‘ends justify the means’. In eight seasons, we only even saw him nap like once.
4. More Lawyers – Damages
There must be some of you guys sitting around going, ‘Oh man, I love this show, I just wish it had fewer politicians in it’, right?? Well then you should check out Glenn Close as a ruthless lawyer on Damages. It aired for five seasons, and each was mostly dedicated to one particular legal case, so if you find yourself distracted by all the competing plot lines on House Of Cards, this is the show for you.
5. More Attractive — White Collar
Leave it to the USA Network to stock their show full of premium hot-faces. Like HoC, this show is a thriller, just substituting FBI agents instead of politicians, and it will definitely keep your heart beat up. Even more so when you get a glimpse of Matt Bomer
as Neal Caffrey, the main character. OH DAMN GIRL.
6. More Historical — The Tudors
I haven’t actually watched this one, but Netflix recommended it to me after noticing how many times I’d watched House Of Cards, and computers are never wrong! It stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII, in case you like your political intrigue with British accents and a little historical context.
7. More Original — House Of Cards
Yeah, you read that right. This version of the show is actually a remake of the British original (I’ve heard that sentence before), which aired in 1990. Curious to see how many aspects of the shows overlap? Well you’re in luck, because it’s only four episodes. Easy to catch up!
8. More Athletic — Friday Night Lights
It was like pulling teeth for Robin Wright‘s character Claire Underwood just to get Frank on the rowing machine, but all the characters on this show are a little more motivated. Like, a lot more, because it’s centered around a high school where football is everything. Although this show never attained a sizable audience while it was on the air (no thanks to Connie Britton‘s hair, which is everything), it’s extremely critically-acclaimed, so you can feel smart while watching it.
9. More Humor — Arrested Development
You might think these shows have nothing in common, but you’d be dead wrong. They’re both complicated, intelligently-written masterpieces, and you have to pay close attention to both, unless you want to miss something. But once you are giving them the old eagle eye, Arrested Development’s fourth-yet-stand-alone season is way more likely to reward you with laughter, in case that’s your thing.
10. More Tears – Derek
If you like Netflix originals, you don’t have to go far to find Derek, a surprisingly touching contribution from Ricky Gervais. Just like House Of Cards, it’s never exactly what you think it’s going to be, and they talk directly to the camera. But unlike HoC, characters stand a chance of actually learning a touching lesson, and you’re more likely to end an episode in tears than in an open-mouthed gape.
11. Fewer Consequences — It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
Come along with me to a world in which characters treat each other just as shittily as they do on House Of Cards, but with zero percent of the consequences. They all but try to kill each other in every episode, and the next one starts with them having forgotten all that, trying to do it all over again. It’s a gentler sort of sabotage, and a funnier one.