When it first premiered on Netflix, House of Cards was lauded for its dark portrayal of American politics. Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) has been our sinister tour guide through the labyrinthine relationships of Washington, D.C. Five seasons later, the series has lost some of its sensationalism: At times, the show pales in comparison to the news.
Though Netflix’s House of Cards bears striking similarity to current events, the story’s been around for quite some time. Like many of America’s most popular TV shows, from The Office to Shameless, the initial version of House of Cards hails from the U.K.
Airing on the BBC in 1990, the British House of Cards is a miniseries based on a novel by a former political insider, Michael Dobbs. From Dobbs' first-hand knowledge came one of the most singular political minds in TV history: chief whip Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson). The only character more chilling than Francis Urquhart is our American friend, Frank Underwood.
As you'll see, the American House of Cards drew heavily from its British counterpart. Here's what the shows have in common.
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