TV Review: ‘House of Cards,’ Season 3

February 18, 2015 8:26 PM

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“House of Cards” returns, and in terms of classy actors in a high-stakes setting, it’s solidly entertaining. Still, the series that set Netflix on the path to programming prestige also feels played out, as if it should have retired without seeking a third term. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright remain splendid as the central couple, but with their quest for power having succeeded, series architect Beau Willimon seems forced to resort to unconvincing contortions to maintain the drama. Even then, the first half of Season 3 feels flimsy, having essentially morphed into an inordinately ruthless version of “The West Wing.”

Those caught up on the first two seasons will know by now that Spacey’s Frank Underwood wheedled and schemed his way from Congress to the vice presidency to the Oval Office, knocking down a surprisingly ineffective assortment of barriers to his ascent. Indeed, a lingering criticism of the show is th...

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