Netflix’s House of Cards has been renewed for season 5 which will take place under a new showrunner. Series creator Beau Willimon felt it was time to move on after five years spent creating and shepherding the fictional beltway kingdom of Frank Underwood. Kevin Spacey has signed on to continue his role and the show released the news in find Underwood form.
We're not done yet. pic.twitter.com/GlegXjbKdX
— House of Cards (@HouseofCards) January 28, 2016
Season 4 doesn’t start until March 4 but this kind of early renewal has precedence – season 3 was purchased just prior to season 2. Though Netflix doesn’t officially release ratings or viewing numbers it’s widely believed that the political drama is one of their strongest performing original shows.
Haters quickly jumped on the announcement, criticizing the show’s recent seasons:
@HouseofCards Should have ended it in season 3 like the original.
— Sarlacc Palin (@Palin) January 28, 2016
— Rafael Fonseca (@rafaelmagu) January 28, 2016
However, critics liked season 2, bumping it’s Metacritic score from 75 to 80 and holding steady on Rotten Tomatoes at 85% fresh. It slipped slightly in season 3 but the show still has plenty of fans, and only stands to gain buzz as we move into an election year.
Willimon adapted Cards from a 1990 BBC show set in the period following Margaret Thatcher’s term as Prime Minister. As an Academy Award nominated screenwriter for The Ides of March, his insider view on politics can partly be attributed to stints in his early years working on campaigns for Hillary Clinton, Bill Bradley, and Howard Dean. He’s also traveled extensively, but has an unusual flair for reigning in his big-picture worldview, allowing it to serve as an underscore to the very flawed, very human characters.
Deadline is speculating about ongoing production problems that Netflix is using to force Willimon out – which would be a shame, since original programming model set up by HoC has served them so well – but in the public arena the network and showrunner are remaining cordial. On is Twitter he addressed fans:
Thanks everyone for all the kind words. There's no show without the fans & you're the best fans imaginable. Excited for you all to see S4!
— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) January 29, 2016
He also released a politically correct statement thanking everyone involved (MRC is the production company.) “I’m grateful to Netflix and MRC, my fellow executive producers, our two incandescent stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, our talented writers, as well as the incredible cast and crew with whom I’ve had the privilege to work. After five years and four seasons, it’s time for me to move on to new endeavors, but I’m supremely proud of what we’ve built together, wish the show much continued success, and leave it in the hands of a very capable team.”
Neflix has been equally polite, stating, ““Netflix and MRC owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Beau Willimon for his strong narrative vision for House of Cards over the show’s first four seasons. As an Academy Award nominated writer, he made his first foray into television and built a riveting and critically acclaimed series, establishing his place in TV history. The producers, cast and crew join us in wishing Beau the best in his next creative adventure.”