Netflix buys its first original series

Just a few hours ago, we posted our weekly Netflix Files column, which featured a brief introductory note describing the appeal of streaming serial dramas.

Yesterday, Netflix brokered a deal that aims to revolutionize television altogether. In an unprecedented move, Netflix outbid expected buyer HBO to purchase one of the most anticipated TV shows in development, House of Cards.

The serial political drama is an adaptation of a popular 1990 BBC miniseries of the same name. The American version is set to star Kevin Spacey, two-time Oscar-winning actor (The Usual Suspects, American Beauty). Spacey’s last regular TV role was on the underappreciated ’80s cop drama Wiseguy as criminal billionaire Mel Profitt. (To give you a time bearing here, his main henchman’s catchphrase was calling people “Buckwheat,” and everyone thought that was f**king badass.)

Oh yeah, and the pilot for House of Cards is being directed by David Fincher, director of The Social Network and Fight Club. He and Spacey previously collaborated on Se7en back in 1995, and Spacey produced The Social Network.

The deal secures Netflix’s exclusive rights to the series, and a 26-episode order (that’s two seasons, roughly $4-6 million an episode). The pilot hasn’t even been filmed yet. A two-season straight-to-series order has never been done before. It’s a risky, $100 million+ move, but, if it pays off, it could change the way television operates forever. The episodes are expected to be offered via Watch Instantly, in serial mode. With quality original programming under its belt, Netflix should be able to boost its subscriber base considerably.

Just another reason Netflix rocks.

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