business news in context, analysis with attitude

It took me about five days of consistent, dedicated effort, but I managed to plow through the entire fourth season of "House of Cards," which began streaming on Netflix a week ago. (It was a tough job, but somebody has to do it.) I'm here to report that as "House of Cards" has evolved, it increasingly has become part of the theater of the absurd. more "Macbeth" than "The West Wing," an exploration of depravity, greed, and incipient despotism in the Washington ruling class. (I'd vote for President Jed Bartlet over President Frank Underwood in a second, but I'd love to see the two of them in a primary debate.)

And it is absolutely captivating - a guilty pleasure, to be sure, but a highly watchable indictment of politicians and the political system that loves to wallow around the muck of outsized personal ambition and its consequences. "House of Cards" never makes one feel good about the system it portrays, but it also is never less than entertaining in its cynicism.

Working on the assumption that most people reading this have not yet had the chance to watch all 13 new episodes, I will avoid giving away any plot points that might ruin things for you. But I can say that Kevin Spacey continues to give a career-defining performance as the craven President Frank Underwood, whose initials tell you everything about his character that you need to know. And more than ever, Robin Wright is his equal - and even, sometimes, his better - as his wife, Claire. The supporting cast is, as always, fine.

One of the extraordinary things about this season of "House of Cards" is how there are events and issues that almost give one whiplash because of how they mirror things in the news almost every day ... and yet, the series was written and shot months ago, which means that Beau Willimon, who has developed and overseen the show since it began, deserves some sort of award for almost scary prescience.

Here's the thing about "House of Cards." As soon as we finished watching the final moments of season four, we were simultaneously dismayed by the system and people that it portrays so vividly, and disappointed that we'll have to wait a year or so for season five.

Now, I get to watch the second season of "Bosch," the adaptation of the Michael Connelly novel that begins streaming the 10 episodes of its second season today, exclusively on Amazon.


I have a couple of nice reds to recommend to you this morning ... the 2012 Le Cinciole Chianti Classico, which we had the other night when I made lasagne, and it had that great peasant food appeal of a wonderful chianti ... and the 2012 Recuerdo Malbec, from Argentina, which has a nice rich spiciness that went well with a beef stew that I made.

That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.

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