TV re­view Has House of Cards come tum­bling down?

The Herald Magazine - - Arts TELEVISION - LORNE JACK­SON

KEVIN Spacey – re­mem­ber him? Course you do. Net­flix, how­ever, would rather you didn’t. If you de­cide to watch the lat­est, and fi­nal, sea­son of House of Cards, Net­flix hopes your re­sponse will be some­thing like: “Well, golly-gosh, wasn’t that grip­ping! Much bet­ter than when was­sis­name was in it. Y’know, that Os­car-win­ning su­per­star bloke. The one who chewed up scenery like it was Hubba Bubba, and spat out lesser act­ing tal­ents (that is, every­body else) like they were wa­ter­melon seeds jammed in his shark-sharp teeth.”

Yup, Kevin Spacey has de­parted House of Cards. And, boy, does it show.

Maybe he had to go. There were al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual im­pro­pri­ety from var­i­ous sources. No court of law was in­volved, no guilty ver­dict. But Twit­ter Town was mighty twitchy (when is it not?) and Spacey was air­brushed from the show­biz fam­ily al­bum.

Such is Hol­ly­wood pol­i­tics. Pol­i­tics is also the name of the game in House

of Cards, of course. More specif­i­cally, the pur­suit of pres­i­den­tial power. In pre­vi­ous sea­sons Frank Un­der­wood (Spacey) achieved his White House goal, then lost the top spot due to al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion. Sea­son five’s cliffhanger had Un­der­wood’s wife Claire be­com­ing pres­i­dent and at log­ger­heads with hubby. All was set for a thrilling fi­nal sea­son, with Frank and Claire bat­tling for con­trol of Amer­ica, the west­ern world and per­haps even the en­tire known uni­verse. (This is State­side TV, re­mem­ber. No place for Hubris Lite.)

None of the above can hap­pen now, of course. So in­stead, Frank’s been mur­dered, leav­ing Claire to wage war on lesser mor­tals, in­clud­ing a cor­rupt busi­ness clan in­tent on con­trol­ling the White House. Robin Wright, as Claire,

about her fam­ily’s se­cret his­tory, but the Doc­tor is more con­cerned by tales of de­mons haunting the di­vided coun­try.

Es­cape to the Chateau (Chan­nel 4, 8.30pm)

Dick Straw­bridge and his part­ner An­gel Adoree, along with their two chil­dren Arthur and Dorothy, throw open the shut­ters of their French chateau for a new sea­son. Spring is in the air in Pays de la Loire and there are some rather un­usual plans afoot. It’s the cou­ple’s fourth year in France and they’re keen to take the in­te­rior magic of the 19th-cen­tury chateau out­side, by cre­at­ing a lux­u­ri­ous glamp­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. But with the first guests booked to ar­rive at the 45-bed­room cas­tle in just six weeks’ time, have the pair taken on too much?

They Shall Not Grow Old (BBC2, 9.30pm)

Os­car-win­ning di­rec­tor Peter Jack­son, the man be­hind The Lord of the Ring and Hob­bit films, is no stranger to epic, am­bi­tious projects, but this doc­u­men­tary may be his most re­mark­able to date as he sets out to bring the First World War to life in a way that’s never been seen be­fore. The film­maker has used orig­i­nal footage from the Im­pe­rial War Mu­seum’s film ar­chive and au­dio from the BBC to show the re­al­i­ties of war. Jack­son has colourised the film and trans­formed it with mod­ern pro­duc­tion tech­niques.

Bri­tain’s Pop­pies: The First World War Re­mem­bered (STV, 9.30pm)

The story be­hind the art in­stal­la­tion of more than

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