TV SCOOP! Robin Wright-Penn, Kevin Spacey To Star In Netflix Series (That’s Right… NETFLIX Series)… House Of Cards

THR is reporting that Robin Wright is in early negotiations to play opposite Kevin Spacey on Netflix’s first original series, House of Cards.  House of Cards is a an hour-long political thriller based on the novel and British mini-series from 1990 of the same time.

To us, as great as the concept and the cast sounds, more importantly is the fact that Netlfix is taking the networks head-on and further redefining contemporary television by continuing the trend that we predicted was occurring with the Kiefer Sutherland Hulu-exclusive web series, The Confession.

If you question how big this is or if it will be successful or if this trend of alternative source television is just a fad, keep in mind that Netflix with their 20 million-plus subscribers outbid both AMC and HBO for this series.  That along with the two main leads tells us, as usual, that Netflix is at the forefront of trends and is sitting the standard for home entertainment for the future.

A note to the Networks: Netflix has effectively destroyed Blockbuster and forced every other video rental company out of business (with the exclusion of Red Box).  They’re gunning for you next and don’t think that they can’t win.

The Confession (Hulu)

Created by and starring Kiefer Sutherland, The Confession is a story of unique redemption and an exploration of good and evil featuring a hit man (Kiefer Sutherland), and a priest (John Hurt). The story begins on Christmas Eve, when the hit-man enters a church to confess his sins to the priest. Through a series of gripping flashbacks, the Confessor’s journey is revealed – laying out what has brought him to this moment and leading the audience to the dramatic ending where the man’s chances at ultimate redemption hang in the balance. While at first the Confessor seems to be an evil, cold-blooded killing machine and the Priest the ultimate arbiter of good, as the series develops it becomes clear that both characters are much more complicated than either could have suspected. – Hulu

9 out of 10

NOTE: As an added bonus, all links to shows and films in this review link to the actual shows and films on YouTube or Netflix.  Enjoy!

Last month we told you about the new, ten-part web series called The Confession starring Golden Globe and Emmy Award Winning Kiefer Sutherland (24, The Sentinel) and two-time Academy Award nominee, John Hurt (The Elephant Man, Midnight Express) in which a hitman (Sutherland) in a confessional has a metaphysical (it’s defnitely more metaphysical than theological, despite the show description) debate with a priest (Hurt) about right and wrong, good and evil, faith and doubt and the existence of God.  We had high hopes for this because it looked just so damned juicy and of course, simply look at the players involved.  How can one not be excited?

An Evil Jack Bauer? Fascinating...

The Confession has completely exceeded our expectations as far as suspense, intrigue and production values are concerned.  “The Hitman” (that’s the actual name of Sutherland’s character as Hurt’s is “The Priest.”) is literally the Jack Bauer from the alternate universe form the original Star Trek episode, Mirror, Mirror.  It’s as if Jack Bauer had two choices in life: go work for the government and use his particular brand of emotionless professionalism to protect his country and kill bad guys or become a dispassionate sociopath who works in organized crimes and kills random people for a living.  This Jack Bauer chose the latter.  I really can’t emphasize enough just how similar the two characters are so if you ever wondered how Bauer would be as a villain, here he is.

But, holy crap does this work.  The Hitman is cold, calculating and half of the adventure is just trying to figure out what his ulterior motive is, because we know he has one.  He wants to understand faith, but that’s not all, and we learn about his life through a series of flashbacks, each more contradictory than the last.  Hurt is brilliant in playing the role of the parish priest who starts out this conversation out of fear for his life and the lives of his parishioners but eventually it’s clear that The Priest is as fascinated with how this man became who he is and if he can help in find redemption.  It also becomes quite clear that The Priest is no more what he seems to be on the surface than The Hitman is. This Yin and Yang back and forth is beyond compelling.  Simply imagine if Jesus and Lucifer sat down in a coffee shop and had a conversation and Jesus is trying to convince Lucifer to come home.  It is simply amazing how good this series is at captivating its audience for eight minutes at a time, once per week.

And this is the only thing we hate about this show and we took a point off because of it.  We want more.   Playing out more like a full length feature film shown in segments, this eight minutes at a time business is just not cutting it and then after the eight minutes is up, we have to wait another week?  The upside is that we waited for the first seven episodes to air before we watched it so we got to see them back-to-back.  The downside is that we still have three more episodes to go and we may pull our hair out in between episodes.  We hope when this is released on Blu-Ray that they’ll combine the ten parts into one episode.

With Emmy Award winning Sean Callery (24) providing the soundtrack to put the cherry on top, The Confession is one show that you can’t miss and we believe it’s going to revolutionize the concept of episodic dramatic television.  We just hope that the next series like this on the Interwebs gets some major financing and actually gives us full 45 minute episodes.  Note to the networks: if it’s as good as this we will watch the flippin’ commercials!

Watch full length episodes of The Confession, here, but be warned; you’ll wish you had waited until all of the episodes had aired so you could watch them in sequence with no gaps.

TV-SCOOP! Kiefer Sutherland, John Hurt To Star In 10-Part Webisode Series, The Confession

Actually, this news has been around for about a month but we’ve been kind of busy and it completely slipped under our radar until we saw a segment about it on Extra or the Insider or Entertainment Tonight or whatever crappy tabloid entertainment show that happened to be running in the background last night when we were eating our 39-cent Del Taco plain tacos.

So, apparently, 24 star, Kiefer Sutherland is starring on a Hulu exclusive, 10-part webisode series about a hitman who has a theological discussion with a priest (Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee, John Hurt) about why his victims deserved to die. We gotta say, this looks wicked cool.

From the recent piece on EW Online,

“In all fairness, it looks fantastic,” Sutherland said of the web series, which he is exec producing with [Digital Broadcasting Group‘s CEO Chris] Young, Joseph Gomes and Maura Mandt. ”We shot it in the fifth-largest snow storm. It was pretty amazing.”

To us, as fantastic as it looks, what’s even more important is the standard that it has the potential to set.  The discussion over bringing serious television and film content to the Internet exclusively for release has been around for a few years now but never quite with this degree of seriousness in cast and production values.  Also, putting it on Hulu and not on a network site says a lot about how these new innovators want to use new-media outlets for traditional entertainment.   This really is groundbreaking stuff, here.

Chris Young said this in a recent press-release:

“The Confession sets a precedent for what is possible in original webisodic content. Never before has something of this magnitude and motion picture quality come to the third screen. I’m thrilled to be working with such A-list talent and top-tier sponsors to finally capture and crystallize the seismic shift in how content of this caliber is released, distributed and enjoyed by an audience that will rival that of a hit television series.” 

He’s got it, alright.  This may change television forever.

No word on an exact date, but when we find out, we’ll let you know.