There are some bizarre reviews in here. "One-dimensional characters", "lacking in originality", "disgusting", etc. It strikes me that these comments are coming from people too precious and blinded by patriotism to assess the show without bias, and those unable to appreciate and understand the show.
It's because of the latter bunch that Arrested Development was originally cancelled, so ignore them.
Anyway, this show is packed full of excellent acting performances - the best of whom, in my opinion, is Robin Wright's character. It's laughable that anyone would make the criticism of one-dimensional characters with her on the cast - how much depth and uniqueness do people need in a character? She is loving, ruthless, loyal, manipulative, deceptive and caring all at once. Her performance is up there with Edie Falco's as Carmela Soprano, and is in general one of the best female TV acting performances there has been to date. Spacey also is obviously excellent, and a great introduction to the cast as the plot developed was Gerald McRaney, who somehow manages to heighten the shows general level of filthiness as soon as he is introduced.
As for the plot, the show is wonderfully paced (with the exception of one misstep midway through the first season). There are no explosions or bloodbaths, but it is utterly compelling watching Underwood slither through government, poisoning every corner of it with his influence, gradually moving everything into place for him and his wife. On top of that, as with any great show, the show casts off key characters in shocking circumstances and does not suffer a drop in quality. I was left open mouthed at one point for example in a way I haven't been since watching The Wire, and I would recommend the show for that moment alone.
So yeah, ignore the hysteria and exaggerated criticism. I'm not trying to come off as some sort of arrogant, superior 'TV-watcher', but these views are coming from people who either have no idea what they're on about, or are not watching the show with a clear perspective. This is a show about ambitious politicians in the US government fighting for power - what do people expect? Do people really think politicians are like how they are in The West Wing? Spacey's character in this is unprecedented in terms of corruption and deceit, but I'd be concerned if people thought the rest of the cast were far off being representative of the real thing. Politicians can be ruthless, fake and disingenuous, and House of Cards does a fine job of illustrating that.