House of Cards (Friday, Feb. 14, Netflix), season premiere: Falling between Arrested Development (“It’s back! But … huh?”) and Orange Is the New Black (“OMG! The greatest thing in the history of things!”) in the Netflix hype of 2013, the uneven debut season of political drama House of Cards was more fun if you didn’t think about it too hard. Some whined about star Kevin Spacey’s talk-to-the-camera asides as magnetically evil congressman Frank Underwood—but they provided many of the series’ best moments (and one provides one of the Season 2 premiere’s funniest moments). The less time you spend pondering the actions of Underwood’s power-couple counterpart (Robin Wright) and D.C. journoslut Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), the better, because the weirdness is escalating now that he’s vice president. (Veep, this aint.) All 13 new episodes go live at midnight, but pace yourself—it is Valentine’s Day, after all.
The Good Mistress (Saturday, Feb. 15, Lifetime), movie: If the political machinations of House of Cards seem farfetched, just hose out your brain with The Good Mistress, the latest in Lifetime’s ongoing—and, so far, impressive—campaign to become the No. 1 vendor of WTF? movies on cable. The setup: “A young woman (Annie Heise) struggling to recover from alcoholism moves to a new town, where her high school friend (Kendra Anderson) has offered her a job. After becoming involved with a mysterious gentleman (Antonio Cupo), she soon discovers that he is actually her friend’s husband, a candidate in the county elections and a suspect in a murder investigation.” So she’s the good mistress; he’s the bad guy; and he never gets the chance to simply look into the camera and explain himself. Not cool, Lifetime.
Star-Crossed (Monday, Feb. 17, The CW), series debut: It’s been a sucktastic launch season for The CW, as none of its new 2013-2014 series have caught on: Reign, The Originals and The Tomorrow People are barely being propped up on their respective nights by relative vets The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural and Arrow, and the midseason replacements look about as viable as a Sex and the City prequel … what, that happened? Upcoming March premiere The 100—about pretty future space kids exiled on abandoned Earth with, like, no Wi-Fi—at least has a semi-original concept, but Star-Crossed is really just Roswell: The Next Generation, wherein a group of E.T. teens are being integrated into a high school with human teens as a “social experiment” that neither side likes. Does an epic Romeo and Juliet romance unfold between earthling Emery (Amy Teegarden) and space-boy Roman (Matt Lanter)? Duh—it even says “an epic Romeo and Juliet romance unfolds” in The CW’s press release.
Tubbin’ With Tash (YouTube.com/Natasha): As 2014 shapes up to the year of Natasha Leggero—the tiny comedienne best known for guesting on Chelsea Lately, roasting James Franco on Comedy Central, and a current surreal arc on ABC’s Suburgatory as a normal, appropriate human not prone to discourses about her vagina—The Only TV Column That Matters
DVD ROUNDUP FOR FEB. 18!
A bored Silver Lake housewife (Kathryn Hahn) hires a homeless stripper (Juno Temple) as a live-in nanny and friend, and everyone learns Valuable Life Lessons. Well, the stripper doesn’t learn anything, because strippers have it all together. (Docurama)
Game of Thrones: Season 3
Robb Stark continues his battles beyond the wall; the wildings are still southbound; Daenerys Targaryen and the Dragons remain adorable; and, all anyone really cares about … The Red Wedding! (HBO)
“In the vein of Orange Is the New Black,” in that it’s about women in prison and … that’s it. Sara Malakul Lane stars as a new inmate sentenced for killing her abusive stepfather in self-defense; the usual violence and lesbian stuff ensue. (Asylum)
Nurse Jackie: Season 5
Now out of rehab, Jackie (Edie Falco) jumps into the new world of sobriety and, even worse, dating. Is she headed for a relapse? Like Aerosmith and Jane’s Addiction, Jackie’s only tolerable when on drugs, so (spoiler) yeah. (Lionsgate)
More New DVD Releases (Feb. 18)
Apocalypse Pompeii, Battle of the Damned, Deliverance From Evil, Don’t Pass Me By, Fists of Legend, The Ganzfeld Haunting, Hellbenders, The Invoking, Mad in Italy, Mortal Enemies, Random Acts of Violence.