"I love that woman. I love her more than sharks love blood." --House of Cards.
It looks like House of Cards is officially my post-tooth-pulling recovery show. I'm half way through the first season, and I started watching on Wednesday. To borrow a Star Trek reference, it's like a Mirror Universe version of West Wing; high level politics, but instead of idealistic principles, everyone's naive, vicious, or both. I imagine a full 24 episode season of the show would be pretty depressing, regardless of how Kevin Spacey and the rest of the cast are knocking it out of the park, but 12 episodes sounds about right. As a side note, between this and Mad Men and Breaking Bad, I think television's getting a lot better at showing tragedies, in a Shakespearean sense--compelling, but horribly flawed characters, getting by in one way or another.
And yes, I know Sopranos did it first, and probably many shows before it, but the difference is that *I'm* watching these shows. And of course, my involvement makes all the difference.