The second season of Netflix award-winning show House of Cards begins Friday, February 14. In the weeks leading up to the much anticipated premiere, Guillaume Faure, Joanny Causse and Rahman Kalfane brainstormed, analyzed, crunched numbers and created an interactive experience that fans of the show will love. It lets you immerse yourself in the show’s games of power, learn more about its main characters — and find out who poses the biggest threat to its protagonist, Frank Underwood. Here’s what the project’s authors told us about their creative process. We love the show and we’ve had a lot of conversations about it. We wanted to do something about Season 2: an informative online experience that gives viewers a synopsis about Season 1 and speculates about Season 2. An interactive visualization seemed to make the most sense.
Since Frank Underwood can’t really go any higher in the hierarchy for now and for the interest of the show, we decided our angle would be looking at who poses the biggest threat for him. We spent most of out time conceptualizing the project, thinking about what data we could collect, how to use it with purpose and how to integrate it in the overall project. We watched Season 1 several times to make sure we knew the show really well. Then we timed each character through the entire season, to figure out the total screen time they each had. Each scene of a TV show has a purpose and is supposed to bring something to the story, so we made the deduction that the more a character is on the screen the more he/she is important. We also tried to quantify three other type of information about each character. Level of knowledge about Frank, level of anger and level of power over Frank. Since it’s hard to put numbers on those things, for each category, we took who was the most (10 out of 10) and the least (1 out of 10) powerful, angry or informed and used those characters as references. We ranked all the other character in between based on notes we took about the show. Once we had all the information, we came up with an algorithm: Screen time×(Information+Anger+Power), which equaled a theoretical level of threat for Frank Underwood. We decided to support our analysis with video extracts that would, first, help people remember who is who and who is connected to whom and, second, support our given threat levels. We did this project for fun and we are satisfied with the outcome. We’re stoked to receive positive feedback from some of the actors, including Kate Mara and Michael Kelly!
— Kate Mara (@_KateMara) February 8, 2014
— Constance Zimmer (@oczimmer) February 9, 2014