I always loved the British book - less so the mini series, which seemed to simplify it, but it had that superb lead performance. This Americanisation has Kevin Spacey in terrific form as Frank Underwood, scheming his way to the top, talking to the audience Richard III style - a device which I don't always like but which works excellently here.
There's some brilliant moody photography, nil sexual chemistry between Spacey and Kate Mara (who's really good), a gallery of excellent actors I wasn't particularly familiar with which added to its freshness (for instance that bald guy). Robin Wright is also a stand out. The ending is a bit flat - it gives up its awesomeness to ep one and season 2.