When American political drama takes a dark turn, its source of inspiration is often British. No Brit could match the uplift of Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing, but no American could come up with anything as sardonic and cynical as Armando Iannucci's Veep.

Attempts to migrate the British political sensibility to America through film and TV have had mixed success. If you're lucky, you will have long forgotten the 1992 Eddie Murphy vehicle The Distinguished Gentleman, about a con man elected to congress because his name happens to be exactly the same as the representative who just died on the job. 

That flop was actually directed by Jonathan Lynn, who along with Antony Jay created Yes, Minister. The film tried to echo some of the spirit of that TV series ('THOMAS: Terry, tell me something. With all this money coming in from both sides, how does anything ever get done? TERRY: It doesn't. That's the genius of the system.') but was a critical failure with a feel-good ending that would have left Brits cringing.

Then there's the competent 2009 Russell Crowe thriller State of Play, about corruption in America's political-military-industrial complex, which was inspired by a (superior) British mini-series.

Now comes House of Cards, originally a memorable British mini-series about the reptilian Tory front bencher Sir Francis Urquhart. In the American version, Kevin Spacey gets that plum role. The trailer is above.