HouseofCardsWe’ve heard of straight to DVD, but straight to Netflix? A new and emerging trend in original programming is bypassing network television and going straight to online platforms. Netflix is ahead of the game in the race to produce and host online content. Their newest “online only” series is House of Cards, directed by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey. Spacey plays Representative Francis Underwood, a ruthless politician on a crusade against the presidential administration that turned its back on him.

House of Cards isn’t the first, nor will it be the last series to be made available only through an online host. Netflix currently has three other series in the works. The first being the wildly popular reboot of Arrested Development, which is set to drop in 2013. Other Netflix series include Hemlock Grove (2012) and Orange Is the New Black (2013).

Arrested Development, originally airing on Fox in 2003-2006, ended its run after three seasons. The fourth, and newest season will premier in May 2013. This season will only be offered online and the whole season will be made available at once.

Original programing is entering new and uncharted waters. Huge budgets are no longer necessary to create high quality programming. Content creators have more freedom and less network restrictions with the emergence of more delivery platforms.

Some of the best shows are no longer “seen on TV.” House of Cards premiers on Netflix tonight.