I confess. I have been binge-watching TV series. Lately I have narrowed my watching mostly to The West Wing, an old favourite about a Democratic president, Jed Bartlet, which portrays the manic, day-to-day crisis management of the White House. But in my defence, I am doing so in part as an antidote to another series which I quit watching because the values it displayed and promoted were so execrable. The award-winningHouse of Cards stars Kevin Spacey as a ruthless congressman seeking revenge (and higher office) for being betrayed by "his" president. Both these series are exceptionally well-written and well-acted. But one actually features characters who are trying to accomplish laudable social objectives (for the most part) and who treat each other with genuine respect and even affection. House of Cards never allows such sentiment to prevail or even appear except as a reflection of weakness and naïveté. It's all about varying degrees of ruthlessness and we are clearly supposed to admire Spacey as a masterful practitioner of the Machiavellian arts.