Are screenwriting "rules" harming House of Cards?

I've started the show a few days ago and I've been into it since the pilot. Which is really odd. Usually, good series need some time to build up on you and get you hooked, like Mad Men, Rome and many other classics. But HoC gets you from the first episod.

Now, if you haven't watched the series, I urge you to stop reading because there are gonna be some major spoilers.
I, myself, haven't watched the whole season yet (two or three eps to go) but I'm really unhappy on the direction the plot is taking.

The main attraction in HoC for me was into watching Francis, a competent and ruthless congressman, play politics to achieve his selfish goals. He is so competent he can predict other people's actions, boast about it while looking at the camera and even lecture the viewer about various topics. And I loved it because he is successful so he earned the right to lecture.

But, from the moment that CWI bill was defeated, everything is going in the opposite direction. His strong alliance with his very intelligent wife is falling apart, his strong stranglehold on Zoe completely vanished and Russo, who's been the main plot for the last few episodes is being fed to the dogs. So what's left ? Well Francis is unhappy. But he's still talking condescendently to the camera, lecturing the viewer. Except the viewer doesn't take lectures from losers.

The way I see it, HoC went from a refreshing TV show about politics to a boring story we've heard a million times. I blame this on screenwriting "rules" (if such a thing exists). I was happy with Francis being a rooster in a henhouse. I wanted to see him overthrow obstacles and witness how far he is willing to go to achieve his goals. But it seems an always successful man can't make it into a screenplay. You HAVE to destroy him at some point. This unwritten rule used to be fun, in Star Wars, LOTR and other great adventures but it just doesn't work for me in here. It kind of reminds me of How I Met Your Mother. It used to be about how Ted met different women who happened not to be the mother. But a few seasons after, it stopped being about that at all and everybody just stopped watching. Except in this case, the original premise vanished after 9 episodes.

We have no empathy for Francis. He is a selfish scumbag and the only thing that makes him interesting is to see him crush his opponents and steer things his direction, while being scandalously scornful. You take all of that away and what do we have left to watch the show for ?
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