Netflix's flagship original series House of Cards is back for a third season, dropping into an escalating war over original content.

As with previous seasons, all 13 episodes of House of Cards season 3 are available for streaming immediately. The show centers politician Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) as he tries to scheme his way from Congress to the presidency.

At 39 episodes total, the political thriller currently stands as Netflix's largest original series. It's also arguably the most successful, having won four Emmy awards and two Golden Globes over its first two years. Netflix doesn't reveal viewership numbers for its original series, but metrics firm Procera estimated that two to three million people watched at least one episode during season 2's debut weekend last year.

Why this matters: House of Cards arrives as Netflix and Amazon dump increasingly vast resources into their own original programming. Both streaming services are working on new high-profileTV shows to fortify their existing stable, and are even expanding into originalfilms. House of Cards is arguably the show that kicked off the trend, proving that releasing entire ad-free seasons all at once can be a killer model for Internet video.