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Viewers are no longer at the mercy of networks for TV

Typically, every year I'll write about the fall season TV programs and how excited I am that my favs are back on after the long summer hiatus. Only problem this year is there were no favorite programs coming back on.

"Scandal" dropped off the face of the earth for a good long minute. "Nashville" was canceled. "The Good Wife" ended. "Castle" was a ritual that my daughter who moved off to college and I shared. I was stuck with "Designated Survivor," a new show on ABC Wednesday nights, and not much else.

Incidentally, "DS" is a decent show, but I fell off the wagon early on and haven't seen it in weeks. I may or may not try to catch up.

Anyway, the famine was broken last week when (don't judge) "The Bachelor" came back on for a new season. Sure, it's cheesy and sleazy all rolled into one, but I can't and won't stop watching it. For one thing, it's a mild obsession I share with both my daughters, plus I REALLY want to know if Nick is capable of finding true love.

Don't worry ... that is all I have to say about that.

But I'm coming around to the idea that I don't have to be at the mercy of the networks anymore. I went to the cool, cutting-edge side of life recently and bought a Fire Stick, something I don't completely understand but am starting to get into.

Because the latest thing, people, is binge-watching a TV series that you've never heard of, is produced from remote networks you didn't know existed, and that are better than anything you'll ever see on prime time.

Having said that, kudos to NBC for its series, "This Is Us." I completely missed the memo on this family dramedy, and it is an absolute delight. For my most recent binge-watch, I caught eight episodes on the Fire Stick with my daughter this past week. Look for this show on NBC Tuesday nights. I could be wrong, but I think episode 11 is coming up.

Over the holidays we also (binge) watched "Stranger Things," an eight-episode first season series from Netflix. The first episode and a half I was totally creeped out and not sure I could handle it, but after that I was hooked in a big way.

Think I might have just a tad too much time on my hands? Again, don't judge.

My first experience with binge-watching came about five years ago with the show "House." I had started watching it and was hooked when one of the networks ran a "House" marathon weekend. Not my finest moment  I watched myself into a sort of "House" coma. Still, I confess to considering revisiting that show, except there are so many other good options out there once you make the leap to streaming versus cable.

After I had cardiac arrest and got out of the hospital, my daughters were in bed with me at night for a while and got me hooked on late-night "Friends" reruns, which remains one of my dirty little secrets to this day. To make it even worse, I used the Fire Stick to skim over all 11 seasons to catch any that I may have missed.

I know. There are support groups for people like me.

Incidentally, "Scandal" is scheduled to return to ABC Jan. 19, "Nashville" is now on CMT (though I haven't looked for it yet), and "The Good Wife" has a spinoff called "The Good Fight" coming up in February.

Here's to great TV, and hopefully a good book mixed in there somewhere.

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