Thursday, February 05, 2015

Time Out Thursday - Netflix: The Greatest Invention Since Sliced Bread

We're delighted to welcome LoveInspired Suspense author Alison Stone to the Pink Heart Society, as she raves about binge-watching shows on Netflix...

As I type this, I’m watching Season 1: Episode 9 of Gilmore Girls with my teenager daughter sitting next to me. Yes, believe it or not, I didn’t catch Gilmore Girls the first time around. Now I’ve watched nine episodes over the past three days.

Don’t judge.

I fully admit, I’ve always been a TV addict. Growing up, I watched Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Eight Is Enough, Love Boat, Fantasy Island… If the show was on NBC, ABC, or CBS, I watched it. (We didn’t have cable. Not because it didn’t exist, but because my parents didn’t believe in paying for something you could watch for free. My parents were very smart!) 

Eighties TV rocked even without cable. I wasn’t fussy. There was also General Hospital and St. Elsewhere and Knots Landing and Hart to Hart and Quincy, M.E....

Stop me!

Gee, I really did watch a lot of TV.

After I graduated from college and moved into my own house, it was all about cable: Sex and the City, Six Feet Under, and countless reruns of all my favorite ABC, NBC, and CBS shows on stations like TBS and USA. Love me some Seinfeld and Wings. Oh, oh…and then along came the DVR. Then I could watch King of Queens whenever I needed a Kevin James fix. And I didn’t have to rush the kid’s bedtime routine for the start of The Good Wife

My world was rocked once again about a year ago when I subscribed to Netflix online streaming service. Who knew the pleasures of watching not just one full episode of a show WITHOUT commercials, but an entire season of shows without commercials? 

Remember the old days when you watched an episode of 90210 or Melrose Place and then had to wait an entire week to find out what happened between your favorite characters? Or remember the summer of “Who shot JR?” (Dallas redefined TV cliffhangers.) 

Or remember how you had to rearrange your day to make sure you had an uninterrupted hour to watch the TV show at the appointed time and heaven forbid if someone called during the show? The nerve.

The advent of streaming services has revolutionized my life. I’m not kidding.

Depending on the stage of my writing (usually during the first draft), I like to watch TV. Now I can turn on Netflix for hours and never have to get up to change the channel. (Well, I suppose the remote control was truly responsible for a generation of couch potatoes prior to Netflix coming on the scene, but that’s beside the point.) 

One of the cool things about Netflix is discovering shows that somehow escaped me the first time around. My younger daughter and I watched all episodes of Bones, no small feat. (Bones just started season 10.) 

Then, since we had such a crush on David Boreanaz, we decided to try Buffy. Never one to enjoy the paranormal and all things vampire, I wasn’t naturally drawn to Buffy. But, oh man, don’t judge a show by a genre. Buffy is awesome. The writing is clever, the dialogue is funny, and it’s campy TV at its best. I’m glad I caught this one. 

Then there’s Angel. (Do you know Joss Whedon has a blog with a guide on the correct viewing order of Buffy and Angel, two overlapping series?)

I’ve discovered I rarely watch live TV anymore because it involves commercials and waiting…. I don’t like to wait.

I used to feel guilty about my TV habit especially when it came to writing while I watched TV. That was, until I spoke to a NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author who told me she writes while watching TV. 

She’s convinced all the TV storylines flowing into her head get all mixed up and created new stories on the page. I’m not sure why watching TV and writing works for me. Maybe because it keeps my “hands on the keyboard and my butt in the chair.” Sometimes I do have to turn off the TV and quiet my mind to really focus on revisions. But that’s okay. Netflix will still be there when I’m done. 

Speaking of which, Season 1: Episode 10 of Gilmore Girls is starting. Shhh…I don’t want to hit pause. Rory’s grandfather is in the hospital.

Are you a Netflix subscriber? Have you discovered any “old” shows that I can add to my must watch list?

 Alison Stone's latest book, Plain Peril, is available now:

After her sister is found dead and her brother-in-law goes missing, Hannah Wittmer rushes back to the Amish community she abandoned to care for her young nieces. 
Although she makes every effort to blend in, she's still seen as an outsider—and quickly attracts the attention of a killer. She knows Sheriff Spencer Maxwell is fast on the murderer's tracks, but the Amish townspeople are as suspicious of him as they are of Hannah. 

As threats escalate—now targeting Hannah and the handsome sheriff—they'll follow any trail to uncover a vicious criminal. Even if that trail leads them right to their own backyard…

Alison lives in Western New York with my husband of twenty years and our four children where the summers are absolutely gorgeous and the winters are perfect for curling up with a good book--or writing one.  You can find out more information about her on her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for writing such a fab piece!! :)

    2. You're welcome. Kinda scary to see how much TV I watch when I put it all down in a blog. :)

  2. Great post, Alison! Eighties TV was awesome, wasn't it!

    1. It really was. I remember how risqué Love Boat seemed at the time with all the bikini clad women hanging out by the pool. By today's standards it's super tame.

  3. I like watching the period tv shows like Miss Fischer Murder Mysteries, Call the Midwife

    1. I'll have to check those out. I think the Miss Fisher series popped up on my "you might also like."

  4. I have you to thank for my Scandal addiction! Seriously. Love it! :-)

  5. Wow we must of grown up in the same era...I watched all the same movies and shows that you did! I also love Netflix, Hulu, Pureflix, Hallmark, Vudu etc etc etc. I don't know how I ever find time to read but I do both equally. I have always loved to read and so does my granddaughter she is nine and we take turns reading to each other. I love The Amish Midwife cover, I have personally had four children naturally and have assisted in three family births, I just know I would love to read your novel. Thank you for your review and insight into your book.