I believe I’ve already mentioned my slightly unnatural adoration for Netflix.  Seriously, as far as I’m concerned this service is right up there with indoor plumbing and A/C.

It wasn’t until this fall that I realized exactly how far down the rabbit hole I’d gone.  We went to the store to buy a cell phone for the house – we’d given up our landline a while ago and I wanted something we could keep in the kitchen in case our cell phones weren’t available.  (Okay, I’ll just admit it…I finally realized that I wasn’t going to get past the thought that my kids couldn’t quickly call 911 unless one of our cell phones were within reach.)

So we thought we’d do a quick pop-in at the AT&T store one Sunday.  How long could it take to buy a simple flip phone, right?  No bells, no whistles, just a phone capable of dialing out.  We couldn’t have been more wrong.  I keep forgetting that most of humanity shops on the weekend so everything takes four times as long.  In an effort to distract their customers from the wait there’s a TV in there, and it was in those 45 minutes that I realized exactly how much I hate network television now.

Putting aside the shows themselves which (frankly) suck, it’s the commercials.  The Commercials.  Words cannot express how much I abhor the idiotic, pointless, meaningless, manipulative commercials.

Guess what they don’t have on Netflix?  Commercials.

What do they have?  Really great stuff, things I love, shows that (if I’m so inclined) I can watch back to back to back until my eyes droop and my brain is mush.

What are the Netflix addictions I’m currently nursing?

** House of Cards, a Netflix original about one couple’s ruthless pursuit of political power through any means necessary.  And when I say “ruthless” I mean characters who are brutal, cold-hearted, and merciless when it comes to getting what they want.  It’s not often you see a female character who is just as savage in her pursuit of what she wants, but both halves of this power couple are more than willing to cut some throats on their way up the ladder.

** Blacklist is a NBC crime drama about a criminal (Reddington) from the FBI’s ten most wanted list who turns himself in with the condition that he’ll only work with a particular profiler.  Each episode is focused on tracking down criminals or terrorists the U.S. isn’t even aware exists, and there’s a terrific ongoing subplot about the true relationship between Reddington and the profiler.

** Scandal is my political thriller guilty pleasure.  BrightSide endured a couple of seasons but it wasn’t really his cup of me.  Me?  I love some Shonda Rhimes, and Kerry Washington is fabulous.  The characters are compelling, the storylines are interesting, and I’m pretty much sucked in for the long haul.

** Homeland, a political thriller from Showtime, is about a CIA agent diagnosed with bipolar disorder working with a POW from Iraq.  Or at least that’s where season one began.  Honestly, the series is too complex to sum up in a few pithy sentences.  Trust me when I say if you like this kind of thing, it’s fantastic.

There’s no doubt that Netflix can be both a blessing and a curse.  It’s what introduced me to Person of Interest, Friday Night Lights, Lie to Me, and Parenthood.  Right now I’m discovering White Collar.  The shows above are ones I didn’t discover until Netflix, but my instant streaming queue is also filled with things I like to revisit.

I could watch Aaron Sorkin’s West Wing over and over again.  NCIS and Law and Order are classics I’m always willing to revisit, and Private Practice was fun to enjoy again.

So…no idiotic shows to contend with (unless you’re into those and load them up), no annoying commercials, countered by a huge time-suck potential…

Netflix.  The couch potato’s drug of choice.