That is the question ...
OK, so growing up, I didn't watch a lot of tv or movies ... it wasn't that my parents were weird or anything; nope, they just owned their own business, so we kids (extra labor) didn't get a whole lot of lollygagging time. We did watch Dallas (I know! Wasn't that freaky? My parents let me watch Dallas? But then Dallas is so tame compared to the things that are on tv now.) and Falcon Quest (loved David Selby ... sigh.)
But Tammy mentioned something in the comments trail about how TV (good TV) teaches pacing and chapter hooks. Absolutely ... I agree.
I think all those years of watching Law & Order helped me see how you could reveal character with just a few well-placed lines of dialogue. In fact, the old Law & Orders (of the Lennie Brisco era) are better than a lot of movies out there. Same with the CSIs (yes, I know, it's NOT really like that ... CSIs don't get to question and investigate ... but they make it seem real!)
I saw the pilot of a new show called Smith -- it's about a heist team, something I would normally avoid. But I wound up watching it halfway through, and just thought the writers had done a fab job of taking very UNSYMPATHETIC characters and showing them in a more sympathetic light. Will I continue to watch it? I dunno ... I suspect that to be real, it will wind up being more in line with a Greek tragedy. And you guys know ... I like my HEA.
You know the shows I really like these days? Alton Brown's GOOD EATS, Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals and her $40 a Day, What Not To Wear and those makeover shows that redo a house on a rock bottom budget ... But I also like good drama. It irritates my dh, who is more of a sit-com kind of guy. I put up with his ESPN (which stands for Every Sports-Particular Nut!) and he puts up with my love for fluffy make-over shows and gritty dramas.