I haven’t watched the broadcast stations in years except for the news… and even that is usually CNN.
First of all you have EWTN on Cable and a few… note I said few, of the protestant history shows on their channels are good too.
You have the History Channel and History International, both very worthwhile. They have many specials on Biblical interpretation, and often they do a good job about what the different interpretations are among Christian groups.
I watch SciFi some because Battlesstar Galactica (the new one), while laden with sex, is one of the deepest theological dramas ever made for television. If you haven’t ever seen it or only watched a few episodes you probably won’t understand… let me just say imagine the plight of the early Hebrews during Abraham’s time moving from poly to monotheism.
There is Boomerang which is mostly cartoons from the late 60’s early 70s (and a few newer ones like Batman-TAM, Superman and Justice League) - if my kids are going to watch cartoons I would rather it be that than the trash on Cartoon Network.
There is NOGGIN, literally preschool on TV. If you have young kids, this is great. It’s pretty much the only TV my sons could watch except for Sesame Street until they were 3.
In regards to the pay channels we have been able to DVR some great movies and saved having to rent. However there is mostly just trash on them.
We do like to watch the Tudors on Showtime but some of the early episodes bordered on pornography IMHO. We got to where we just (my wife and I) talked about something and ignored those parts so we could watch the rest of the show. Amazingly it’s been very pro-Catholic during the first two seasons and somewhat unkind to the Anglican Church. I can’t recommend it though due to the content… I think I actually went to confession after one of the episodes so - forewarned.
We watch a lot of HGTV (Home and Garden TV) which has stuff about houses, how to decorate, market prices etc… and the DYI is how to fix things around the house.
Closing though I’ll go back to EWTN. There are good shows in the afternoon for the kids (I would say Kindergarten / K4 age), some good shows for teens, The Journey Home and other good information about our Faith.
Like almost anything, a Television can be used for good or ill. It can be a temptation or in some ways an educational tool for both scholastic and religious instruction.
I definitely believe it’s worth having, we have DISH with pretty much everything so that when we DO watch we can find something good. However I would guess the kids still only get about 30 minutes at our house a day during the week and that is going to sleep (usually Justice League on Boom) then an hour at my mom’s while they are doing other things. That will decrease as they get older though as I expect at least a couple of nights we will spend the night reading - on their own, as they get older. Books are much better for the imagination.
Right now though we usually spend half our time at night outside playing or inside on the computers playing educational games on Noggin, Cartoon Network, Disney or Nick Jr.