In short - Discovery Networks (and others) have given up on the "educational" genre and now simply make stuff up. It's depressing.
It's funny. I've never paid for cable in my life. When I lived at the squad, I cable TV in my room, but I rarely watched it. If there was something I wanted to watch, I usually went someplace else and watched it with people. If I wanted background noise, I played music on my iPod.
Most of my TV-watching is done in the station. Paid or volunteer, it's almost a requirement that we have the TV on, providing background noise while we "do stuff" - charting, browsing the web on my iPad, or whatever... It's a distraction.
There's a short list of shows that I seem out and watch during downtime at the station.
Pawn Stars: because as much as its fake (any reality show is) - I like the angle of unusual American History.
NCIS and Law and Order (and variants) are good for mindless police procedurals to fill time. Apparently, I haven't seen them all yet.
Dirty Jobs: Because Mike Rowe is awesome.
Jeopardy!: because I dream of being on the show one day.
COPS (and Campus Police to an extent): The show proves that the 'stupid' I see at work isn't that different from the 'stupid' others deal with.
Emergency!: Because. That's why.
As for dramas - well, Scrubs has been off the air for a couple of years. Royal Pains is somewhat interesting - MacGuyver medicine appeals to all medics. I've not ever gotten into Breaking Bad, and they cancelled Firefly years ago.
Anyway - that's my big thought tonight.