why do you watch what you watch?

assuming you watch anything, but i'm pretty sure you all do.

this question is prompted mostly by the (brief) discussion on tuesday about the tv show 'leverage'

what keeps you watching a movie/tv show?

snappy dialog
solid plot(s)
awesome characters
cool premise

(of course, as some people have found out rather painfully, batman alone is not enough--because then it's not really batman. it's a guy in a silly suit running around looking stupid.)
I had to vote for three because it depends on the show...but Batman IS awesome!
Premise and prettiness are things that will draw me to a show in the first place, but it's the first three that keep me watching ... and I'd say shows need at least two of the three in order to hold onto me; just one won't do. Though it does depend on the show.
I'd say shows need at least two of the three in order to hold onto me; just one won't do.

Yeah, this is definitely true for me too. Brilliant plot is no fun without interesting characters, and those often come with good dialog. But I'll put up with lame plots if I like the characters--I'd say that's what's most important for me, although if the plots get too head-bangingly awful, I'll eventually give up. Consistent stupidity from writers or characters gets annoying pretty quickly.
Ditto to what Friendshipper said. There's a show that's been my favorite for years but that I'm starting to lose interest in. I mostly watch for this one particular character but it's getting so that not even he is enough to hold my interest.
CSI: New York. This and SGA were my must see to the point that I can't miss even the reruns (and must write fic for) type of show, and it's rare for me to be that heavily into a show. CSI:NY was the perfect show for me: good team dynamic without any soap opera drama for the sake of it, and the right amount of dark and occasional fluff. Danny Messer is my favorite character. I always felt him the emo/angst go-to guy as he does it well, but when not in an angsty episode he's ornery and funny.

But, lately, it feels like the show is losing a lot of what made it so enjoyable for me. The dialog is mostly bad puns and stating the obvious, and the subplots are either out of the blue or uninteresting while dragging on forever. Right now, the only reason I watch is for Danny and Mac (played by Gary Sinise, who I like). There's a part of me that hopes the show gets canceled so that both men can end up in something better. Or, at least, the writers get more on the ball and write the show back to what it used to be.
I've tried watching various of the CSI shows--I'm not sure which ones, as it's mostly been while on vacation and just whatever's on at the time--and haven't really been interested in any of them. But I'm sorry you're losing another show that you've enjoyed.

But Batman will definitely keep me watching, unless it's Schumacher Bats. :P
Having recently lost a favorite show (Stargate Atlantis. *sniffle*), tried out a new show and been utterly turned off (Stargate Universe--eeew!), and found a completely different show that I love wholeheartedly (The Big Bang Theory. ^_______^), I have a lot of fodder to fuel my opinions on this!

What I find is that I NEED characters I can love (including antagonists, though of course the love is of a very different nature!), I need an engaging premise with plenty of possibilities, and I just intensely enjoy snappy dialog.

Maybe I'd miss the pretty if it were utterly missing, but I don't consider it vital. The same isn't exactly true of plot (*g*), but in all honesty, I've loved many an episode in many a series that, in hindsight, was massively inconsistent or just plain weak in the story element. There has to be something driving the character interactions, of course, but if those interactions are satisfying enough, then I don't much care what drives them!
Yupper-depper-dep! I'm pretty much right there with you about characters > plots. Right now I'm pretty much watching just two shows, and they're both a little hand-wavey with the plots but mostly excellent with the character development and interaction: NCIS and Leverage. And, of course, Burn Notice when it finally comes back from hiatus. (O Burn Notice, if ever I were to squee incoherently over a show, you would probably be the one.)
In addendum to my poll answers, I have to say that the one thing that will keep me watching a show, despite plotholes, contrived dialogue, and even a terrible political/religious bias is TEAM. All of the shows I've liked: CSI, Stargate(s), Bones, House, and now BSG [so far, I've only seen a bit], have a group of people who work well together, who trust each other (even when they don't), and who take care of one another. They very often are like family to one another (though it's not super-required). Teamy goodness...mmm. Like a warm blankie.

I'm also more willing to watch shows that recognize that they're tv shows, usually only an hour of someone's week, and a chance to escape responsibility for a while and relax. Bones is my best example of this.
Hm. Team is pretty important for me, but another big factor is the type of story being told each week--I find myself drawn to justice/crime-fighting type shows, with SG-1 and SGA being the rare exceptions. I'll watch other genres, but the shows that I look forward to watching all have that element of wrong being made right, the pursuit of truth.

(Psych is my fun times! show, although I usually wind up skipping the bits where Shawn's being an ass, which are somewhat frequent but usually pretty short.)
I haven't seen the Mentalist, although I am intrigued by the premise--but alas, network websites scare me (or rather, my computer) and it's not available for instant-viewing on Netflix (my physical queue is currently full of NCIS, and I think I'm going to hang onto my subscription past December--it's so much nicer than running down to Blockbuster, and the instant viewing option is lovely even if the pickings are a little slim at the moment--so maybe I'll start watching Mentalist after we've finished off this last season of NCIS).

Yes to House not being what it once was--it turned into a drama instead of a medical detective show at some point and then I stopped watching. Haven't seen Medium (or been interested in seeing it), so can't comment.

Currently I'm watching 3 shows: NCIS, which has great characters and banter generally decent plots--not much prettiness, but an interesting premise that's held up pretty well because it's flexible: it's a military detective show that sometimes dips into the spy genre. Leverage, which again has great characters and banter as well as a tried and true premise (criminals-turned-good-guys!), although the plots are generally a bit flimsy and there's not much pretty (although the music is pretty great). And lastly and definitely not leastly, Burn Notice, which sometimes has pretty but always has pretty much everything else. Things occasionally fall a bit conveniently, but that's inevitable when the writers have to fit everything into 43 minutes, and the characters have been thoroughly established as both Very Good At What They Do and Sometimes Complete Idiots Because They're Still Human, and it all works quite believably. And things get blown up at least once an episode, so that's a definite plus. :D