Take Friday Night Lights, which everyone seems to be in agreement has changed this season. My roommate and I just watched "Homecoming" from the first season. Simple, normal things are happening...an alumnus returns in the hopes of getting a coaching job. Smash wants to impress a scout. Matt isn't sure if he should ask Julie out on a date. Tyra is planning a party. All these things happen every day, but they become powerful because of the characters, the subtleties, the subtext. We don't need murders, unrealistic living situations, etc. That's what I like so much about FNL...it's normal, everday people in normal, everyday situations. You don't need spies and cops, you don't need bombs or murders or constant life-and-death situations.
I worried that my pilot might be too superficial or simple, since it's just a bunch of kids trying to run a radio station. But it involves friendship, power, love, disappointment, control. You don't have to be saving lives or fighting crime; these issues can come up when you're doing laundry or having a meeting or going to a frisbee party.