If I let them they'd watch TV all day long
I let them do whatever they want on Saturday. My 2nd son plays video games ALL day long.
What if your husband controlled your book reading (or something you love to do)? What if he only let you read books that he thought were worthwhile (regardless of what you thought was enjoyable to you)? What if he only allowed you to read for a certain amount each day and you couldn't read 3 magazines in a row? What if you had the feeling he was watching and judging you every time you picked up something to read to make sure you were making a"worthwhile' choice?
What do you think you'd do if he gave you free rein (as well as no other responsibilities) on Saturdays?
If I do nothing, they'd watch tv and play video games all day.
You don't know this. You do know how they behave when TV is controlled. You don't know how they would behave if they could watch it any time they wanted for as long as they wanted just as they can do with books (presumably!)
(Also, unschooling isn't about doing nothing until the kids turn the TV off. Unschooling is active, keeping their lives swirling with opportunities.)
People make the same critical judgments against kids in school. Parents are certain their kids wouldn't learn anything unless made to. They base that judgment on their kids' behavior outside of school: their kids do nothing but play and turn their noses up at anything remotely resembling school work. Is that because the kids are naturally anti-learning or because so very little of their time is theirs to call their own?
You're basing your judgment on controlled kids. We have kids who have have choice who don't spend all day watching TV and playing video games. At my house we have several hundred channels with satellite. My daughter has 5 game systems (mostly used that she bought with her own money!) They're off way more than they're on.
I guess if they watched something more worthwhile I wouldn't be so freaky about it. That's just my opinion though.
Can you know what they're getting from the shows? What does a baby get from banging a pot? Does it look like it's a pathway to corporate president or veterinarian?
Have you tried watching with them? Have you asked what they like best? Who their favorite characters are and why? Have you watched them watching and appreciated the joy?
How do people learn good judgment? Is it from being told what is good? Or is it from trying out what looks appealing then rejecting the stuff that doesn't meet their needs and taking advantage of the stuff that does?
I'd much rather read a good humorous mystery than War and Peace. But most people "in the know" would say War and Peace is "worthwhile" while the mystery isn't. But I find the mystery suits my needs far better than War and Peace (based on my conception of it anyway.) What does that say about me? I can't imagine living in a house where I had to choose from an approved list of "worthwhile" books or nothing.
I watched huge amounts of TV when I was a kid. Lots of what would be considered junk. I loved it. Brady Bunch. Gilligan's Island. Spanky and our Gang. Three Stooges. Lost in Space. Land of the Giants. (Which is all now classic junk ;-) Historical movies. Movies that were historical because they were old. Loved Saturday cartoons. Loved Saturday and Sunday matinee movies. My parents were great about not judging. They just let me choose what interested me whether it was TV, books, playing. From TV and books I absorbed stuff about social history and comedy and what people thought was funny in the 30's and 40's and 50's. I know all sorts of little factoids and I don't know where I learned them but I bet it was TV. (I'm pretty good at Jeopardy ;-)
I'm also a decent person, went to a semi-prestigious college where I majored in Electrical Engineering.