In 'Gravity,' nearly everything is a metaphor for the main character. The way I tend to approach a film is that character and background are equally important; one informs the other. Here, Sandra Bullock is caught between Earth and the void of the universe, just floating there in between. We use the debris as a metaphor for adversity.
It's seldom that you find great moments in television. Usually you remember - in 'Breaking Bad' or any of these other great shows - you remember situations or characters. Not moments. But I have to say, I can make the same argument for mainstream movies, which have bad narratives and also no memorable moments.
Most people just half-watch TV. They watch TV while they are doing many other things in the environment of their home. So, what they are doing goes through their ears as much as through their eyes. In television, the narrative and characters are in the foreground of everything, because you are watching TV as you do other stuff.