I haven't used any video tutorials for drawing, but there are a lot of good texts such as those by Andrew Loomis. And then there's always taking a figure drawing class at the local community college.
However, one video tutorial series I've been considering purchasing is The Structure of Man HD by Riven Phoenix. He also has a lot of other video series (most have been updated for HD, I think), such as gesture drawing, The Structure of Perspective, etc. Supposedly these drawing systems are used by institutions like Lucas Film, so there must be something to them.
But while such drawing systems may be of great help, it ultimately comes down to hands-on practice to develop the fine muscle reflex/coordination etc. to make the lines on paper. I.e. you can watch others draw a million masterpieces, but still have no clue how to shade properly because you haven't taken up the practice to commit these physical techniques to muscle memory.
So probably more effective than video tutorials or a book is finding a subject you really enjoy drawing, and just practicing it every chance you get. Most professional artists tend to go this route and develop their own techniques and systems based on their own experience and preference.
As far as the tablet vs. pencil question, I have a rather unpopular opinion. I think anyone serious about visual arts (either as a hobby or career) should go out and pick up a $70 Wacom Bamboo or $150~250 Intuos4/5 as soon as possible. Get one used if you have to, get a student discount, split one with a friend/colleague, or get your employer to buy one for you, but if you want to be an artist in the modern world, you should have a tablet.
In this day and age, digital is the dominant format for visual art. It's the preferred medium for storage, professional production, as well as publication/distribution. If it's anything other than a doodle you don't want anyone else to see, then you're just gonna end up digitizing it anyway. So why not just draw it digitally in the first place rather than doing a pencil sketch, then inking it, then scanning it, then "cleaning it up" which usually means re-drawing it over the scanned image.
Pencil and paper still have their merits, but if you have both options, then you're likely to practice more when the mood strikes you. There's no wasted paper, there's no cleanup, and if you're a bad artist like me, then you can hit the undo button (which I've conveniently keyed to one of my tablet's express keys) as many times as you want without worrying about leaving smudges or wearing down the paper.
In addition to being an indispensable tool for any professional artist and actually being cheaper in the long run than having to buy years of physical art supplies, drawing on a screen-less tablet like a Bamboo or Intuos actually takes a lot of practice to get used to in and of itself. It's completely different from drawing on paper, so the sooner you pick one up and begin practicing on it, the sooner you'll get a feel for it and the better off you'll be. Otherwise, it's like having to learn how to draw twice.
Of course there is a down side. If you don't actually stick with drawing, you could end up with a somewhat expensive paperweight. Full disclosure: I own a $200 set of golf clubs that I never use, as well as a $600 guitar that's just been gathering dust for years. Luckily, tablets don't seem to depreciate much (trust me, I've tried to bargain hunt for used tablets on eBay, and even 4-5-year-old tablets sell for about 80% of their original retail cost).