15+ TV Shows That Have the Best Pilot Episode
Even the best TV shows don’t always start out the right way. There’s no shame in that. But there are also series that nail it from the very first moment. Those episodes are rare and worthy of celebration.
Bright Side was curious to find out what Redditors’ opinions are on the best pilot episodes ever produced that deserve to be praised for surpassing all expectations.
1. The Sopranos (1999-2007)
The pilot episode of The Sopranos offers an immediate psychological snapshot of Tony Soprano. At the same time, it depicts the constant tension between the characters and establishes the dynamics between them. These are just a few of the reasons Redditors think of this episode of The Sopranos as one of the greatest pieces of television.
2. Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
Breaking Bad starts off strong, with an avalanche of crazy events. Redditors were impressed with its intensity and boldness, since it had the potential to scare off viewers who maybe weren’t ready for all those insane things that happened.
3. Lost (2004-2010)
Right from the start, Lost made Redditors ask themselves loads of questions, but never prepared them for all the twists and turns of the show. For the sake of the pun, we could say it made them feel lost in a maze they never wanted to get out of.
4. Westworld (2016 — )
When it comes to the pilot of Westworld, Redditors think it has the “perfect combination of intrigue and mystery” that leaves a lot of unanswered questions to make sure you’re going to keep watching.
5. Futurama (1999-2013)
Futurama debuted in a sharp, audacious style, that made it an instant classic. What Redditors appreciate about it is that it “nailed the type of humor they wanted right from the start” and they consider it “one of the best animated series ever.”
6. The Walking Dead (2010 — )
The Walking Dead’s pilot set a standard of quality that the show never matched again, according to many Redditors. It was “spectacular,” and viewers were blown away by it, still considering it “an all-time great pilot.”
7. Fargo (2014 — )
Fargo’s first episode is considered very fast-paced and shocking, the kind of pilot that gets you “hooked right in the right way.” The episode set up the lead characters’ quirky and fiery dynamic and impressed Redditors with its witty dialogue.
8. Mr. Robot (2015 — )
It’s safe to say that Mr. Robot’s pilot is at the top of Redditors all-time favorite first episodes. Being characterized as “amazing,” “ambitious,” and “a breath of fresh air,” it blew them away and kept them rooting for Elliot and wanting more.
9. The Good Place (2016 — )
Redditors describe the pilot of The Good Place as a mixture of multiple cult movies and TV shows, but with a clever and playful twist offered by Michael Schur, its creator. Viewers find it refreshing and intriguing, with very well-written dialogues and characters.
10. Arrested Development (2003 — )
When it comes to the pilot episode of Arrested Development, what Redditors appreciate the most is how quickly it introduced every facet of the characters. In just a few chaotic minutes, one of the most hilarious and dysfunctional TV families ever is introduced to the audience.
11. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-2019)
The pilot of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has everything. From hilarious musical numbers to loads of dramatic, outrageous, and relatable moments and characters, it has succeeded in drawing many Redditors’ love and attention. And it’s not a vain promise, since they feel like the show is deserving of these feelings until the end.
12. Supernatural (2005 — )
The first episode of Supernatural had everything Redditors could ask for, plus a couple of things none of them expected. Many of them agree that the pilot is “so well-written and cleverly put together” that it gets you “instantly hooked.”
13. Frasier (1993-2004)
The first episode of Frasier perfectly showcased the characters and starts the witty conversation that the show is so loved for. The writing of this pilot is described by Redditors as “phenomenal” and “expertly crafted.”
14. Rome (2005-2007)
Rome’s mix of historical accuracy and personal drama amassed Redditors’ enjoyment right from the start. They feel like the show hits the ground running from the first episode, which has the mission to prepare the viewer for the intricate plotting and scheming the series has in store for them.
15. Cheers (1982–1993)
Cheers very first episode works both structurally and emotionally. Redditors feel like the pilot “had the characterizations and interactions down so well” and thinks that it has one of the best pilot scripts ever written.
16. Community (2009-2015)
Redditors find the first episode of Community extremely quotable, which is always a good thing about a piece of television. Also, they believe that the pilot “gives a sense of character dynamics” and it teases where the show will go conceptually. Definitely, a “must watch” in their opinion.
17. True Detective (2014 — )
Redditors can’t overlook the great detail in True Detective’s first-ever episode. The dynamic between the main characters is mesmerizing and they make it clear that this isn’t “just another crime show.” The only question they have about it is, “What’s not to love?”
Did you spot your favorite pilot episode on this list? Tell us in the comment section. Also, please recommend any great TV shows you know, we’re always looking for something to binge watch!