Best TV Pilots of All Time

pretty straightforward. What’s your favourite pilot? The rest of the season/series can suck. But the best pilot you have watched. 

For me it’s The Walking Dead with almost a tie with Breaking Bad 


  • My favorite pilot was for The Shield. I watched that and was blown away and instantly hooked. The Lost pilot was pretty good too 
  • The LOST pilot remains two of the best hours of TV I've ever seen.
  • LOST and it might not be very close.
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    The Killing
    The Americans
    Les Revenants
    Pushing Daisies
    The Walking Dead

    I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch. 
  • Teresa from ConcordTeresa from Concord Concord, California
    Usually pilots don’t grab me. I need to give a show a few episodes to get hooked. But one exception is Arrested Development. The family cracked me up from the get go and I always wanted more. 
  • MrX said:
    LOST and it might not be very close.

    (Twin Peaks is close)
  • edited December 2019
    Oz. To anyone who's watched it, it was so good that
    Dino Ortaloni remained one of my top 3 favorite characters on the show despite only being in the pilot.
  • NoelNoel Dallas, TX
    I’m very much in the Lost camp. I just don’t remember any other pilot grabbing me like that. 
  • MichelleMichelle California
    edited December 2019
    LOST ALL DAY.  I agree with @smreyno, @Noel, and @MrX - it's a f'ing outstanding 2 hours of television.

    Second for me would be Mad Men.  Our introduction to the suave, handsome, ladies man Don Draper and his '60s New York advertising world was *everything*.  
  • I was surprised that Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip came right to mind. I did always love that pilot.

    Legion has to be in the discussion. I'm a little surprised it hasn't come up yet. Probably my winner.
    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is one that really sets the show up fantastically and really grabs at you if you're the type of person who is going to like that show. (it's super good and everyone should at least give it a shot)
    Lost is pretty great. Not surprising that it's grabbing so much vote.
    Justified. Man, I think it really deserves mentioning. The Justified pilot is fantastic.

    Good pull with Heroes @Dee. Agreed. 

  • LOST

    Mr Robot was pretty good. So was The Night Of. Game of Thrones was awesome. And technically, BSG’s pilot was the mini-series, which was amazing. 
  • pavlovsbellpavlovsbell Brooklyn, NY
    edited December 2019
    LOST. It's mind-boggling how they put that together from scratch so quickly, and it's still breathtaking.

    Alias is a very close runner-up. Like LOST, it feels like a film. It aired without commercial interruption for 79 minutes. I may have some sentimental bias: I had been looking forward to it all summer, but then 9/11 happened. I was not in the mood to watch it, but my friend dragged me out of bed to watch it, and I was absolutely riveted and got out of my head for a bit, which is almost impossible to do.

    That's a good list, @Dee -- Justified, Pushing Daisies, The Americans, and... yeah, The Walking Dead. Like J.J. Abrams with Alias and LOST, Darabont created something that felt like a mini-film with a strong mood. Plus, that crane shot of Rick on a horse riding into Atlanta is so stunning, exciting, and ominous.

    I'll add Hannibal. It's gorgeous, weird, sad, sweet, and really creepy. 
  • pavlovsbellpavlovsbell Brooklyn, NY
    Travis said:

    Good pull with Heroes @Dee. Agreed. 

    I had some schmutz on my screen and thought that said, "Good pull with Herpes @Dee."

    Could also be the second glass of wine.
    Teresa from ConcordDeeMichelleNoelChinaskiTravis
  • NoelNoel Dallas, TX
    edited December 2019
    rkcrawf said:

    Mr Robot was pretty good. So was The Night Of. Game of Thrones was awesome. And technically, BSG’s pilot was the mini-series, which was amazing. 
    Damn, I don’t know how I forgot The Night Of. That first episode was so fucking good. The chemistry between Naz and Andrea was amazing. I was at the edge of my seat when they’re taking shots and playing the knife game. Brilliant!

    And typical me, I developed a huge crush on Sofia Black-D’Elia. I hope she gets more good work.
  • edited December 2019
    I haven't watched Lost although I'm planning watching through it all at some point in the future.  I've already heard the ending so I think that might help me temper my expectations when I get to that point.  

    Overall I'd say Walking Dead, The Night Of, Legion, Stranger Things and I'm going to throw The Expanse in there as well.  In that first gun fight when everybody was strapped down in the ship and then the camera pans over to the medic.  I knew immediately from that point on this is a show I have to watch.  I don't know why I was so grabbed by that first gun battle but I was 100% in after that point. 

    EDIT: honorable mention is the 1st season of Sinner with Jessica Biel.  Damn what an episode even though all the trailers ruined the big moment. 
  • Twin Peaks....

    ...and if a “greatest episode ever” thread gets going, you can start it off with Twin Peaks: The Return episode 8 “Gotta Light ?”
  • cdrivecdrive Houston, TX
    Freaks and Geeks! 
  • Westworld
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