While some may debate the relevance of a pilot episode, it sets the tone for what is in store for us. A good pilot episode is necessary to get us hooked to watch the rest of the show. With a wide choice of TV series we are exposed to today, one can easily stop watching a show if they don’t like the pilot, and start another one within minutes.
However, over the years we have been given some exceptional TV show pilots that have had us at the edge of our seats, till the end of the series. Here’s the list of the best TV show pilots of all time.
This political thriller quickly established itself as an adrenaline-fueled show, full of conspiracies and betrayals within the first 45 minutes of the pilot episode. In “Sweet Baby”, we are introduced to a newly acquired Quinn Perkins as she deals with an accusation against the President of the United States on the very first day. As the name suggests, the show is full of scandals that will leave you awestruck as this crisis management team goes to different extremes to fix them.
The Walking Dead’s pilot episode is one that is quite different from what the show has actually panned out to be. Even today, it is one of the best TV show pilots to exist that raised questions without answers and made us eager to watch episode after episode. The episode deals with the horrors of waking up to a world that is unrecognised in terms of empty highways and a thoroughly ghastly atmosphere. This grisly texture, which would usually be appealing only to horror fans, got us even more hooked onto the show. Today, it is one of the biggest television launches and all for good reasons.
If you haven’t watched this show yet, you are really missing out! This is a show that may seem a little eccentric and out of everyone’s taste. However, there’s something in it that makes you hooked to it since the very minute it begins. These broken, iron-willed and aberrant women make you laugh, cry and keep you at the edge of your seat. “I Wasn’t Ready”, the pilot episode of this Netflix dramedy, focuses on Piper Chapman as she sees herself dealing with the realities of being in prison. The main attraction of this show, and particularly this episode is the set of varied female characters we are introduced to and how different each one can be in addition to the twists and turns the script provides.
Desperate Housewives is amongst one of the biggest and widely popular shows across generations. Getting most of the world hooked onto a show is an achievement attained by few. As dramatic as the show is, its pilot is probably one of the best. Linking 5 overtly perfect (but extremely messed up) families through the mystery of the suicide of a seemingly happy suburban housewife is nothing short of a masterpiece. Its compelling narrative and roadblocks are enough to get us hooked for the entirety of the show and more.
The very first episode of a show that many would go on to consider Legend-Wait for it-Dary, had a gravitating charm that had us hooked immediately. We were left wondering, ‘Who would be the mother?’ for 9 whole seasons! In addition to this, there was an undeniable bond between Ted and his friends, evident from the very first episode, which made the show even more appealing. The first episode is just a glimpse of the friendship that exists between Ted, Barney, Marshall, Lily, and eventually Robin. The twist at the end of the episode - delaying the reveal of the mother, became a hook that lasted for the whole run of the show. The pilot episode is relatable to the more lovesick of us. Those who have a close-knit friend circle with whom they could rant the night away or forget their troubles, will totally relate to this series.
One of the best TV show pilots to grace our screens, only a few episodes are shot as beautifully as this one. The opening salvo of this show somehow set the entire premise of the terrifying world of Gilead and the dangers laid within. The Handmaid’s Tale is a very heavy show to watch, but the performance of Elisabeth Moss and the aesthetic created by Reed Morano’s direction, makes for an unforgettable pilot. It’s a guaranteed must-watch for cinematic brilliance.
Telling the story of three families in the most original manner is difficult to find in family sitcoms, but Modern Family does it, and it does it extremely well. In what’s become the best TV show pilots of all time, creators Steven Levithan and Chris Llyod introduce us to three completely different families dealing with separate issues, who are then revealed to be part of the same extended family. A show with a diverse cast and even diverse stories that reflect the everyday ups and downs each family faces, this show makes for a great family binge-ing session! If this isn't convincing enough, Cameron holding his adopted baby girl up to the sounds from “The Lion King” at the end of the pilot should be.
Lorelai Gilmore came in like a storm, only instead of ruins in her wake, she left behind laughter and warmth. Gilmore Girls has gone on to become a sensation of its own, solely for the mother-daughter bond between a young single mother and her namesake daughter. Their unique relation is evident from the pilot itself, a pilot that is high up on the list of best TV show pilots. Their relation comes in contrast to the cold one Lorelai has with her own parents, whom she left behind once Rory was born. In addition to this, we are introduced to a little town full of quirky characters who are set to steal our hearts for seasons to come.
Easily one of the best TV show pilots of all time, the Breaking Bad pilot episode aims to (and does so successfully) cover a lot of ground as they set the stage to chronicle the transformation of “Mr. White into Heisenberg”. Very few shows get away with pathetic characters but Breaking Bad somehow makes the lead a pathetic character who will eventually capture the interests of viewers.
The Homeland pilot episode attracts viewers from the very start and doesn’t let go, even after the show ends. The show is an adaptation of the Israeli series, “Prisoners of War”, and it begins with a simple plot with a CIA agent getting a tip from a trusted source. While this may not be grasping enough, the fact that a retired POW might have turned sides and could potentially be an al-Qaeda spy, sure is.
Inspired by the reality TV show, ‘Survivor’ and the renowned movie, ‘Cast Away’, in the Lost pilot episode, we are introduced to the harrowing depiction and aftermath of a plane crash. It was one of the most expensive episodes of its time. This TV show pilot is set on a deserted island with a mystery monster that kills the crashed plane’s pilot and its survivors are all left to fend for themselves.