Earlier this month, we shared the TV pilots that Redditors think are the best ever made. The BuzzFeed commenters contributed their own thoughts on the matter, sharing the first few episodes that convinced them for many seasons to come (or set a high bar that later episodes have struggled to match). Here are 16 of the pilots who exceeded all of their expectations.
Responses may have been edited for length and/or clarity.
“The western wing. Aaron Sorkin sets the mood brilliantly and introduces all the characters so perfectly on a “typical” day in the White House. Jed Bartlet’s intro is absolutely outstanding.”
“the Walking Dead Pilot was amazing. We get the background to Rick’s character very quickly, without it being stretched out: he’s a family man, has great respect for his peers, literally takes a bullet for his best friend, and is willing to face dangers in order to accommodate a stranger help. Then you get into the eerie empty atmosphere of the world when he wakes up and the episode keeps that feeling of uneasiness going for a good 20 minutes of just being alone in the world and you only have your wits about you to figure out what to do devil happened . Then it all goes downhill after season 1 as it becomes another generic zombie show about keeping the peace between your own camp/found family and trying to survive.
“A league of its own! Quickly set the tone of the show, provided great insight into each character and immediately left you wanting more!”
“game of Thrones. I know nobody likes to talk about the last few seasons, but the pilot was amazing. White walkers, wolves, incest, strained family and friend dynamics ending in attempted infanticide?! I screamed when Jaime pushed Bran out the window.”
“freaks and geeks. I can watch the first episode over and over again.”
“try and lose hooked me from the start of the pilot episode! Such a grossly underrated series that deserves more seasons.”
“Lost. The pilot still scares me.”
“In my opinion, I think Desperate Housewives had one of the best pilots i have ever seen. The style of the show allowed them to introduce the characters quickly and efficiently and dive right into the action and drama.”
“This is us must be on this list. You start meeting a bunch of characters celebrating their birthdays, and then Boom! … You realize that you are in two different timelines.”
“That 70’s show! I recently rewatched the pilot after binging That ’90s showand all the actors are on their toes.”
“I would say The Legend of Vox Machina has a really good pilot. It immediately hooked me and made me want to devour the rest.”
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine was perfection from the first episode. All the characters were established and it was hilarious.”
“Peaky Blinders! It was so good. I only saw half of the pilot before I had to turn it off. I was hooked from the first half of the pilot. I’ve since finished the series and it’s been so, so good.”
“Revenge. It started with a takedown and built so well throughout the first season. I did a rewatch and was a bit surprised at how quickly it fell apart for me after the first half of the season.”
“That’s OK The rest of the show varies in quality but the pilot is excellent. It’s dramatic but not melodramatic (like some other storylines), establishes the characters really well, and ends on the perfect emotional beat that really pulls the viewer into the next episode.”
And finally: “heroes would be on this list for me. The hype of that first season had so many people instantly hooked. Before Season 2 was ruined by the writers’ strike (no fault of the writers, just the money-hungry networks), everyone I knew was obsessed with this show.”