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"Perfection From The First Episode": 16 TV Pilots That Folks Utterly Adored

By Mary Colussi,


Earlier this month, we shared the TV pilots that redditors think are among the greatest ever produced . The BuzzFeed commenters contributed their own thoughts on the subject and shared the first episodes that won them over for many seasons to come (or set a high bar that later episodes struggled to reach). Here are 16 of the pilots that exceeded all of their expectations.

Responses may have been edited for length and/or clarity.

1. " The West Wing . Aaron Sorkin brilliantly sets the vibe and introduces all the characters so perfectly on a 'typical' day at the White House. Jed Bartlet's intro is absolutely stellar."



2. " The Walking Dead pilot was amazing. We get the background of Rick's character very quickly without it being drawn out: He's a family man, holds high respect with his colleagues, literally takes a bullet for his best friend, and is willing to face danger to help a stranger. Then, you get to the eerie empty vibe of the world when he wakes up, and the episode holds that feeling of unease for a good 20 minutes of just being alone in the world and you only have your wits to figure out what the fuck happened. Then, it all goes downhill after Season 1 when it turns into another generic zombie show about trying to keep the peace between your own camp/found family and trying to survive."


AMC / Via

3. " A League of Their Own ! Established the tone of the show quickly, gave great glimpses into each character, and immediately left me wanting more!"


Amazon / Courtesy Everett Collection

4. " Game of Thrones . I know no one likes to talk about the last couple of seasons, but the pilot was amazing. White Walkers, wolves, incest, tense family and friend dynamics, wrapping up with attempted child murder?! I screamed when Jaime pushed Bran out the window."


HBO / Via

5. " Freaks and Geeks . I can watch the first episode over and over."


NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

6. " Trial & Error had me hooked from the very beginning of the pilot episode! Such a criminally underrated show that deserved more seasons."



7. " Lost . The pilot still scares me."


Abc / ©ABC/Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection

8. "In my opinion, I think Desperate Housewives had one of the best pilots I've seen. The style of the show allowed them to quickly introduce the characters efficiently and jumped right into the action and drama."


ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

9. " This Is Us needs to be on this list. You start getting to know a bunch of characters celebrating their birthdays, and then boom! ... You realize you're in two different timelines."


NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

10. " That '70s Show ! I recently rewatched the pilot after binging That '90s Show , and all actors hit the ground running."


20th Century Fox Film Corp. / Courtesy: Everett Collection.

11. "I'd say The Legend of Vox Machina has a really good pilot. It hooked me immediately and made me want to binge the rest."


Amazon / Courtesy Everett Collection

12. " Brooklyn Nine-Nine was perfection from the first episode. All of the characters were set, and it was hilarious."


20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

13. " Peaky Blinders ! It was so good. I only watched half of the pilot before I had to turn it off. I was hooked, just from the first half of the pilot. I have since finished the series, and it was so, so good."


Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

14. " Revenge . It started out with a takedown and just set up the whole first season so well. I was doing a rewatch and was a little bit surprised how quickly it fell apart, to me, after the first half of the season."



15. " The O.C. The rest of the show varies in quality, but the pilot is excellent. It’s dramatic, but not melodramatic (as some other plot lines are), establishes the characters really well, and ends on the perfect emotional beat that really draws the viewer in to watch the next episode."



16. And finally: " Heroes would be on this list for me. The hype of that first season had so many people hooked instantly. Before Season 2 was ruined by the writers' strike (to no fault of the writers, just the money hungry stations), everyone I knew was obsessed with that show."


NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection
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