Skip Nav
scream queens
Meet Every New and Returning Cast Member For the Second Season of Scream Queens
Gal Gadot
9 Movies You Didn't Even Know Gal Gadot Was In
Nostalgia
'50s Songs That Will Have You "Rockin' Around the Clock" at Your Wedding

Best TV Pilots of All Time

Are These the 10 Best TV Pilots of All Time?


About this time last year, I asked you to tell me which TV shows you thought had strong first episodes. This year, TV Guide has named its 10 favorite pilots of all time, and . . . let's just say I respectfully disagree.

Well, I can't quibble much with the magazine's No. 1 choice of Lost, a pilot many of you brought up last year. It's completely true that from the first minutes the show sucked viewers in (as TV Guide puts it) "like that dude who got too close to the engine." After that, though, things get a little wonky. Like, is it fair to put a pilot that never aired on the list, like the editors did with the Football Wives pilot (No. 7)? I know networks make mistakes, but if the show never made it to TV, the pilot couldn't have been that great.

Also sticking out to me: the 30 Rock pilot (decent, but that show didn't get really hilarious till about episode six) and Saturday Night Live (does that even count as a pilot?). I also think I'd put ER up further on the list and consider adding Grey's Anatomy, Twin Peaks, The West Wing, and/or Six Feet Under. What are your quibbles — and where do you agree? To see the whole top 10 list, just

.

  1. Lost
  2. 24
  3. The Shield
  4. The Sopranos
  5. 30 Rock
  6. Football Wives
  7. Desperate Housewives
  8. Saturday Night Live
  9. ER
  10. Alias
  11. Source

Around The Web
Join The Conversation
Allytta Allytta 7 years
oops, six :D what am i thinking of?
Allytta Allytta 7 years
oops, six :D what am i thinking of?
Allytta Allytta 7 years
i love sex feet unde,r but it took me 6 years to get into it. i mean i watched the whole series this summer, but before that i found it appauling. and even this summer the pilot didn't do anything for me, but i decided to stick to it. i agree with lost, that pilot was the start of my addiction, i'm on my 94 tv show during the past 2 years...
Allytta Allytta 7 years
i love sex feet unde,r but it took me 6 years to get into it. i mean i watched the whole series this summer, but before that i found it appauling. and even this summer the pilot didn't do anything for me, but i decided to stick to it.i agree with lost, that pilot was the start of my addiction, i'm on my 94 tv show during the past 2 years...
The-City-Girl The-City-Girl 7 years
I totally agree about the X-Files Pilot lilpeapod! :-D
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 7 years
I agree with Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Alias. I also really liked the pilots to Friends, Pushing Daisies, Grey's Anatomy, and Gilmore Girls. No pilots are perfect though, and there were a lot of changes that were made after the pilots came out (Gilmore Girls' Star Hollows scenery was different and Friends had horrible cinematography in the pilot). I have never seen My So-Called Life and it is SO hyped about around here. I'll have to check it out one of these days.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 7 years
I agree with Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Alias. I also really liked the pilots to Friends, Pushing Daisies, Grey's Anatomy, and Gilmore Girls. No pilots are perfect though, and there were a lot of changes that were made after the pilots came out (Gilmore Girls' Star Hollows scenery was different and Friends had horrible cinematography in the pilot).I have never seen My So-Called Life and it is SO hyped about around here. I'll have to check it out one of these days.
Phil Phil 7 years
Lost, 24 and Alias are right on in their list, but I wonder where's "Life On Mars," "Cupid" (which didn't really get the viewers in its 1998 run but still showed the world the incredible writing talent of Rob Thomas and comedic mastery of Jeremy Piven), and Sports Night (which was just incredible all around!). I agree with a lot of the folks that gave mention to "Pushing Daisies" and "Twin Peaks." Also, why has no one mentioned the ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT pilot?! Come on!
Phil Phil 7 years
Lost, 24 and Alias are right on in their list, but I wonder where's "Life On Mars," "Cupid" (which didn't really get the viewers in its 1998 run but still showed the world the incredible writing talent of Rob Thomas and comedic mastery of Jeremy Piven), and Sports Night (which was just incredible all around!).I agree with a lot of the folks that gave mention to "Pushing Daisies" and "Twin Peaks."Also, why has no one mentioned the ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT pilot?! Come on!
kristyrk kristyrk 7 years
I'm just not a Lost fan, so I don't quite get how that is #1, but Six Feet Under is missing?! Come on. And whoever said My So Called Life: High Five. Oh, and correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't The X Files pilot pretty dope? It's all a little hazy that far back :)
kristyrk kristyrk 7 years
I'm just not a Lost fan, so I don't quite get how that is #1, but Six Feet Under is missing?! Come on. And whoever said My So Called Life: High Five. Oh, and correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't The X Files pilot pretty dope? It's all a little hazy that far back :)
suziryder suziryder 7 years
Oo penguins I agree with you about My So-Called Life!! Good call :) Lost and Sopranoes had awesome pilots. I don't think Football Wives or SNL should be on this list. Desperate Housewives also had a great pilot. 30 Rock's pilot wasn't all that great, and shouldn't be that high up on the list... And aaaugh! I can't remember the Alias pilot at all! I was so obsessed with that show for a while...
suziryder suziryder 7 years
Oo penguins I agree with you about My So-Called Life!! Good call :)Lost and Sopranoes had awesome pilots. I don't think Football Wives or SNL should be on this list. Desperate Housewives also had a great pilot. 30 Rock's pilot wasn't all that great, and shouldn't be that high up on the list... And aaaugh! I can't remember the Alias pilot at all! I was so obsessed with that show for a while...
ladybirda ladybirda 7 years
Definitely the OC and Veronica Mars, and of course My So Called Life as well. Just today I caught myself almost saying "You will have such a time!"
Allyace Allyace 7 years
schnappycat -- I thought the pilot for 30 Rock was horrible too and stopped watching. I think I even changed the channel part way through the episode. I did watch a few of the newer episodes during the writer's strike and it was better, but I still don't get the hype.
Allyace Allyace 7 years
I would put Pushing Daisies VERY high on the list. LOST would still be my #1 though. The first episode of The Wire is amazing too (not that anyone should be surprise with how great the rest of the show is!). The others I would thrown in there are Weeds and My So Called Life. I don't know that I would put Heroes in the top 10 but it would be somewhere near the top.
hayworthgilda hayworthgilda 7 years
Friday Night Lights, Veronica Mars, Twin Peaks, and West Wing are all missing. Happy to see Alias, Lost, and ER on the list. OC should have an honorable mention :)
hayworthgilda hayworthgilda 7 years
Friday Night Lights, Veronica Mars, Twin Peaks, and West Wing are all missing. Happy to see Alias, Lost, and ER on the list. OC should have an honorable mention :)
penguins268 penguins268 7 years
The pilot for 'My So-Called Life' was amazing. Some of the best quotes come from that episode.
Phasekitty Phasekitty 7 years
I'm always partial to SFU, but to be fair, I don't think I haven't seen most of these pilots. I'd also consider putting Reaper on there- the pilot was the most promising thing about that show.
intensebandgeek intensebandgeek 7 years
Definitely agree with LOST, but not much else.
kea718 kea718 7 years
I agree 100% with nancita. The Twin Peaks pilot was WOWWW!!!!
lily8206 lily8206 7 years
The only pilots I've seen from that list are Lost and 24 so I guess I can't really comment on the rest. The only show I can think of where I raved about the pilot was Lost - so that's the show that would get my vote.
Scream Queens Season 2 Cast
Movies Like Stranger Things
Boy Meets World Reunion on Girl Meets World 2016
Can You Spot the Fake Pilots?
Strike Could Shake Up Television For Years to Come
The Hills and Laguna Beach GIFs
Supernatural Crime-Solvers Are So Hot Right Now

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

From Our Partners
Latest Entertainment
X