Even great TV shows do not always start that way. Sometimes a show needs several episodes or even a few seasons to get a foothold. This is not a shame, but it also means that the shows that nail their tonal and thematic intentions from the first episode are rare creatures worth celebrating. In this sense, here are 15 of the biggest pilot episodes in television history.
. 1 The Sopranos // "Pilot" and others "The Sopranos"
It all starts with a gangster waiting for his appointment as a psychiatrist. The initial, apparently mismatched pairing of Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) was enough to address many people when The Sopranos first arrived in 1
. 2 Twin Peaks // "Pilot" and "Northwest Passage"
"It's Dead, Wrapped in Plastic" remains one of the best-known lines in television history, in part because that's one of the strangest ways To formulate a call informing someone that you have just found a corpse, so began the central secret of Twin Peaks David Lynch and Mark Frost's strangely satirical television secrecy, the mystery, soap opera and pure lynchic Madness merges into something different from anything that has ever been seen on television before or since.  3. Deadwood // "Deadwood"
The Western was once an integral part of the But when creator David Milch decided to bring his own version of Western storytelling to HBO with Deadwood what we got was a long way off of Gunsmoke . To understand that Deadwood was different, you only needed to hear one character speak – and not just because they cursed a storm. It was a musicality and depth in Milchs script that became the show's hallmark, and the excitement of the upcoming Deadwood movie, premiered on HBO on May 31, should tell you everything that you to know about the heritage show has left.
. 4 Cheers // "At some point give me a ring"
The title of the title bar in Cheers is right there in the title song: It is a sanctuary and a place of consolation. So it's pretty brilliant all those years later that the very first episode of the series is the chronicle of how a stranger – Diane (Shelley Long) – is dedicated to this group of outsiders who are always glad that you came. Structurally, the pilot works because it enables a character to be identified to identify the audience in the show's cast and home set. Emotionally it works because it enables Diane, and thus us, to find friends we would like to see again and again.
. 5 Hannibal // "Apéritif"
There were five feature films adapted from Thomas Harris' four Hannibal Lecter novels, as the creator Bryan Fuller adapted his version of Hannibal the Cannibal to the Little One Canvas brought what naturally led Many people asked us why we needed another version on earth. "Apéritif" quickly and elegantly reveals that Hannibal is unlike any other Harris adaptation we've seen. Rich in metaphors and highlighted by brilliant performances by Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen as the title character, Hannibal was an underwatched work of the TV genius from the very beginning.
. 6 Lost // "Pilot, Part 1 and 2"
Lost was thrown out of thin air nearly a decade ago with a series finale that still elicits fan debate, but if we must continue argue that the show has not completed its mysterious run satisfactorily, at least we do not have to argue that it failed to start with a bang. The two-part pilot of Lost who introduced the striking use of flashbacks to explore his characters is an exciting piece of controlled chaos that introduces puzzles to riddles (this polar bear!) And that almost immediately revealed a phenomenon lurking on us ,
. 7 The West Wing // "Pilot"
In a sense, the first episode of The West Wing is a witty, gripping compilation of a legendary moment: As President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen) He finally shows up after riding a bicycle against a tree so that he can knock down some powerful Christian leaders who have been busy his staff all day. In other ways, the Pilot of the West Wing is also without the President's appearance, a near-immaculate record of power behind the throne, and brilliant people trying only to give their best to an imperfect system. Either way, it's an unforgettable start.
. 8 Arrested Development // "Pilot"
So many sitcoms need at least one season, if not more, until they have adopted their final form, so many fans of The Office and Parks and Recreation could attest. The concept is there, but not the big picture. Arrested Development is not one of those shows. With only a few chaotic minutes aboard a yacht in the middle of a SEC raid, creator Mitch Hurwitz revealed one of the weirdest dysfunctional TV families, and the show never looked back.
. 9 Battlestar Galactica // "Battlestar Galactica"
Technically Battlestar Galactica did not get a proper pilot. Instead, there was a miniseries that recorded the destruction of the Twelve Colonies by a surprise attack by the Cylons, partially aided by Cylon sleeping agents who look like humans. The revival of Battlestar Galactica was not necessarily something fans of the original series enjoyed, but this new vision of the world was so ambitious and so emotionally devastating that the show went on to become one of the most well-known television works of the 2000s.
10th Saturday Night Live // "George Carlin / Billy Preston & Janis Ian"
Saturday Night Live is by nature a show that is constantly evolving, and so has been since the beginning of it over 40 years old. In 1975, creator Lorne Michaels and his "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" did not know that they were starting something legendary, but with a comedic superstar as host and cast of future stars, which was then known as "Saturday Night" by NBC , came swinging out and so began the flight of one of the biggest survivors of television.
. 11 30 Rock // "Pilot"
Like Arrested Development before 30 Rock came out of the gate as a show that already knew exactly what it was and what it had to do to achieve maximum effectiveness. Tina Fey's pilot, Liz Lemon (Fey), learns that the show she's running for is being attacked by an out-of-control star (Tracy Morgan), showing the typical joke-and-second style for the series become famous, and never managed to sacrifice quality for quantity. It's a master class on how to start a show with a specific tone.
12th Futurama // "Space Pilot 3000"
Matt Groening created The Simpsons the most successful animated series of all time. Even in 1999, when Futurama premiered, it was hard to imagine that a flash like this would strike twice, but somehow Groening and co-developer David X. Cohen did it. Futurama – the story of a supplier named Fry (Billy West), who appears 1000 years into his own future after he was accidentally frozen cryogenically – debuted as a sharp, bold and instantly ingenious satire that accomplished both Call The Simpsons and somehow avoid copying their own satirical instincts. "Space Pilot 3000" was an instant classic.
. 13 The Wire // "The Target"
Forget the best pilot episodes for a second and think only of the best opening scenes in the history of television, and The Wire could emerge at the top of the list. A simple conversation between Detective McNulty (Dominic West) and a witness to a murder while policemen work their way through the scene brought to the fore much of what made the show great: understated action, brilliant dialogue, unpretentious realism and themed hanging of each word , The rest of the pilot has somehow only managed to improve from there, and a TV legend was born.
fourteenth How I met your mother // "Pilot"
How I met your mother is like Lost a show with an end that still partly separates the fans because it seemed to overshadow the entire mission statement of the show, as stated in the pilot. Taken as an introduction to a series about friendship and what Ted Mosby's friends later call "emotional stamina". How I Met Your Mother The Pilot is a beautifully composed piece of television that tells the story The story of Ted (Josh Radnor) and Robin (Cobie Smulders), how they were magical together in the first few hours and they then completely infiltrated to the end.
15th Freaks and Geeks // "Pilot"
Few television series, let alone sitcoms, have ever managed to produce such a delicate tonal balance as Freaks and Geeks even did in his very first episode. The pilot is a meditation on adaptation, bullying, parental pressure, young love, what it means to be "cool" and the often huge differences between different types of teenagers – and he manages to get each of those things right at once. It's the announcement of one of the biggest cult shows ever made, and the attitude of the 1980s proves time and again that their stories remain timeless.