Nailing something right out of the gate is difficult, especially for television shows. Many have potential, and only with time do they find their direction. Others however, make such a grand entrance that nearly everyone takes notice. The right combination of writers, director, and showrunner (often the same person, initially) have a vision, knowing exactly what story they want to tell. While a few don’t pan out the way audiences would like, there’s still a sense of awe returning to the first episode, the pilot, refueling your imagination with possibilities.
There’s plenty to be said about how this ultimately ended, but the beginning is still spectacular. In retrospect, it’s obvious that Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof didn’t know where Lost was going, but they certainly knew what it was. This was meant to be a sci-fi. It wasn’t until the fourth season when that became perfectly clear, but the signs were there from the very beginning, only the characters, or the audience, were unaware. From day one this show was a hit.
I’ve long fallen off this particular bandwagon. Still, the first episode perfectly captured the tone and essences of the comic. Starting with the cold open, this knew exactly what it wanted to be, having Rick kill an adolescent zombie girl. A little too much Wang Chung in the score, but the imagery was astounding.
The pilot, the real pilot, not the first episode Fox aired, made everyone who watched instantly fall in love with Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of the Serenity. Still gets me a little teary eyed remembering it.
I didn’t start The Shield until a year or two after it ended. I’ve always heard great things, but never had the time. Finally, I sat down to watch. Honestly, the pilot was average by all accounts. It wasn’t until the final moments that I was hooked. That was the push I needed down the slippery slope of binge viewing. I finished all seven seasons in two weeks.
Nothing encapsulates potential better than the opening of Battlestar Galactica. This might be a bit of a cheat, as it was less of a pilot and more of a TV movie. Still, if this was unsuccessful, the series wouldn’t have been. From the moment this started, even the exposition was captivating. It perfectly set the stage, letting viewers know why their jaws should drop in the opening moments. It was a blurry sprint to the end after that.
With the exception of The Walking Dead, I binge watched every one of these shows. On a side note, these are some of myoldest posts I’m linking back to. I don’t think half of them have images. I’m almost scared to look in on their well being. If you do, treat them gently, they were young, and knew so little of the world.
What are your favorite pilots? What’s the bingy-est binge you’ve ever done of a show? Comment below!
And now, I’m making up words. Fryul.