The All-Time Greatest TV Pilots TV Programs
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The All-Time Greatest TV Pilots

List Criteria: Pilot episodes only

The greatest TV pilots of all-time are single episodes of television that introduced us to what would soon be iconic characters and casts. A TV pilot is the first episode of a TV sitcom, drama, cartoon, or even reality show that introduces the cast and story to audiences and asks them (in as little as 22 minutes) to stick around and watch the show throughout its run. While many of these shows are now considered to be among the best TV shows of all time, many didn't know they were watching the beginnings of history when they tuned in to these top TV pilot episodes.

Some of the greatest TV pilots featured things you didn't think you'd ever hear on television (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), the introduction of characters that would drive the top cult TV shows of all-time (Twin Peaks, The X-Files), and even moments in TV history that- even a decade before their release- would have been censored and disallowed from ever airing on television (The Following). These greatest TV pilots became some of the best TV shows currently on the air with some of the greatest TV characters ever.

What was the best TV pilot ever? That's what this list is here to help the TV viewing public decide. This list is a round-up of the best sitcom pilots, best sci-fi pilots, and the best drama pilots ever to make it to air on television. If you don't see your favorite TV pilot on the list, make sure to add it so it can compete for the #1 spot on the list of the all-time greatest TV pilots.

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  1. 1
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  12. 12
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  14. 14
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  18. 18
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  19. 19
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  20. 20
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  21. 21
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  22. 22
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  23. 23
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  24. 24
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  28. 28
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  29. 29
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  30. 30
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  32. 32
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Keri Russell, Noah Emmerich, John McIntire A pair of deep-cover Soviet spies masquerades as a typical DC couple whose children, neighbors, coworkers & friends are completely unaware of their activities. At home, they're the stereotypical

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  34. 34
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  35. 35
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Zooey Deschanel, Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Nealon

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  36. 36
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  37. 37
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    added by NickMaes Eric Roberts, Tom Baker, Paul McGann

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  38. 38
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    ranked low on reranks Hayden Panettiere, Kristen Bell, Ali Larter

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  40. 40
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  41. 41
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  42. 42
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  43. 43
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  44. 44
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  45. 45
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    added by Roseannadanna Bill Paterson, Caitriona Balfe, Graham McTavish

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  46. 46
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  47. 47
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    added by Dismalhead Whoopi Goldberg, Patrick Stewart, Wil Wheaton

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  48. 48
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    added by penguinchick Teri Polo, Janine Turner, John Corbett

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  49. 49
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  50. 50
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    added by WarrenMitchell Yvonne Strahovski, Matt Bomer, Linda Hamilton

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