The All-Time Greatest TV Pilots TV Programs
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24  reranks 18,541 votes 1,821 voters 55,807 views more info

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.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 24 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 477
    Down 302

    the people's #1 &most listed
    Lost

    2004 More
    99
  2. 2
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    ranked low on reranks
    Breaking Bad

    2008 More
    94
  3. 3
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    2006 More
    93
  4. 4
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    2010 More
    90
  5. 5
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    2010 More
    89
  6. 6
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    2011 More
    82
  7. 7
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    2002 More
    72
  8. 8
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    2003 More
    70
  9. 9
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    2005 More
    69
  10. 10
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    1993 More
    65
  11. 11
    Up 195
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    1990 More
    63
  12. 12
    Up 228
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    2007 More
    63
  13. 13
    Up 221
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    2004 More
    63
  14. 14
    Up 148
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    1999 More
    62
  15. 15
    Up 223
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    2009 More
    62
  16. 16
    Up 276
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    ranked low on reranks
    Futurama

    1999 More
    60
  17. 17
    Up 181
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    1994 More
    56
  18. 18
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    2009 More
    56
  19. 19
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    1982 More
    55
  20. 20
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    1963 More
    55
    added by: NickMaes
  21. 21
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    2001 More
    55
  22. 22
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    1966 More
    55
    added by: The Enforcer
  23. 23
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    Down 53
    1999 More
    51
  24. 24
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    ranked low on reranks
    Scrubs

    2001 More
    51
  25. 25
    Up 104
    Down 91
    2011 More
    51
  26. 26
    Up 122
    Down 110
    1999 More
    51
  27. 27
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    2005 More
    51
  28. 28
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    2006 More
    50
  29. 29
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    2002 More
    50
  30. 30
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    ranked low on reranks
    Archer

    2009 More
    49
  31. 31
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    Down 105
    2007 More
    49
    added by: WarrenMitchell
  32. 32
    Up 99
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    1988 More
    49
  33. 33
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    2006 More
    48
  34. 34
    Up 123
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    2004 More
    48
  35. 35
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    2005 More
    48
    added by: isadora
  36. 36
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    2007 More
    48
  37. 37
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    2008 More
    46
  38. 38
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    2006 More
    46
  39. 39
    Up 72
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    1998 More
    46
    added by: PeteBoyle
  40. 40
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    2007 More
    46
  41. 41
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    2004 More
    45
  42. 42
    Up 51
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    2001 More
    44
  43. 43
    Up 50
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    1975 More
    44
  44. 44
    Up 127
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    2011 More
    44
  45. 45
    Up 41
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    2005 More
    43
  46. 46
    Up 63
    Down 80
    1999 More
    43
    added by: bellaxox
  47. 47
    Up 45
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Terra Nova

    2011 More
    43
    added by: Dismalhead
  48. 48
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    Down 87

    ranked low on reranks
    True Blood

    2008 More
    42
  49. 49
    Up 47
    Down 49
    2008 More
    42
  50. 50
    Up 85
    Down 82
    2010 More
    41
  51. 92 +

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