The All-Time Greatest TV Pilots TV Programs
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22  reranks 17,588 votes 1,735 voters 52,634 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
  • 22 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 455
    Down 283

    the people's #1 &most listed
    Lost

    2004 More
    99
  2. 2
    Up 465
    Down 173

    ranked low on reranks
    Breaking Bad

    2008 More
    99
  3. 3
    Up 417
    Down 170
    2010 More
    95
  4. 4
    Up 391
    Down 159
    2006 More
    95
  5. 5
    Up 356
    Down 153
    2010 More
    92
  6. 6
    Up 409
    Down 158
    2011 More
    87
  7. 7
    Up 264
    Down 114
    2002 More
    76
  8. 8
    Up 325
    Down 194
    2003 More
    70
  9. 9
    Up 235
    Down 131
    2005 More
    68
  10. 10
    Up 215
    Down 143
    2007 More
    66
  11. 11
    Up 186
    Down 141
    1993 More
    64
  12. 12
    Up 269
    Down 133

    ranked low on reranks
    Futurama

    1999 More
    62
  13. 13
    Up 216
    Down 162
    2004 More
    62
  14. 14
    Up 186
    Down 160
    1990 More
    62
  15. 15
    Up 142
    Down 119
    1999 More
    62
  16. 16
    Up 220
    Down 148
    2009 More
    62
  17. 17
    Up 172
    Down 136
    1994 More
    59
  18. 18
    Up 139
    Down 134
    1982 More
    59
  19. 19
    Up 172
    Down 124
    2009 More
    58
  20. 20
    Up 112
    Down 88
    1966 More
    58
    added by: The Enforcer
  21. 21
    Up 79
    Down 58
    1963 More
    57
    added by: NickMaes
  22. 22
    Up 171
    Down 120
    2005 More
    53
  23. 23
    Up 197
    Down 114

    ranked low on reranks
    Scrubs

    2001 More
    53
  24. 24
    Up 110
    Down 120
    2001 More
    53
  25. 25
    Up 116
    Down 104
    1999 More
    53
  26. 26
    Up 115
    Down 102
    2002 More
    53
  27. 27
    Up 116
    Down 82
    2006 More
    52
  28. 28
    Up 110
    Down 97
    2007 More
    51
    added by: WarrenMitchell
  29. 29
    Up 157
    Down 102

    ranked low on reranks
    Archer

    2009 More
    51
  30. 30
    Up 119
    Down 138
    2004 More
    51
  31. 31
    Up 94
    Down 122

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Friday Night Lights

    2006 More
    50
  32. 32
    Up 138
    Down 124
    2007 More
    50
  33. 33
    Up 96
    Down 82
    2011 More
    49
  34. 34
    Up 86
    Down 47

    ranked low on reranks
    The Sopranos

    1999 More
    49
  35. 35
    Up 107
    Down 100
    2008 More
    49
  36. 36
    Up 148
    Down 139
    2006 More
    49
  37. 37
    Up 65
    Down 56
    1998 More
    48
    added by: PeteBoyle
  38. 38
    Up 101
    Down 100
    2004 More
    47
  39. 39
    Up 49
    Down 55
    1975 More
    47
  40. 40
    Up 47
    Down 38
    2001 More
    46
  41. 41
    Up 123
    Down 116
    2011 More
    46
  42. 42
    Up 94
    Down 94
    1988 More
    46
  43. 43
    Up 38
    Down 50

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jericho

    2005 More
    45
  44. 44
    Up 43
    Down 79

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Terra Nova

    2011 More
    45
    added by: Dismalhead
  45. 45
    Up 111
    Down 108
    2007 More
    44
  46. 46
    Up 39
    Down 24
    2005 More
    44
    added by: isadora
  47. 47
    Up 102
    Down 83
    2008 More
    43
  48. 48
    Up 83
    Down 75
    2010 More
    43
  49. 49
    Up 44
    Down 43
    1987 More
    42
    added by: Dismalhead
  50. 50
    Up 41
    Down 44
    1989 More
    42
  51. 92 +

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