The All-Time Greatest TV Pilots TV Programs
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26  reranks 18,593 votes 1,827 voters 55,885 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
  • 26 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 478
    Down 304

    the people's #1 &most listed
    Lost

    2004 More
    99
  2. 2
    Up 494
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    ranked low on reranks
    Breaking Bad

    2008 More
    92
  3. 3
    Up 439
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    2010 More
    91
  4. 4
    Up 417
    Down 169
    2006 More
    91
  5. 5
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    2010 More
    90
  6. 6
    Up 426
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    2011 More
    81
  7. 7
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    2002 More
    71
  8. 8
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    2003 More
    69
  9. 9
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    2005 More
    68
  10. 10
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    2007 More
    66
  11. 11
    Up 196
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    1993 More
    64
  12. 12
    Up 196
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    1990 More
    62
  13. 13
    Up 183
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    2009 More
    62
  14. 14
    Up 221
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    2004 More
    62
  15. 15
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    1999 More
    61
  16. 16
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    2009 More
    60
  17. 17
    Up 182
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    1994 More
    59
  18. 18
    Up 276
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    ranked low on reranks
    Futurama

    1999 More
    59
  19. 19
    Up 144
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    1982 More
    54
  20. 20
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    1999 More
    54
  21. 21
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    1963 More
    54
    added by: NickMaes
  22. 22
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    2001 More
    54
  23. 23
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    1966 More
    54
    added by: The Enforcer
  24. 24
    Up 73
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    1998 More
    53
    added by: PeteBoyle
  25. 25
    Up 50
    Down 31
    2005 More
    51
    added by: isadora
  26. 26
    Up 205
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    ranked low on reranks
    Scrubs

    2001 More
    50
  27. 27
    Up 96
    Down 54
    1999 More
    50
  28. 28
    Up 105
    Down 92
    2011 More
    50
  29. 29
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    2005 More
    50
  30. 30
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    2006 More
    50
  31. 31
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    2008 More
    50
  32. 32
    Up 118
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    2002 More
    49
  33. 33
    Up 161
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    ranked low on reranks
    Archer

    2009 More
    48
  34. 34
    Up 113
    Down 105
    2007 More
    48
    added by: WarrenMitchell
  35. 35
    Up 99
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    1988 More
    48
  36. 36
    Up 105
    Down 127

    often listed
    Friday Night Lights

    2006 More
    48
  37. 37
    Up 123
    Down 147
    2004 More
    48
  38. 38
    Up 145
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    2007 More
    47
  39. 39
    Up 153
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    2006 More
    46
  40. 40
    Up 109
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    2008 More
    45
  41. 41
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    2007 More
    45
  42. 42
    Up 104
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    2004 More
    44
  43. 43
    Up 86
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    2010 More
    44
  44. 44
    Up 58
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Alias

    2001 More
    43
  45. 45
    Up 50
    Down 62
    1975 More
    43
  46. 46
    Up 127
    Down 122
    2011 More
    43
  47. 47
    Up 51
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    2001 More
    43
  48. 48
    Up 40
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    1996 More
    42
  49. 49
    Up 63
    Down 80
    1999 More
    42
    added by: bellaxox
  50. 50
    Up 41
    Down 56
    2005 More
    42
  51. 89 +

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