902 voters

The Turning Points When A Bunch Of Great Shows First Became Great

Updated December 2, 2019 2.9k votes 902 voters 34.4k views13 items

List RulesVote up the most memorable turning points when decent shows became amazing.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither were some of the best TV shows ever aired. Episodes that skyrocket shows to greatness aren't always the pilots. Sure, some of the best moments of TV shows are right in Episode 1 for all to see, but most series take a while to get going. Typically, the first season of any TV show is going to have an awkward period where the creators struggle to discover the tone and feel. But if you stick around, it's often rewarding to be there when a great show finally hits its stride. 

Can any Star Trek fan imagine giving up on The Next Generation before Season 3? Or what if people never stayed to watch Parks and Recreation after Season 1? Check out this list of TV series that started off shakily before finding their footing. Vote up the best moments when mediocre shows became epic. 

  • 5

    Avatar: The Last Airbender - When Backstories Are Revealed

    Video: YouTube

    As a whole, Avatar: The Last Airbender is an amazing show, period. They told a complete and complicated story over three seasons, but it took a little while to start up. The beginning of the show had a great deal of world-building standalone episodes. It wasn't until "The Storm" that the audience learned the back stories of both Zuko and Aang.

    Suddenly, what had seemed like a very black and white hero/villain relationship became much more complicated. It helped establish a dynamic that would inform the journeys for both characters, which became the secret to the show's success. 

    Was this a turning point?
  • 6

    Star Trek: The Next Generation - When Their Uniforms Changed

    Video: YouTube

    People will tell you that the show improved when Riker grew his beard. While that's true, Season 2 still really isn't all that great. In fact, most of it ranged from forgettable to unwatchable. But Season 3 saw new writers along with several other changes to the show.

    Chief among them were uniforms that actually looked like uniforms (complete with nifty collars), rather than skin-tight one-pieces. After that, the show became an instant classic. 

    Was this a turning point?
  • 7

    Parks And Rec - When Leslie Goes On A Date With Louis C.K.

    Video: YouTube

    When someone fires up the first season of Parks and Rec, it's easy to see why they might be turned off. While the show would eventually become amazing, the first season just isn't very good. However, Season 2 completely revamps the show and the characters.

    A great episode to start with is "Practice Date," where Leslie's anxiety leads to her completely over prepare for a date by going on a practice one with her best friend. Hilarity ensues - enough to make you watch the rest of the series.

    Was this a turning point?
  • 8

    Seinfeld - The Contest

    Video: YouTube

    If you've ever watched the pilot to Seinfeld, you may have noticed that it's actually awful. In fact, aside from a small handful of decent episodes, the first few seasons of Seinfeld weren't the monster hit that it would later be known as. That all changed with Season 4, with the episode "The Contest," where the characters make a bet to see who could go the longest without... You know.

    One by one, they drop like flies from the bet in the most hysterical ways. The euphemisms and the tension between the group as they slowly lose their minds through pent up sexual tension is hilarious. And then George winning in the end made it one of the most celebrated episodes in the series' history. 

    Was this a turning point?