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The 50 Best TV Pilots of the 21st Century According to Film School Rejects

"The first episode of a series is often awkward, sensationalized, & occasionally features a different cast than later episodes. A piece of art gets better when more time is spent on it, & plenty of pilots during our era of entertainment saturation have felt like messy rough drafts. There are plenty of excellent pilots out there that deserve praise for exceeding expectations. I watched a few hundred of them & made a list of 50 exceptional ones, ordered by a complex ranking system. I didn't include miniseries that ran for a single season, children's television, reality or variety shows, or anything that was created before the year 2000. I identified elements of a good pilot which I then used to evaluate each show that I watched: Is the pilot open enough for audiences to stick with it & relevant to the rest of the series? Does the pilot feel fresh, have a sense of artistry, feel complete, already contain the DNA of the show that it would later become, & still hold up today?"
859 users · 1,560 views
 
avg. score: 12 of 50 (24%)
required scores: 1, 5, 9, 12, 18 

How many have you seen?

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1
Lost
Lost
2
Alias
Alias
3
Orphan Black
Orphan Black
4
Homeland
Homeland
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5
Mad Men
Mad Men
6
Gilmore Girls
Gilmore Girls
7
Fargo
Fargo
8
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead
9
The Good Place
The Good Place
10
Better Call Saul
Better Call Saul
11
Six Feet Under
Six Feet Under
12
Grey's Anatomy Season 1
Grey's Anatomy Season 1
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13
Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights
14
Les Revenants
Les Revenants
15
Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad
16
Sweet/Vicious
Sweet/Vicious
17
Atlanta
Atlanta
18
The Shield
The Shield
19
Pushing Daisies
Pushing Daisies
20
24
24
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21
Justified
Justified
22
The Americans
The Americans
23
The Knick
The Knick
24
Queen Sugar
Queen Sugar
25
Fleabag
Fleabag
26
Sherlock
Sherlock
27
Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica
28
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
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29
Heroes
Heroes
30
Arrested Development
Arrested Development
31
Firefly
Firefly
32
Veronica Mars
Veronica Mars
33
Mr. Robot
Mr. Robot
34
Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives
35
Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones
36
Veep
Veep
37
Glee
Glee
38
Hannibal
Hannibal
39
Jane the Virgin
Jane the Virgin
40
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones
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