Stephen: What’s your favourite first episode of a TV show ever?
Mental Floss has compiled this list of television series pilots, which it has deemed the best of the best. Here are their top 10 picks (see full list at the link):
- The Sopranos. The initial pairing of Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) was enough to hook plenty of people.
- Twin Peaks. “She’s dead; wrapped in plastic” remains one of the most iconic lines in television history.
- Deadwood. There was a musicality and depth to David Milch’s scripting that became the show’s trademark,
- Cheers. The show’s very first episode is the chronicle of how a stranger–namely Diane (Shelley Long)–is initiated into this group of misfits who are always glad to see you.
- Hannibal. Hannibal was an under-watched work of TV genius from its very first hour.
- Lost. The two-part pilot introduced the show’s trademark use of flashbacks to explore its characters and is a thrilling piece of controlled chaos.
- The West Wing. This pilot is a near-flawless chronicle of the power behind the throne.
- Arrested Development. This series opened with few chaotic minutes onboard a yacht in the middle of an SEC raid.
- Battlestar Galactica. This series started with an epic miniseries chronicling the destruction of the Twelve Colonies via a surprise Cylon attack.
- Saturday Night Live. Host George Carlin and a cast of future stars came out swinging.