What series was the best from the beginning?

I was inspired to start this thread by the thread on Dollhouse. A lot of people are making pretty strong judgments about this show based on a single ep. It seems to me that most series take some time to get started. Often, when I like a show, if I look back I’m surprised at how bad the pilot was. If nothing else, you don’t know the characters or plot. It is easier to be more forgiving upon rewatching a pilot once you know more about them.

So which shows had pilots that just blew you away - that you knew you wuld love from the first viewing?

I can’t really remember any. Well, my son and I really enjoyed the first ep of Firefly we saw. And I didn’t see the premiere of Buffy, but I was blown away by the first ep I saw (where they were caring for the eggs.) But most often my reaction seems to be “Eh, that wasn’t too bad. It is worth another viewing next week.”

The West Wing had an extraordinarily strong first show, which is surprising given that they have to introduce the all the characters, establish relationships between them and set the stage for seasons to come.

The Sopranos

Burn Notice is the first to come to mind.


Veronica Mars. First season is fantastic. Second is pretty entertaining. Third is meh. Then it got cancelled.

I’ll second the Sopranos.
All in the Family started strong.
*WKRP *was funny from the first.
*Taxi *had a great first episode.
Star Trek started very strong.
Barney Miller
Northern Exposure might have been the best.
Pushing Daisies

**Started strong but dropped off quick to a still very good level. **
*Cheers *
My Name is Earl

The mercy killing got me. He was a good, bad guy. I HAD to see more. Had to.

The Wire.

I agree with The Sopranos.

The Cosby Show.

In Living Color.

Dave Chappelle.

Twin Peaks – The show did go downhill from there, but the first two-hours episode was amazing.

Hill Street Blues – It’s probably somewhat dated now, but at the time, it was like nothing else on TV – multiple complex stories and characters, with a nice mix of humor and drama.

Arrested Development.

Well, duh. …**Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire

Three’s Company
The Nanny**

I thought Buffy hit the ground running from the very first ep. Of course, two things color this perception: We had just finished watching Babylon 5, which had a very weak first season, and my friend made me watch the very painful Buffy movie before we started the series. Coming from those two experiences, a competent first episode was a joyful and welcome sight.

I’ll second Buffy.

I would say Lost, with the disclaimer that I am watching on DVD and I am only about 2/3 of the way through season 2, but I was hooked after about 15 minutes of the first episode.

I would disagree on The Sopranos. I am currently watching that for the first time on DVD and I didn’t think the pilot was all that great. I think the 3rd and 4tf episodes is where I was hooked.

Good point Hill Street Blues and **NYPD Blue ** both had great strong starts.

I agree on Twin Peaks too but with all the comparisons between it and **Northern Exposure **at the time I thought Northern Exposurecompletely blew it away so I did not even include it in my second category.

Watching the first season of Malcolm in the Middle on DVD reminded me how strong and satisfying that first season, and the pilot were, and how many of the great moments I remember were in that first season.

Queer as Folk From the very first episode, the show started strong with the scene between Brian and Justin.

I’ll second (third, whatever) Lost, Buffy, Arrested Development and Pushing Daisies.

I’ll also throw out there: Battlestar Galactica (the new one), Freaks and Geeks, Scrubs, and Wonderfalls.

Brimstone had me hooked from the first episode. I was really annoyed when they cancelled it.

Flying Blind probably was not as good as I remember; but I was in exactly the same demographic as the show’s star, and I really wished that I could land a babe like Tea Leoni.

I so totallly loved “In Plain Sight” from the beginning. Pure fun, plus well-developed characters and good acting. I like it so much that I still go to the USA Network homepage and watch episodes I have already seen, which is pretty unusual for me.

Now I got to wait until April to see the new season. I’m not a patient person so this sucks.

Six Feet Under. Nothing like starting off with someone who appears as if he might be a main character getting killed.

I’ll second Battlestar Galactica. I put off watching it for a long time, despite everyone raving about how great it was, because I just couldn’t get past the memory of the horribly cheesy original series. Why would anyone want to remake that? How good could it possibly be?

Then, finally, I got the mini-series/pilot on Netfix, and within the first 15 minutes I was a drooling BSG fanboy. Still one of the best pilots I’ve ever seen.

I missed the entire first season of Six Feet Under (and therefore never saw the pilot), but I was still going to suggest it. I just assumed it was probably a good episode.