We all have at least one favorite TV show that we want to share with everyone (whether they want to watch or not). But the question is, once you've duct-taped them to an armchair and pried their eyes open like Alex in A Clockwork Orange, where do you start? What episode is guaranteed to suck your friends into the show, to make them a dedicated fan just like you? It's a tricky business, so what follows is my list of gateway episodes for ten recent and/or current television shows, ranging from Buffy to Breaking Bad, Friends to Supernatural, and more. Obviously, the list is limited by my own personal taste in TV viewing, and guided by my own set of principles and so-called 'requirements' which I'll do my best to explain for each selection. The largest of these is simply the idea that I'm somewhat of a completist so if someone asks me where to begin in a series, I'll likely look for the earliest point possible to send them. A momentary sidebar: Fans can come from anywhere and enter into a series at any point and in any way that works for them. In no way am I arguing that you have to follow my recommendations, or that if you don't, you're 'not a real fan'. That would just be foolish. The point of this article is to welcome people to the shows we love, not turn them away. So without further ado, I present my list of ten TV episodes guaranteed to make your friends, family, and even people you don't like very much into hopeless devotees of the shows you love. Be aware, there are some spoilers.
Matt is a freelance writer and aspiring TV and film scriptwriter. He has a bizarrely eclectic skillset, and the interests to match. Find more of his work and ramblings over at the Breakwater Industries page on Facebook. He is a regular contributor to WhatCulture.com, and his work has also appeared in the essay collection "Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion", published by Titan Books.