10 TV Shows Where The First Episode Was The Best

These shows all peaked right at the start.

The Walking Dead

First impressions are so incredibly important, and where TV shows are concerned, that pilot episode needs to come out swinging. It has to quickly establish the premise, place viewers inside a richly drawn world, and introduce them to the principal players if it has a hope of being successful.

After all, it's incredibly tough to win audiences back after a weak pilot, especially in an era where we all have so much choice at our fingertips.

But on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are also times where the first episode is almost too awesome for its own good.

That's absolutely the case with these 10 TV shows, each of which offered up pilot episodes so terrific, so potential-rich, that the show was never able to reach those heights again.

Now, that doesn't mean the rest of these series were bad, but simply that the bottled brilliance of their opening hour - which everyone involved clearly slaved over producing - was leaps and bounds ahead of what followed.

These pilots were absolutely successful in immediately getting viewers hooked, even if they also set the benchmark so ridiculously high that nothing else could quite live up to it...

10. Heroes  

The Walking Dead

If you didn't catch it when it premiered back in 2006, it can't be overstated just how much hype there was surrounding the premiere of NBC's superhero series Heroes.

That astonishing pilot episode, "Genesis," focused on its main characters discovering they have superpowers in creative and unforgettable fashion, most notably cheerleader Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) repeatedly testing out her newfound invulnerability.

But beyond that, that opening hour instantly immersed viewers in an incredibly rich, fully realised world - and one teeming with mysteries fans couldn't wait to unravel.

While the rest of Heroes' first season was certainly good-to-great, it's clear that most of the creative juice was pumped into that exceptional pilot. 

The second season was then famously impacted by the 2007-08 Writers Guild of America strike, after which the show never fully regained its momentum, resulting in its cancellation after four seasons.

That first episode went so damn hard that nothing else had a hope of living up to it.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.