Pilots should give audiences a sense of what the rest of the show will be like. They set the tone, establish the characters, and hint at the direction the plot of will go.
Some of the best pilots, like How I Met Your Mother or Modern Family, instantly hook you with their humour and charm. Others, such as Game of Thrones, break all the rules of the genre, making it impossible to stop watching after just one episode (at least on the second go, in that show's respect). Some others, such as Arrested Development, establish their own voice in their first episode.
However, sometimes, the writers and creative team are just finding their footing with a pilot, leading to some less than stellar results. This doesn't necessarily mean that their respective show is bad, though. Sometimes, with a few more episodes, a show can improve its overall quality and become something great, despite what its pilot might suggest.
It can be hard to believe how bad some pilots are, especially when you look back at the way some of the all time great series actually began.
Richard C. Kraus (Richie to pretty much everyone) is an American college student and world record holder for most views of the 2015 film Ant-Man. He has ambitions to someday be a screenwriter, actor, and not tired.