Now, I consider myself far from qualified to determine what are the best pilots of all time because 1. Of all the pilots ever made, I have seen only a small fraction of them, and 2. All time is long a time, and implies that it encompasses the future, too, and I haven’t figured out time travel yet. (Where are you, Dr. Tom?) I previously made a list of My Five Favorite Pilots of All Time, which is probably due for an update, but for a broader view, I decided to comb the interwebs.
The following is a list of links to various sources, written over the past few years, listing the best of the best in pilots.
UPDATE 5/30/12: Here’s a more recent list I just found on TVology of the 20 Greatest TV Pilots Since 2000 — I’ve blogged about half of them so far.
The Best 15 Television Pilots (TV Surveillance, September 2011)
TV Pilots That Are as Good as Most Summer Movies (i09, September 2011)
The 10 Best TV Pilots Ever (MSN, August 2011)
The Ten Best Comedy Pilots of All Time (Splitsider, August 2011)
My Top 10 TV Pilots of All Time (TV Musings, October 2010)
10 Greatest Pilots Ever (Salon, September 2010)
Best TV Pilots: Series Premieres That Made our Jaws Drop (HuffPost TV, November 2009)
Are These the Best TV Pilots of All Time? (Buzz Sugar, September 2008)
You will notice a lot of recurring titles (Lost, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, How I Met Your Mother) as well as recurring themes (genre-bending, twist endings, introducing a mystery). If I had to pick one all-time favorite I’d have to go with Veronica Mars.