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    Greatest TV Pilots: The Wonder Years

    The Wonder Years, Season 1, Episode 1 “Pilot” Directed by Steve Miner Written by Neal Marlens and Carol Black Aired January 31, 1988 The Wonder Years is a series built on and steeped in nostalgia: the first images we see and sounds we hear of the series are news footage of events from 1968, set […] More

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    Greatest TV Pilots: Forbrydelsen and The Killing

    While most current television viewers will probably have at least heard of AMC’s The Killing (which has been cancelled twice only to be renewed twice and will have a final, shortened season on Netflix), few Americans will have encountered Forbrydelsen, the Danish series The Killing is based on. More

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    Greatest TV Pilots: Crime Story

    Crime Story, Season 1, Episode 1 “Pilot” Directed by Abel Ferrara Written by Chuck Adamson, David J. Burke and Gustave Reiniger Aired 18 September 1986 There are many reasons why the pilot of 1986’s Crime Story may not be great television. The 90+ minute story by series creators Chuck Adamson and Gustave Reininger never gains […] More

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    Greatest TV Pilots: Deadwood

    “… I don’t trust you as far as I can throw you, but I enjoy the way you lie.” On a still night in 1876, Seth Bullock executes a man. He hangs him out in front of his jail, from the rafters while a mob demands that the thief be handed over to them for […] More

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    Greatest TV Pilots: The West Wing Gets A Strong, Confident Start

    The West Wing “Pilot” Written by Aaron Sorkin Directed by Thomas Schlamme Originally aired September 22nd 1999 on NBC It’s hard to argue that The West Wing isn’t Aaron Sorkin’s most successful television show. It ran for eight seasons (five more than his second longest series), outlasting even Sorkin himself (who left after the fourth […] More

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    Greatest TV Pilots: Fresh Prince of Bel Air – a defining sitcom that has never been bettered

    Season 1, Episode 1: “The Fresh Prince Project” Written by Andy Borowitz & Susan Borowitz Directed by Debbie Allen Aired September 10, 1990 When The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air burst onto television screens in 1990, its Grammy-winning star Will Smith was bankrupt. A sitcom based around him, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air would become his saviour; a […] More

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    Greatest TV Pilots: Hannibal

    Piggybacking off the serial killer-themed, semi-supernatural horror trend that had sparked shows like Grimm, Dexter, and The Following, the concept of a Hannibal Lector-themed television show was not met with much enthusiasm in early 2013. We had too many shows about murder. Too many shows with violence on the air. Not to mention, there had been countless Hannibal Lector adaptations over the past few years, and none of them had ever been as good as Silence of the Lambs. More

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    Greatest TV Pilots: Life on Mars

    Nothing about Life on Mars should have worked. Its premise sounded ridiculous- an English cop gets hit by a car and ends up in the 1970s trying to figure out if he’s crazy or if he really did travel through time. But with “Episode 1”, its pilot, the series hit the ground running, with immediately defined characters, an enthralling plot, witty dialogue, and an intriguing mix of sci-fi and character study. More

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    Greatest TV Pilots: The Sopranos ‘The Sopranos’ – All Agida, All The Time

    When we first meet Tony Soprano, he’s sitting in a waiting room, staring at a statue of a naked woman exposing her breasts. The first shot frames Tony’s face between her legs, then a series of shots closing in on Tony’s face, the statue’s breasts, Tony’s face, and her face. His brow is wrinkled, and he alternates looking at her and looking at the floor. It’s a fantastic opening shot to one of TV’s most cinematic pilots, establishing a number of important details before a line of dialogue is even spoken: Tony’s black shirt and gold watch suggest some sort of upper-class demeanor – the credits preceding it, with the lyrics talking about “the chosen” one embracing the dark side, also further contextualize Tony’s character – and he’s obviously a man’s man, the first frame establishing his favorite place to be (between a woman’s legs). More

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