10 Good TV Shows That Could Have Been Ruined By Their Bad Pilots

1
Seinfeld
Seinfeld
NBC via Getty Images
The Problem: The tempo. Seinfeld is known for its breakneck speed and Shakespearean-level banter, but Episode 1 moves at a snail's pace, introducing George and Jerry not as the neurotics we'd come to love, but as veritable stoics completely emancipated from comedic urgency.
2
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
WB
The Problem: It's just kind of lame. In fact, the first season is hardly up to the caliber of the rest of the now iconic Joss Whedon series' run.
3
The Office
The Office
NBC
The Problem: Plagiarism. The pilot for the American sitcom mimicked that of its British forerunner down to nearly every beat: the story was the same, characters and scenes were rehashed, lines were identical. The juicy American The Office eventually became something markedly different from the cold and callous (but terrific) Gervais version.
article continues below ad
4
30 Rock
30 Rock
Hollywood.com Staff/Syndicated by: NBC
The Problem: Identity crisis. Tina Fey herself has called the early leg of 30 Rock "a mistake," affirming that only when it hit its silly, surreal stride did it really find its voice. The pseudo-mumblecore style of the pilot and the few episodes to follow were hardly an indicator of what the show would be come.
5
Cheers
Cheers
NBC
The Problem: Just one — ratings. The Cheers pilot (much like nearly every other episode of Cheers) is actually quite fantastic. But it, as well as Season 1 on the whole, got such low ratings that nobody thought the show would return for a second season... let alone an eleventh.
6
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Paramount
The Problem Patrick Stewart, believe it or not. Many critics panned the debut of the series, with one (Tom Shales of The Washington Herald) taking particular disfavor of Stewart as "a grim, bald crank who would make a better villain." Shales also called Jonathan Frakes "namby-pamby," whatever the hell that means.
article continues below ad
7
Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation
NBC
The Problem: It's so boring. Boring, boring, boring.
8
Friends
Friends
NBC
The Problem: Reviews. The critical community didn't entirely pan Friends at the beginning, but a few reviews called it a second-rate Seinfeld rip-off and an unfunny, unoriginal courier of the dawning trend of people just sitting around drink establishments. Sure, it is another one of those, but it's pretty much the kingpin of the lot by now.

MORE FOR YOU:

SIMILAR ARTICLES