A good pilot sets up the show perfectly, establishing immediately the tone of the show and the characters' world.
  1. 1.
    Friday Night Lights
    This pilot gets everything about Dillon and football and the people who love them just right. It makes you care, immediately, about these people.
  2. 2.
    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
    Hilarious and weird and brilliant right away. Plus, this is the episode that gave us the perfection that is "The Sexy Getting Ready Song."
  3. 3.
    Veronica Mars
    Similar to FNL, this pilot immediately brings you into the town at the center of this show. Plus, Veronica's noir narration is the best first impression of a character. (But her hair is SO terrible.)
  4. 4.
    That opening scene!!!! The rest of the episode is great--it sets up some of the easier initial mysteries of the island--but this episode makes this list for that opening scene alone.
  5. 5.
    Arrested Development
    The rare excellent 1/2 hour comedy pilot. Most shows need awhile to calibrate their comedic style, but this emerged fully-formed, like an Athena from Mitchell Hurwitz's brain.