Salon picks the ten greatest TV pilots (limited to American dramas), in honor of the "underappreciated form," which they believe to be "more difficult in many ways than a regular episode of a series" but that feel "less like homework than a little movie."
The judging criteria:
1) stylistic innovation and influence
2) overall excellence in writing, direction, performance and production
3) ability to withstand repeat viewings.
10. Homicide: Life on the Street (NBC, 1993)
9. 24 (Fox, 2001)
8. Lost (ABC, 2004)
7. Miami Vice (NBC, 1984)
6. The Sopranos (HBO, 1999)
5. Star Trek (NBC, 1966): "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before."
4. The Westerner (NBC, 1959)
3. Hill Street Blues (NBC, 1981)
2. My So-Called Life (ABC, 1994)
1. Twin Peaks (ABC, 1990) [pictured]
The Daily Beast in turn highlights ten of the most quickly dropped DOA pilots--"mercy killings" (think Fox's just-cancelled Lone Star). The criteria for this list? Shows that sucked so bad that their networks had to move on faster than from a bad one night stand. TDB has clips and descriptions for these shows that the networks would just as soon forget.
- Osbournes Reloaded (Fox; 1 episode aired in 2009)
- Quarterlife (NBC; 1 episode aired in 2008)
- Viva Laughlin (CBS; 2 episodes aired in 2007)
- The Rich List (Fox; 1 episode aired in 2006)
- Anchorwoman (Fox; aired two back-to-back episodes in 2007)
- Emily's Reasons Why Not (ABC; aired 1 episode in 2006)
- The Beautiful Life (CW; 2 episodes aired in 2009)
- Secret Talents of the Stars (CBS; 1 episode aired in 2008)
- The Will (CBS; 1 episode aired in 2005)
- Dot Comedy (ABC; 1 episode aired in 2000)