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Best TV Pilots vs. DOA Pilots

by Sophia Savage
September 29, 2010 6:17 AM
1 Comment
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Thompson on Hollywood

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)
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More: Lists, TV

1 Comment

  • William | September 29, 2010 8:41 AMReply

    Interesting that all of the DOA series are from the 2000s. Is that a reflection of the quality of programs being offered today, or just a lack of network fortitude these days with giving a show a fighting chance?

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