10 Show Pilots That Was the Worst Episode

These shows really found their footing as they went along...

Some TV shows are instant hits and are hugely successful from the start. Other series take time to find themselves. Brand new shows don't always hit the ground running. Sometimes, pilot episodes need to be endured.

Some shows, such as Scrubs, struggled to find the tone that would make them beloved in later seasons. Others, like Doctor Quinn, The Lady Doctor, have casts that are almost entirely different from the rest of the series. For whatever reason, pilot episodes are sometimes the weakest.

'Parks and Recreation'

Parks and Recreation is still considered one of the best workplace sitcoms in recent memory. The characters and stories are always so lovely. In many ways, the series is a comedic response to The West Wing, with its boundless optimism about public service.

Unfortunately, the tone of the pilot episode was very different from the rest of the series. Clearly, those in power aren't entirely sure what they want from this show. The humor doesn't land like it does in the end, and quite a few of the characters are, frankly, rather cringe-worthy.

'Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman'

Dr. Quinn, the female pharmacist, was never everyone's cup of tea. when it's good it However, it's great, with an over the top love story and a new take on the expansion of the American West. The show also explores themes of Native American genocide, racism, and early twentieth-century feminism.

The characters in the pilot episode of the series were completely different, and the cast was immediately recast. Viewers were introduced to a character who had to be immediately reintroduced in the second episode. This makes the pilot difficult to attach to as the series goes on.


M*A*S*H remains the pinnacle of achievement and is considered one of the greatest American TV shows of all time. The series chronicles the Korean War and features performances from the likes of Alan Alda, Loretta Sweet and Mike Farrell. It's a unique medical drama that still manages to shine today.

The pilot episode suffered from trying to resemble the film of the same name too much. The humor is crude and doesn't live up to the comedic heights of later episodes. While the entire first few seasons lacked the self-awareness that the show eventually became famous for, the pilot episode was particularly disappointing.


Scrubs is a unique medical series that usually provides a realistic look life in the hospital. The series stars Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, Donald Faison and Judy Reyes, among others. The show balances heart and humor as healthcare providers and patients navigate the hospital experience.

The pilot episode of the series featured the classic J.D. monologue, which would become a staple of the series. However, the pilot's monologues are almost from different characters. The first monologue is more somber, with little of the balancing humor that comes along as the series progresses.

'Spartacus: Blood and Sand'

Spartacus: Blood and Sand is the first season of the Spartacus series. The series is based on the historical figure of the ancient Roman gladiator Spartacus. The first series focuses on filling in the gaps in Spartacus' early life that don't belong in the historical record of his life.

The pilot episode's CGI appears to be unfinished or poorly done, and the dialogue is overly dramatic and distracts from the story. Also, the pilot episode was mostly show, with less action than the rest of the season. While nudity has always been a part of the series, it's even more over the top in the pilot.


Seinfeld always knew exactly what sitcom it was. It gets bogged down in chaos and confusion, never trying to take itself seriously. Most of these characters are horrible people, but they're all surprisingly likable in their own way. This comedy can still be quoted and re-watched.

One of the most glaring problems with the series pilot was the absence of Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). In the pilot, there's no energy to offset the chaos of Jerry Seinfeld et al. Once Elaine is added to the mix, the series is more balanced.

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is essentially a period piece. It's a fun, camping teenage adventure that, for many, started or reignited a fascination with vampires. Sarah Michelle Gellar talks about her experience on set, and the poison that pervades the show.

One thing that made the series pilot less than great was the terrible dialogue, which admittedly did improve as the series progressed. The opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the series, showing just how crazy the show is willing to get. After the pilot addressed the story's issues, the show hit its stride.

'30 Rock'

30 Rock is a fictional late-night skit story Comedy series. Starring Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, the show pokes fun at American political discourse and how those issues are discussed in sketch form. The series is a workplace comedy about the dysfunctional people who work on this SNL-like show.

While the series as a whole is known for a certain brand of intimidating energy, the pilot episode is much more than that. Fey's personality is more like that of a grumpy, disaffected office worker. While she became more alive in the episodes, her potential was diminished in the pilot episode.

'Star Trek: The Next Generation'

Star Trek: The Next Generation joins the Star Trek universe. In the series, viewers follow the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, captained by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). This series combines the essence of the original series and opens up a new path of adventure.

The series' pilot episodes were mostly clumsy in terms of dialogue and character development. The overall feel is very dramatic. The series took a moment to develop the balance between that drama and heart-to-heart storytelling.

'American Dad'

American Dad is part of Seth MacFarlane's World of Adult Animation. The series chronicles the Smith family, including their talking fish, a brutish alien who lives in their attic. The family goes through a variety of storylines, both the mundane and the otherworldly.

The pilot attempted to be too similar to another McFarlane series, Family Guy. The characters haven't been settled yet, especially as Stan comes across as rude rather than someone who does his best. In the pilot episode, the Smiths come across as just walking stereotypes.

Next Post Previous Post
No Comment
Add Comment
comment url