10 Shows Where The Pilot Is The Worst Episode

There are TV shows that have started and are successful from the start. Other series take their time to find themselves. New shows aren’t always instant hits. Sometimes pilot episodes have to be endured.

RELATED: 10 Daytime Actors Who Made It Into Primetime

Some shows, like Scrubs, struggled to find his tone that would endear him in later seasons. Others, like Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, featured an almost entirely different cast from the rest of the series. Whatever the reason, sometimes the pilot episodes can be the weakest.

“Parks and recreation”

Parks and recreation is still remembered as one of the best workplace sitcoms in recent memory. These characters and these stories were always so endearing. In many ways, the series is comedy’s answer to The west wingwith his boundless optimism for public service.

Unfortunately, the pilot episode features a very different tone from the rest of the series. It was clear that the powers that be weren’t completely sure what they wanted from this show. The humor doesn’t land quite as well as it ultimately did, and a lot of the characters were frankly enough cringe-worthy.

‘dr. Quinn, medicine woman

Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, has never been everyone’s cup of tea. When it was good, it was great, however, with a prominent love story and a new vision for Western expansion in the United States. The show also explored themes of Native American genocide, racism, and early 20th century feminism.

The series pilot featured completely different actors in roles that would be recast immediately. Viewers were introduced to characters who were to be reintroduced immediately in the second episode. This made the pilot very difficult to tie up as the series progressed.


MASH POTATOES is still a pinnacle of achievement and is considered one of the greatest American television series of all time. Chronicling the Korean War, the series featured stellar performances from Alan Alda, Sweet Lorettaand Mike Farrell among others. It’s a unique medical comedy-drama that mostly holds up today.

RELATED: The Best Sci-Fi Shows On Prime Video Right Now

The pilot episode suffered from trying to look too much like the movie, of the same name. The humor is crude and doesn’t match the comedic heights of later episodes. While all of the early seasons lacked the self-awareness the show eventually became known for, the pilot was particularly disappointing.


Scrubs was a unique medical series that often offered a realistic look at life inside a hospital. The series was titled by Zach Braff, Sarah Chalk, Donald Faisonand Judy Reyes, among others. The show balanced heart and humor as healthcare providers and patients navigated the hospital experience.

The pilot episode of the series features JD’s classic monologue that would be a staple of the series. However, the pilot monologue is almost from a different character. This first monologue is much more moody, with little of the balancing humor that would be present as the series progressed.

‘Blood and Sand Spartacus’

Spartacus blood and sand is the first season of Spartacus series. The series is based on the historical figure of Spartacus, an ancient Roman gladiator. This first series focuses on filling in the blanks of Spartacus’ youth, which are not part of the historical record of his life.

RELATED: The 10 Highest Rated TV Episodes On IMDb

The pilot episode featured seemingly unfinished or poor CGI, and overly dramatic dialogue that distracted from the story. Additionally, the pilot was mostly exposed, with less action than the rest of the season. While nudity has always been a part of the show, it was far more excessive in the pilot.


Seinfeld always knew exactly what he as a sitcom. He leaned over in chaos and disarray, and never tried to take himself seriously. These characters were mostly terrible people, and yet they’re all oddly lovable in their own way. The comedy remains quotable and re-watchable.

One of the most obvious issues with the series pilot was the absence of Elaine (Julia Louis Dreyfus). In the pilot, there was no energy to compensate for the chaos that is jerry seinfeld et al. Once Elaine was added to the mix, the series was much more balanced.

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’

buffy the vampire slayer is essentially a period piece. It was a fun, campy teenage adventure that for many sparked or reignited a fascination with vampires. Sarah Michelle Gellar opened up about her on-set experience and the toxicity that plagued the show.

RELATED: 10 Best Vampire Characters Who Aren’t Lestat & Louis

One thing that made the series pilot less than stellar was the terrible dialogue, which admittedly got better as the series progressed. The opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the series, showing just how crazy the show was ready to go. The show took off after the pilot ironed out the story issues.

’30 Rock’

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

While the entire series became known for a particular brand of cringe-worthy energy, the pilot was something more. Fey’s character was more of a grumpy, dissatisfied office worker. While she would become more dynamic in the series, her potential was diminished in the pilot episode.

“Star Trek: The Next Generation”

Star Trek: The Next Generation added to the Star Trek universe. In this series, viewers follow the USS Enterprise, commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (patrick stuart). This series combined the best of the original series and forged a new path with new adventures.

RELATED: Best ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ Episodes For Each Cast Member

The pilot episode of this series was mostly clunky, in terms of dialogue and character development. The overall mood was incredibly dramatic. It took a bit of time on the show to develop the balance between that drama and telling a story from the heart.

‘American Dad’

american dad is part of Seth McFarlanethe world of adult animation. The series chronicles the Smith family, including their Talking Fish, a raunchy alien who lives in their attic. The family navigates various scenarios, both mundane and otherworldly.

The pilot episode suffers from trying to be too similar to another in MacFarlane’s series, family guy. The characters aren’t established, and Stan in particular comes off as a boor rather than trying his best. In the pilot, the Smiths simply appear as walking stereotypes.

NEXT: 10 Most Anticipated Series And Movies Coming To Disney+ In 2023

10 Shows Where The Pilot Is The Worst Episode – GameSpot