11 TV Shows That Had Terrible Pilots But Ended Up Being Great, According To Reddit

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The Office Michael Scott Optimistic


You know that thing where you start a show and find yourself having to soldier through the horrendous pilot, but, by some miracle, continue watching and it just gets fantastic out of nowhere? I'm talking rainbows sprouting from the screen and forest animals prancing around your house like you're a straight-up Disney princess. Sure, you're wondering where they came from and if you should call Animal Control, but you're also glad that they're there to enjoy this newly-awesome show with you. Has that highly specific situation ever happened to you?

According to this Reddit thread, it's a thing that's happened loads of times, which I totally agree with. And if the phrase, “Just watch, it gets so good after those very strange episodes” sounds familiar to you, then you probably agree, too. So, to celebrate our mutual agreement, here are 11 TV shows that had terrible pilot episodes but ended up being actually amazing overall. Have any to add?

1. Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones What Did You Say


Get this: the GoT pilot is so horrible that the general public has apparently never actually seen it. It's buried in a sarcophagus somewhere, where no person shall ever find it and be bored to their literal death.

2. The Office

The Office Michael Scott I Understand Nothing


Raise your hand if the humor of this show went over your head when you first watched this show. Keep them up please, it's going to take a while for me to count the hands of every single person in the TV-watching world.

3. Parks & Recreation

Parks and Recreation What Leslie Knope


It took me ages to become a fan of this show because any time I'd catch the very early episodes on TV, I couldn't figure out its appeal. That is, until I put on my binge-watching hat and got to business.

4. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn Nine Nine Thumbs Up Down Explosion


I'm not authority on its current amazingness but, let me tell you, I had some sucky feelings about its pilot. However, I'll accept that it has to be pretty good if it's snagged some awards and the word-of-mouth is generally positive.

5. Spartacus: Blood and Sand

Spartacus Blood And Sand Whip


Let me tell you a little story about a friend of mine who would not shut up about how great this show is. The other part of that story is how she tried to force me to watch the series premiere and I wanted to cry of boredom. But I powered through all of the muck and it ended up being pretty damn good.

6. Community

Community NBC How Could You Think That Was A Good Idea


This is another show whose charm, I think, gets lost on first-time viewers. It also apparently gets lost on a majority of viewers to this day, since it's always on the verge of being cancelled. But I'll admit that it's an entertaining watch.

7. Conan

Conan O'Brien Shocked


Heeey, I'll bet you didn't expect to see America's Favorite Ginger on here. But his show wasn't exempt from shaky beginnings, no matter how adorable his hyper comedy style is to us now.

8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Is This Hell


It started out super over the top, but ended up finding a cozy middle-ground at which it secured its place as one of the most iconic shows to come out of the late-'90s, early-aughts.

9. Arrested Development

Arrested Development I Don't Know What I Expected


If I'm being honest, this show took a few episodes to find its groove for me. I distinctly recall my thoughts going along the following arc: I don't get it. Am I supposed to get it? Am I too dumb? I think I'm too du– hey, now, that was sort of hilarious!

10. The Wire

The Wire I Don't Feel Nothing


It's sort of a running joke that everyone becomes obsessed with The Wire once they start watching, so it's interesting to see this one pop up. But I can see how it felt like it dragged in the beginning as we waited for all of the craziness to start going down.

11. SeinfeldSeinfeld Long Boring Story


Somehow, the show about nothing managed to make its pilot episode even less about stuff than the later episodes. Thankfully, we learned to appreciate its special brand of blandness, or we might have had to say goodbye to it before its time.