9 thoughts on “What Was The Best TV Show Pilot Twist?

  1. The one that pops into my head is “Mad Men”. We’ve seen Don at work and with a lover and then we see him come home to his family.

    I’d also consider “The Wonder Years”, which has a gut punch of Winnie Cooper’s brother dying in Vietnam.

  2. I’ve seen others mention that in articles about pilot twists, but it’s funny, I must have read an article about Mad Men before it came out that mentioned Don’s wife as a character, because that bit didn’t surprise me when I first watched it.

  3. Not so much a plot twist – but the shootings of Renko and Hill at the end of the Hill Street Blues pilot was pretty dramatic. The twist, of course, is that they survived due to behind the scenes discussions.

    Does the note about the number of Cylon models Adama finds at the end of the Battlestar Galactica reimagining count? Or that Boomer is a Cylon? Or is that the end of a two part movie? and not the “pilot”.

  4. I think the reveal at the end (or toward the end) of Modern Family that they’re all linked is a pretty good one. It wasn’t jaw-dropping, but the “faux-doc” style they were using could lead us to believe that the three families were just three families, but then they brought them all together nicely at the end. It was pretty well done.

  5. I think, like the Mad Men one, that I must have known it was about an extended family before I watched the pilot, because I saw someone else mention that one in another article and I didn’t remember that being a surprise at the time. But I could just be misremembering, as you’re right, the episode definitely IS designed for that reveal to be a twist.

  6. Not a full episode twist, but I love the beginning of Freaks and Geeks with the stereotypical sensitive jock and cheerleader on the bleachers before the reveal that our heroes are the freaks under the bleachers.

  7. I don’t know how to count this, but I’d take Firefly’s twist of what was in the box. You have this cold, aloof doctor carrying a box that people are willing to kill for. Then to find out that it’s his sister that he’s trying to protect was a bit of a punch.

    Now the reason I don’t know if it counts is because the pilot wasn’t the first episode aired, but it was the first one I saw, and it did catch me by surprise.

  8. The This is Us pilot is an obvious choice but that’s because it told us how to watch the series.

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