J: The fall TV season is almost here! What are your top three favorite pilot/series premiere episodes of all time?
1. Pushing Daisies: I can still imagine scenes from this pilot, and it's been a couple years since I've watched it. Ned describing bringing his mom back to life, only to accidentally kill her again; running around in a meadow of daisies with his dog (Digby?) and then his dog gets hit by a vehicle and he brings the dog back to life; describing Chuck's crazy mermaid aunts... It was so vibrant and represents the show's quirkiness so perfectly in 40 minutes.
2. Glee: This episode also well represents what made Glee so exciting and fun and great in the beginning! From highlighting all the characters through their audition songs to introducing snarky Sue, gullible Finn, enthusiastic Mr. Schuester... And of course, "Don't Stop Believing." Perfection. :)
3. Alias: This is the only pilot episode of a show that hooked me so much I ended up watching 8 straight episodes in a row. Actually no, Veronica Mars may have hooked me in a similar way. (I watched the entire first season over the span of one weekend.) But I'll still give Alias an edge. I mean the red wig, the Chinese speaking, the excitement of a story told forward and backward -- it was a great pilot!
1. Friday Night Lights: I hadn't seen the movie, I didn't know anything about Texas, I had no interest in football, but this pilot, especially the second half, just shot me straight through the heart. Love love LOVE.
2. Lost: I ended up having plenty of problems with this show, but one thing I'll give J.J. Abrams is that he definitely knows how to start off a show (perhaps that's why he's had more success in movies lately). There was a lot to set up -- a huge cast of characters, the flashback construct, the mystery/possibly sci-fi style and atmosphere -- and it was hugely successful with all of it. It's been rare that a pilot excited me as much as this one.
3. Roswell: A less obvious choice, perhaps, but don't forget that this show was created and written by Jason Katims who went on to run FNL and Parenthood. All the characters are introduced so well, the use of music is amazing (especially love the first scene in the Crashdown of Max saving Liz with Sarah McLachlan's "Fear" building in the background), and there's a nice balance of romance, humor, action, and suspense. Ah, the old days of the WB...