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Top Ten Best Pilots on Netflix Instant

Shepard Price ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Summer is approaching, and what better way to is there to reign in a new season then picking up a new TV show?  Here’s a list of the top ten pilots available on Netflix.

10. House of Cards, “Chapter 1”

Kevin Spacey in the "House of Cards" episode "Chapter 1." Photo Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix.
Kevin Spacey in the House of Cards episode “Chapter 1.” Photo Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix.

The first ever web-based series and episode (House of Cards is original Netflix programming) to earn Emmy nominations, “Chapter 1” focuses on the political career of Senator Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), as he deals with a backstabbing from the President he helped get elected who had agreed to make Underwood Secretary of State, but has backed out of the deal. The episode opens with one of the best scenes of the series, as Underwood introduces us to the political system as he sees it.

9. Sherlock “A Study in Pink”

Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock.
Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock.

Sherlock is what it sounds like. Set in modern day London, the series follows Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch), now a “functioning sociopath”, as he solves modern day crimes based off the crimes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The series takes part mostly from the perspective of Doctor John Watson (Martin Freeman), a veteran of the Afghanistan war, and companion of Sherlock Holmes. The series was created by Doctor Who current mastermind Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.

8. Twin Peaks “Pilot”

Kyle MacLachlan in the "Pilot" episode of Twin Peaks.
Kyle MacLachlan in the “Pilot” episode of Twin Peaks.

In the pilot of Twin Peaks, we are introduced to the characters who will support the series the rest of the way through, including Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and Sheriff Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean), as they investigate the murder of Laura Palmer, a popular high school student; a murder that Agent Cooper believes has connections to a murder that occurred a year prior.

7. Arrested Development “Pilot”

Portia de Rossi, Jessica Walter, Jason Bateman, Tony Hale and Will Arnett in the "Pilot" episode of Arrested Development.
Portia de Rossi, Jessica Walter, Jason Bateman, Tony Hale and Will Arnett in the “Pilot” episode of Arrested Development.

The rest of Arrested Development is set up well when George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), before announcing his retirement, is arrested for using the Bluth company’s finances for personal use. His son, Michael (Jason Bateman) steps in for him to lead the family and the company with the patriarch in jail. The episode introduces us to the family and sets up story arches that will be long-lasting. Netflix recently picked up the series for two seasons.

6. Lost “Pilot”

The cast of Lost.
The cast of Lost.

This two part episode is directed by J.J. Abrams, who will later on go on to reinvigorate the Star Trek franchise and is now attempting to do it for Star Wars. The pilot focuses on the survivors of the crash of Oceanic Flight 815, who wind up alone on a deserted island. The use of flashbacks in the episodes set up the use for the rest of the series. It was the most expensive pilot made in its time at between 10-14 million dollars, mostly for actually purchasing and destroying an airline jet.

5. Mad Men “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

Jon Hamm in the episode of Mad Men "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."
Jon Hamm in the episode of Mad Men “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”

The pilot episode of Mad Men introduces us to moral anti-hero advertiser Don Draper (Jon Hamm), who is struggling to maintain a relationship with cigarette brand Lucky Strike after the negative affects of smoking are announced. It also focuses on his relationship with women, both with his wife Betty (January Jones) and his mistress (Rosemarie DeWitt), as well as with his new secretary Peggy (Elisabeth Moss).

4. Cheers “Give Me a Ring Sometime”

Cheers

Set in a bar just across the Common from Walker Building, Cheers introduces the bar the series is set in as well as the main characters Sam Malone (Ted Danson), Diane Chambers (Shelley Long) and Norm Peterson (George Wendt). The series would go on to be considered one of the greatest sitcoms, and Norm would become famous for what happens whenever he walks into the bar.

3. The West Wing “Pilot”

The Cast of The West Wing.
The Cast of The West Wing.

The series is introduced in a series of bad decisions on the part of the White House staff, including the President and the Deputy Chief of Staff. The staff is dealing with the aftermath of the President (Martin Sheen) crashing his motorcycle into a tree and the Deputy Chief of Staff (Bradley Whitford) saying to a Christian activist that the God she prays too is busy being indicted for tax fraud. During the fallout, Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) tells the daughter of the Chief of Staff that he slept with what turns out to be a call girl.

2. Firefly “Serenity”

The cast of Firefly.
The cast of Firefly.

After the Battle of Serenity Valley during the Unification War, losing rebel survivors Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) and Zoe Washburne (Gina Torres) run a spaceship called the Serenity with a crew of other rebels, eking out a living by taking odd jobs, including ones involving small crimes. They also carry passengers from time to time, leading to the major conflict of the pilot.

1. Breaking Bad “Pilot”

Bryan Cranston in the "Pilot" epsiode of Breaking Bad.
Bryan Cranston in the “Pilot” epsiode of Breaking Bad.

In the very first episode of what may be considered the greatest TV show of all time, we are introduced to the character of Walter White pre-Heisenberg rather quickly as his pants fly through the air and he drives an RV full of men who appear to be dead. He gets out of the car, hits record on a camera, and records a message, not a confession, to his family. This opening scene of Breaking Bad is one of the best scenes of the series and one of the best opening scenes ever, and sets up for an amazing series.

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