If you are in need of a new TV show to binge, you need that pilot ep to hook you.
And there are so many streaming platforms and shows out there it’s hard to know where to look.
But fear not, we’ve got you covered.
Here are eight TV show pilots that’ll have you hooked from the first episode.
1. Around The World in 80 Days
Kicking this list off is the BBC’s version of the classic adventure story written by the French writer Jules Verne.
Starring David Tennant, Leonie Benesch and Ibrahim Koma, the eight-part drama will have you wanting to immediately watch the next ep.
In an age where both TV and films are packed with reboots and remakes of past stories, “Around the World in 80 Days” demonstrates how to get away with this by perfectly capturing the heart of the book and standing out from previous versions of the story, i.e. the Jackie Chan film from 2004.
Packed with drama, tension, comedy and great characters, it also has a theme tune written by Hans Zimmer and brilliant cinematography.
It’s also getting a second season.
Not a fan of wrestling? You will be after you watch Heels.
The show follows the story of two brothers and rivals – one a villain, or “heel,” in the ring; the other a hero, or “face.”
They’re battling each other over their late father’s wrestling promotion, vying for national attention in small-town Georgia.
Starring Stephen Amell, Alexander Ludwig, Alison Luff and Kelli Burgland, “Heels” does a tremendous job of immersing you into its world.
The stunts are fantastic, as is the cinematography.
The writing too allows each character to really breathe and develop over the course of this first season.
In a world of TV that’s full of hidden gems, “Heels” is definitely one of them.
Get on board now before everyone else does.
3. The Queen’s Gambit
The Queen’s Gambit was the stand-out Netflix show from 2021.
Set during the Cold War era, orphaned chess prodigy Beth Harmon struggles with addiction in a quest to become the greatest chess player in the world.
Like with “Heels”, that’ll change after you watch this.
It’s an underdog story with a sport that doesn’t get a lot of mainstream attention.
And the Netflix budget certainly helps.
Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Harry Melling, this is simply an excellent piece of television.
You’ll find yourself falling headfirst into this show and will have finished it before you know it.
4. Dispatches from Elsewhere
Looking for something a bit different? Dispatches from Elsewhere is the very definition of that.
The story centres around four ordinary people – Peter, Simone, Janice, and Fredwynn – who are brought together by chance after they all respond to a flyer.
Feeling as though something is missing in their lives, the characters are drawn into a game that unfolds in a serpentine series of events.
As they piece together the puzzle to find a path forward, they come to delve deeper into a mind-boggling mystery hiding just behind the façade of everyday life.
Starring Jason Segel, Eve Lindley, Sally Field and Richard E. Grant, it’s an incredibly curious and encapsulating show.
There’s quite simply nothing else quite like it.
This isn’t a show where there’s a dark “True Detective” style ending, but there are plot twists aplenty.
It sparks that child-like inner curiosity and keeps you coming back every episode to find out just what the heck is going on.
Segel himself described it as a bit of experimental TV, inspired by a story from his own life.
Talking of mysteries, welcome to Westworld.
The mind-bending HBO show comes from writers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.
It stars the likes of Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Thandiwe Newton, Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins.
Set initially in a Western-themed amusement park, there’s a lot more to Westworld and its robotic hosts than meets the eye.
Philosophically grandiose, action-packed and visually stunning with an incredible soundtrack, Westworld has it all.
It’s difficult to put into words how good Westworld is but it is easily on the same level of quality as the likes of Breaking Bad and The Sopranos.
Don’t get us wrong, the Tom Cruise Jack Reacher films were pretty good – but Alan Ritchson was born to play Lee Child’s veteran military police investigator.
He brings intimidation and a violent presence to the character, rather than the charm of Cruise.
Traveling across America, Reacher arrives in Margrave, Georgia where he is promptly accused of murder.
What follows is an international mystery that sees Reacher and his new allies in the local police going up against powerful forces.
Alongside Ritchson are Willa Fitzgerald and Malcolm Goodwin in superb support roles that will only make you love the show more.
With more than 20 more Jack Reacher novels that Amazon can adapt for the show, now is the ideal time to get stuck in.
Still don’t believe us? Check out our review here:
Now for something completely different.
With such a simple premise of “a man is able to choose his own afterlife after his untimely death”, you might think to skip this entry.
This TV show pilot will have you in binge mode.
Upload is an incredibly addictive binge-worthy comedy-drama that saw this writer finish both seasons on the days that they came out – which is unfortunate because we have to wait a while for season three.
Starring Robbie Amell, Ando Allo, Zanib Johnson and Allegra Edwards, it’s a refreshing slice of television heaven. The episodes are short too so taking some time out to check out the first episode is as easy as pie
Trust us, it’s a blast.
One could argue that we left the best until last. Like Westworld, Ozark is a worthy successor to some of the best television shows that there have ever been.
Quite the statement right?
Forced to relocate his family to the Ozarks in order to launder money for the cartel, Ozark goes from strength to strength with each season.
Dark, gritty and downright shocking at times, it’s television that exists on a whole other level.
Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner and Sofia Hublitz are just some of the stars of the show.
Its fourth and final season arrives later this month (April).
So if you’re not already watching it, turn on this pilot episode as soon as possible.
As an Amazon Associate this website earns from qualifying purchases.