Many people tell me you should give a new show two or three episodes before you judge whether or not you want to continue watching it, a statement I disagree with. If a show wants to obtain a keen audience it should be capable of establishing itself within the first episode, as there are far too many forms of content constantly vying for attention from consumers. Why would you spend an extra two hours trying to work out if you like something or not when you could instead spend that time playing games, watching something else or doing literally anything that won’t turn out to be a waste of your time in the long run.
These five shows succeed in my above point of only requiring their first episode to attract an audience and warrant the time commitment to watch every episode that follows their pilot.
Game of Thrones
Let’s get the potentially controversial entry out of the way first as nobody could have predicted the hot mess of bad writing and plot holes this would become in its final two seasons. The pilot of Game of Thrones that made it to air, after an earlier attempt was canned by HBO, was totally absorbing from its bloody opening, shocking incestuous plot twist and even more shocking cliffhanger ending.
For years everything was going so well for the series. It rarely felt like it was padding its run time or unsure of a direction to take and audiences were kept on their toes with sudden and devastating main character deaths, ensuring they never felt like their favourites were safe as a situation could change drastically at any time.
The Game of Thrones pilot delivered what every fantasy fan could have asked for, and succeeding in attracting millions of people who wouldn’t usually give the genre the time of day.
The premise of Westworld, which has just begun airing its third season, is nothing short of genius. The rich and powerful pay entry into a massive park that offers a variety of different themes, such as Old West and Feudal Japan, in which they are free to do whatever they want. Within these parks, contained entirely within enormous domes not dissimilar to The Truman Show, human-like robots known as hosts will act out scenarios for the guests to respond to as they wish.
The pilot plays out with the audience filling the role of a guest in their own mind, while watching the hosts act out their parts. It is such a surreal experience to see real people interacting with the robots, from seducing, exploring with or murdering them, that you cannot help but be fascinated with the scenarios that unfold. Clever plot twists keep you enthralled as events in the park start to go disastrously wrong, and while you are still absorbed and often appalled by Westworld, you find yourself wishing you could be there yourself to make decisions and watch your personal choices unfold.
Final Space was an incredibly pleasant surprise when Netflix’s irritating (since fixed) auto-play function kicked in while I had lost interest in browsing its menus and started playing on my phone. When I looked up at the beautifully animated and absolutely hilarious show that Netflix had forced on me I became so invested I watched almost the full first season right then and there. (Worth noting for context that I never binge watch anything).
Succeeding in being funny, heartbreaking and action packed while maintaining the facade of doing so effortlessly, partly thanks to its great ensemble of characters, Final Space is an absolute necessity to anybody wanting to try a new comedy with an excellent story that will keep you coming back for more and more.
I’m still baffled that some people out there, maybe even YOU reading this, have not watched Lost yet. The plot begins with a group of people surviving a plane crashing onto a mysterious, seemingly uninhabited island. Things go from bad to worse as the island appears to turn against them; all while they start to turn on each other. To explain more of the story here would be an injustice to any who are yet to experience this masterful example of storytelling, and all six seasons of Lost are television at its finest.
I only got into Lost as a result of reluctantly agreeing to give it a chance as all my friends were devoutly invested in it, and watching an episode of a TV show seemed easier than acquiring a new circle of friends.
I watched the entirety of season one in a couple of days after the pilot sucked me in immediately, and found myself begging to borrow season two within minutes of finishing the season finale. The complex story is great at burning Lost deep into your mind, leaving you constantly pondering the reasons behind the mysteries afoot in this sublime feature, and after you finish reading this list watching Lost should be the very next thing that you do.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
An entry that requires no explanation but here’s one anyway. Netflix’s Age of Resistance is absolutely everything that fans of the original film wanted, and brings so much more to the table to entice new fans. The charming Gelfling and evil Skeksis puppets are supported not only by talented puppeteers but also by a phenomenal voice cast that suck you immediately into the world of Thra.
Following a shocking development late into its first episode, the speech given by the most well-known Skeksis, The Chamberlain (voiced by Simon Pegg), is truly chilling and I still get goosebumps whenever I hear it despite now having watched it a dozen times.
There is simply no reason not to watch Age of Resistance, even if you have a phobia of puppets, as it is so well executed in writing and acting that I feel it is one of the very best shows of all time.
Thank you for reading my picks for shows that only need one episode to have you hooked on them. Let me know your choice that fits this criteria in the comments and feel free to follow me on Twitter @MaliceVER. Thanks again and I will speak to you soon.