Although I had originally planned on watching the show anyway due to my interest in it, the pilot is what really grabbed my immediate attention. In my opinion, it truly grasped the feel from the movies especially after the events in T2. They really carefully integrated tie-ins and parallels from the first two films while still creating their own adaptation of the universe itself. I think if anything, the pilot really sets the pace perfectly to those familiar with the Terminator franchise. It started off with a bang and ended with wanting to know more, wanting to understand how this show would fit in their own version of the timeline and how they were going to go about it.
I think most fans will agree that "33" definitely started off the first season with a huge bang as we jump right in the middle of the action from where we left off of the miniseries. Just seeing the situations these characters are going through, what they're faced with and the decisions they make is just nice to see because we don't need a whole lot of exposition for those unfamiliar with the main concept and story. Plus, there's loads of realism in this first episode alone, because they have gone five days without sleep, so every single character is either entirely wired, on edge, lethargic, moody or completely off their game and it affects everything and everyone around them. This is a prime example of what happens in war, when you're in battle for hours, days, even weeks without pause. Even the actors, Edward James Olmos especially, had experimented with staying awake for long periods of time to get the authenticity of what they were going to be doing. That's how well this episode worked, because there's a reality to it. Not just that, but the situation with the Olympic Carrier was perhaps the best executed kind of moral dilemma seen in an opening episode of a series ever, imo. Because it showed the tension, the paranoia, the absolute true kind of fears and decision-making these people have to do when they're facing almost total annihilation. I's pretty intense of an episode, with most of them are just waiting around for the next 33-minute marker.
Note that I'm not including the miniseries since it technically really isn't a pilot, even though without it we wouldn't have a series to begin with. ;)
Honestly, isn't this kind of a given? The original pilot, "Serenity", was perhaps the best two hours of television that was never shown first for audiences to really grasp the entire universe. Instead, FOX completely took control and bumped down the creative mindset of Joss Whedon and didn't allow having this pilot to be shown until after the series had already been canceled, thus ruining the entire experience to those who were watching from the beginning. This showed us who the characters are, what this universe is, and everything else more extensively and with more rich material to see than what "The Train Job" gave us with tons of exposition without much explanation to really get familiar with who these characters are, what they do and how it's relevant. I loved seeing the transition of Mal-the-optimistic-Sergent to Mal-the-cynic, of seeing how the war affected him in such a way. I loved seeing Mal like how Whedon wanted him to be, bitter and cynical but still maintaining his humanity even in such a backwards and corrupt world. I loved seeing the introductions of these characters that doesn't seem forced by a network, that just seemed nature and amazing, plus the many surprises and turns the pilot gave us.
This should have been the pilot that prompted the series proper from the very beginning. It could have been an epic show, FOX, but you fucked up. *shakes fists*
I have to give mention of the Dark Angel pilot, only because I absolutely really loved it. Like all pilots, this gave us backstory, a full view about our leading character and what she's about, the post-apocalyptic dystopian futuristic world that they're living in and what exactly is at stake. Actually, in this pilot we got more of a view of the actual city and such a world than any other episode. What Jam Pony looks like, the apartment she resides in, the Seattle city and sector check points, even Logan's loft; the graffiti all around the city, the urban-street styles and unique look of every single character, and so on. It's just a very elaborate world that James Cameron created and the pilot really executes a lot that interested me when it first aired; it was exciting, it was mysterious and alluring, it was also frightening because it gives a realistic sense of what could happen in the future, and it's kind of happening now even (the possibility of electromagnetic pulses is very real, and just think about how we rely on technology so much, it would literally destroy many people's lives instantly). It's just an utterly fantastic pilot that sets up the season as a whole.
Masterlist of days here.
Um, so apparently Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams are going to be sharing a panel together at Comic Con? This is what happens when fandom S'PLODES WITH FANGASMS. This, I think, is going to be the most explosive panel. I have to look through what the other guests are for all the other days but, seriously, who can't wait to see what comes from this panel with them? :D Oh, and it seems that Fred Phelps and his craycray religious followers are going to be protesting at Comic Con this year because of us heathens "idolizing comic book characters" instead of God. The shenanigans from this is gonna be gold!
Also, Nathan Fillion tweeted this with the cryptic message: "together again." WHAT DOES THIS MEAN YOU GUYS?! OH NATHAN YOU BIG TEASE.