In her 2011 book Bossypants, Tina Fey explained the difficulty of writing a TV pilot. There are few things harder to write, since the objective is to introduce characters while maintaining both levity and humanity. Fey noted that Cheers might have one of the greatest pilots of all time. And she's absolutely right.
Pilot scripts are particularly difficult to write because you have to introduce all the characters without it feeling like a series of introductions. You have to tell a story that's not only funny and compelling but also dramatizes your main characters' points of view and what the series would be about thematically (love, work, investigating sexy child murders in Miami, etc.).
If you want to see a great pilot, watch the first episode of Cheers. It's charming, funny, and well constructed. If you want to see an awkward, sweaty pilot episode, watch 30 Rock.
Fey is being a bit hard on 30 Rock, but she's certainly right about Cheers. It has one of the greatest pilots of all time and would pave the way for so many other shows.
So if you've got 25 minutes to spare tonight, why not check out the first episode of Cheers? It's on both Netflix and Hulu and is truly a joy to watch. And if you get hooked, there's eleven full seasons to watch.
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