Favourite Season Premiere Ever?


Tonight is the eagerly-awaited season premiere of The Office and the somewhat less eagerly-awaited season premiere of My Name Is Earl. I think most veteran TV viewers will agree that the season premiere of a long-running show is rarely the best part of the season. The expectations are too high; there’s too much to set up; if there was a cliffhanger at the end of last season, the resolution is bound to be disappointing; the network may insist on a big gimmick to start the season, and while gimmick episodes can be entertaining (Bones going to London was fun) we really want the show to get back to familiar territory. Generally you expect that the best episodes will come after the season premiere established what kind of season this is going to be.

But there are exceptions. Can anybody nominate a season premiere — not a series premiere, a season premiere for a show in its second season or beyond — that was a really great episode, one of the best if not the best of the whole season?

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Favourite Season Premiere Ever?

  1. The season two premiere of Lost, starting with the man we would come to know as Desmond going about his day inside the hatch – when we assumed it was a flashback to some more familiar cast member pre-island – was a real mind blower.

  2. Buffy vs. Dracula

    The season 2 and 4 premieres of the west wing (in the Shadow of Two Gunmen, and 20 Hours in America) were also very strong, but not the strongest of their seasons.

  3. Dang it, DMac stole my pick. That was an amazing episode.

    For runner up, I’ll go with the 24 season five premier. They seemed to put the show on a exciting new course, with less “stop the terrorists” and more “who killed the (former) president and framed BAuer”? (Sadly, I don’t think that season quite lived up to its potential.)

  4. Since everybody’s mentioning dramas, I’ll go with Gay Witch Hunt from The Office’s third season (though, actually, come to think of it, the second and third season premieres of Cheers are pretty great too).

  5. The first episode of the third season of Quantum Leap–the one when Sam leaps into himself when he was 16–was really good. It’s even better if you include the second part of the story when he saves his brother in Vietnam.

  6. This next one is a little odd as it was actually the fourth episode filmed but NBC decided to air it first, the first episode of the second season of Homicide. It’s the episode where Robin Williams plays a tourist who’s wife is murdered when his family is visiting Baltimore. That one was truly excellent.

  7. Battlestar Galactica. The season premieres tend to be top-notch; and if you count the miniseries as the first BSG “series”, “33” easily takes the prize.

    Then again, that Williams episode of Homicide was great as well.

  8. 33? I don’t think so – not least that the whole premise of the crucial 33 minute window never surfaced again.

    Occupation (Season three) – First sight of one-eye Tigh, fatboy Lee berated by his cranky dad, Starbuck in the doll house, Duck blowing himself up at the militia graduation, “Have hope. We’re coming for you.” (I’m willing to accept that Occupation may be disqualified by some for the heinous sight of Dean Stockwell sex.)

  9. In “33”, didn’t they resolve that it was the Olympic Carrier that was allowing the cylons to track them?

    “Best of Both Worlds, Part II” from Star Trek: The Next Generation was pretty exceptional, but was a cliffhanger.

    The Simpsons, for which production schedules obviously make the idea of a season premiere different, had some pretty exceptional season openers early on and I would say that “Homer’s Barbarshop Quartet” is in the top 5 episodes of season 5.

  10. Made In Canada. I think it was Season 4, 3 was a cliffhanger with everyone on the show almost being killed, and Mercer’s rant at the start explains away every certain death and they start a normal episode. Oh and the rant is pretty much Jaime’s entire point.

  11. This might be too old to really count, but I have to say The Bob Newhart Show, Season 4: The Longest Goodbye, which introduced Tom Poston as Bob’s old college roommate The Peeper. Every single gag in that thing works. It’s terrific.

  12. The first episode of season 2 of Double the Fist was great, but the rest of the season pretty much blows.

  13. Seasons 3 and 4 of “The Odd Couple”, mainly because nobody at ABC was paying attention and they didn’t push to make the debut shows anything “extra special”. Season 3 was when a computer dating service matched up Gloria and Oscar (“Andre LePlume”), while Season 4 had the return of the poker players while Gloria moved in with Oscar and Felix while her house was being repainted.

  14. The first episode of the fourth season of the Mary Tyler Moore show, which introduce Sue Ann Nivens. A true classic.

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