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10 TV Shows With Great First Episodes

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a revolutionary show, with a strong cast, great writing, and plenty of surprises. All of these strengths were on show in its debut episode, Welcome to the Hellmouth.

In its first scene, it showed what a smart, unpredictable series it would be when a teenage boy is shown breaking into a school with a pretty blonde girl. The girl hears noises and glances around nervously, and we expect her to be some monster's first victim. Brilliantly, she turns out to be the monster, morphing into a frightening vampire and killing her male companion.

Welcome to the Hellmouth introduced the core cast of the show: Buffy, her mother, the nucleus of the Scooby gang, and a few key villains. It also cleverly set up Eric Balfour's Jesse McNally as a key player before killing him in its second episode. It gave us hints to the Slayer mythology, the nature of the show's vampires and the evil lurking under the town of Sunnydale, all without too much clunky exposition. It also set the plot of the first season in motion, introducing Buffy to her future love interest Angel and setting up her inevitable confrontation with The Master.

Despite airing over twenty years ago, it remains funny, fresh and engrossing, a truly great start to a truly great series.