Most pilots aren't that great, really, or the show they set out to establish isn't the one it ends up becoming. The only pilot I've ever seen that does everything a pilot should do, is totally cohesive with the rest of the series, and hits the ground running is the Arrested Development pilot. I find it even more remarkable how well this pilot does everything it does in only 22 minutes.
I was really into TV shows from pretty much day one. I rarely watched shows casually as a kid; either I made sure I watched every single episode or I didn't bother. But, as you might have guessed, it wasn't until The X-Files that I went crazy over a show. I imagine part of it was being at the right age, but it was also the first legitimately good show I watched as it was airing for the first time, and that was a big deal, too. And, of course, the shipping (from the show that brought us the term itself!). It's kind of hard to discuss obsessing over XF as a kid without mentioning that.