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10 Famous Movie Directors You Didn't Know Helmed Episodes Of TV

There was a time when major film directors would start with television and then move into the cinema space. With streaming continuing its boom in popularity, that trajectory has become a thing of the past. In the current golden age of television, it is not uncommon to see a big name get an episode's director credit.

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From the early days of 1950s sitcoms and anthology television until now, big-name auteurs have cut their teeth on the small screen. Even still, there are some television series that most viewers don't know had one or more episodes helmed by a prolific figure.

10 Stephen Spielberg - Columbo

Spielberg directed the first official episode  of Columbo (excluding two pilots), titled "Murder by the Book." The episode was particularly well-received and helped launch Spielberg's film career.

The series follows Lieutenant Columbo as he uses his unique methods to weed out murder suspects in high-profile murder cases. In "Murder by the Book," Columbo must solve the murder of a famous mystery writer. It was an early look at one of the most iconic directors in history.

9 Adam McKay - Eastbound & Down

Adam McKay, the director of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, helmed the fifth episode of the hilarious HBO comedy series Eastbound & Down.

Like McKay's classic news broadcaster filmEastbound & Down focuses on a selfish semi-celebrity. In this case, former professional baseball player Kenny Powers, as he tries to regain his stardom. The similarities between these projects shows where McKay shines.

8 Paul Thomas Anderson - Saturday Night Live

While the director of Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood didn't direct an entire episode of Saturday Night Live, he did direct a short. Back in 2000, when Anna Nicole Smith was making news headlines, Anderson directed a bit with Ben Affleck as an obsessed fan of the starlet (played by Molly Shannon).

RELATED: Paul Thomas Anderson's 5 Most Lovable Characters (& 5 That Fans Love To Hate)

The short video, a riff on the late '90s TV show FANatic, is unavailable to stream on Youtube but Peacock does offer up every season of SNL. Interestingly enough, Paul Thomas Anderson's next film was Punch-Drunk Love, featuring SNL alum Adam Sandler.

7 Joel Schumacher - House Of Cards

Most fans know that House of Cards benefitted from the steady hand of David Fincher (as did Mindhunter). However, viewers might not know that The Lost Boys and Batman & Robin director Joel Schumacher directed the political series' fifth episode in 2013.

House of Cards follows Frank and then Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) as they navigate the cutthroat world of Washington, D.C. Fortunately, the Underwoods specialize in backstabbing and manipulation.

6 Richard Donner - Tales From The Crypt

The late Richard Donner (The GooniesLethal Weapon) not only directed three episodes of HBO's anthology series Tales from the Crypt but had a hand in the show's production as well. Donner executive produced the series alongside fellow revered filmmakers Walter Hill, and Robert Zemeckis.

Before making a name for himself in film, Richard Donner also directed episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The FugitiveSerendipitously, Donner also directed six episodes of the classic horror anthology series, The Twilight Zone. In fact, the first episode that he directed ("Nightmare at 20,000 Feet") is widely and justly considered the series' most well-constructed installment.

5 Drew Goddard - The Good Place

Goddard, the director of The Cabin in the Woods and Bad Times at the El Royale, directed four episodes of the popular and heartfelt sitcom The Good Place. His knowing, cheeky sense of humor proved to be an excellent fit for the series' tone.

RELATED: 5 Ways Bad Times At The El Royale Is Drew Goddard's Best Movie (& 5 Ways It's Cabin In The Woods)

The endlessly quotable series The Good Place follows several recently deceased people as they try to understand the afterlife and their place in it. Abruptly thrown into a neighborhood labeled "The Good Place," the protagonists soon learn that they are anywhere but.

4 Robert Rodriguez - The Mandalorian

Robert Rodriguez helmed the sixth episode of The Mandalorian's sophomore season. Among the biggest episodes of the series thus far, "The Tragedy" reintroduced fan-favorite character Boba Fett to the Star Wars universe.

The plot follows the Mandalorian and the Child as they evade the empire en route to an ancient site. There, they may be able to find the Jedi who can train the child. However, with the introduction of the similarly armored Boba Fett, one of the Mandalorian's greatest allies may have been found. Rodriguez's signature style is evident all over the episode.

3 Ridley Scott - Raised By Wolves

HBOMax's Raised by Wolves saw its first two episodes shot by legendary Alien director Ridley Scott. Furthermore, Scott is one of the series' executive producers. He is a logical fit, given his classic work in the science-fiction genre with Blade Runner and Alien.

RELATED: 5 Highest-Grossing (& 5 Lowest-Grossing) Ridley Scott Movies, According To Box Office Mojo

Raised by Wolves follows two androids called Mother and Father after the Earth is wiped out by a mass-scale war. These two androids are assigned the task of raising human children on a planet called Kepler-22b.

2 Taika Waititi - The Mandalorian

Taika Waititi has become a big-name director thanks to his work on Thor: Ragnarok and the Oscar-nominated Jojo Rabbit. Waititi took the helm on an episode of The Mandalorian, like Rodriguezand directed the season 1 finale, "Redemption."

"Redemption" follows the Mandalorian as he protects The Child from the insidious Moff Gideon and his Imperial battalion. However, when they find themselves in a cantina surrounded by Storm Troopers, they come to the realization that all may be lost.

1 Quentin Tarantino - ER

The one and only Quentin Tarantino actually directed an episode of ER back in 1995, titled "Motherhood". In true auteur fashion, Tarantino only shot one take of each scene.

ER follows the emergency room doctors, nurses, and staff of a Chicago trauma center. "Motherhood" follows the cast as they navigate various tragedies, all involving mothers.

NEXT: 10 TV Shows Starring The Cast Of ER

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