Skip

The 60 Coolest Television Title Sequences
October 13, 2011 10:35 AM   Subscribe

The 60 Coolest Television Title Sequences in three pages of links.
posted by gauche (140 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy crap I did not know there was still a Pajiba.
posted by psoas at 10:38 AM on October 13, 2011


Nice to see Lost and Rubicon in there. Dexter is evocative, but at 1:50 or whatever is way, way too long for what you get out of it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:40 AM on October 13, 2011


Of ALL TIME??? I dont think so...

No original Hawaii Five-O
No Bewitched
No Combat
No Peter Gunn
No Wild Wild West, for cryin out loud!
posted by Billiken at 10:43 AM on October 13, 2011 [16 favorites]


Gunsmoke
Bonanza
The Jetsons - the one where the Earth explodes at the beginning, for cryin out loud!
posted by Billiken at 10:45 AM on October 13, 2011


No Ferguson? BLASPHEMY!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:45 AM on October 13, 2011


Billiken: "Of ALL TIME??? I dont think so...
No original Hawaii Five-O
No Bewitched
......
"

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, but given the parameters laid out in the article, his list makes sense...for his article.

However, claiming this list is the "coolest" of all time just doesn't cut it. H5.0 original was one of the best. Even after 40 years, it still holds up.
posted by lampshade at 10:48 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Obligatory Hawaii 5.0 link.
posted by lampshade at 10:49 AM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


All three pages crashed the flash plugin on my browser. :(
posted by zarq at 10:50 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always thought the Medium intro was spooky-cool.
posted by George Clooney at 10:50 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is Star Trek not on this list? Seriously?
posted by fremen at 10:51 AM on October 13, 2011


It's a horrible show, but True Blood has one of the best title sequences of all time.
posted by rocket88 at 10:53 AM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Too much modern TV. What about Dallas, or Buck Rogers, or Star Trek (as mentioned above)?
posted by orrnyereg at 10:55 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]




Pleased to see Dead Like Me on there. Especially since hearing that music successfully wiped out the I-I-I wanna go-oh-oh all the way-ay-ay that's been playing through my head since I walked by a take-out place blasting it this morning.
posted by phunniemee at 10:57 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to even look at the links based on the omissions already listed, but can someone please tell me if at least The Mary Tyler Moore Show made it? Or the first Bob Newhart show?
posted by Curious Artificer at 11:01 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, this is "60 title sequences I like from the last 5 years", not an all-time list. Looking at his criteria:
- express concept of show
- show logo
- show key cast/production credits
- set mood
- draw viewer in
Hawaii 5-0 (to choose one of many) absolutely knocks this out of the park. List fail.
posted by N-stoff at 11:01 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


No Get Smart?

No The Prisoner?

And Boardwalk Empire made it somehow? I always find that intro is a poor fit for the subject matter.
posted by Hoopo at 11:02 AM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Space: 1999 has not only one of the all-time great themes, but also has the moon getting blasted out of earth orbit.

What more does this guy want?
posted by Trurl at 11:03 AM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I disagree with #15, United States of Tara. The concept is great but the execution was done in CGI. If they could have actually done it all in paper craft, it would have been amazing.
posted by cazoo at 11:05 AM on October 13, 2011


The best TV title sequence ever? Thunderbirds Are Go! Meets all the criteria and no-one can match the Supermarionation.
posted by N-stoff at 11:09 AM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


How many of these shows had content that was significantly less interesting than the opening? That's the question I want answered. I mean, I love the Lie to Me opening. I could watch it again right now. But the show started tanking seriously in its second season, and it's just gotten worse. The Tudors also has a pretty bad content to opening ratio.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:12 AM on October 13, 2011


Everybody knows the best opening theme of all time is on Cowboy Bebop.
posted by Rinku at 11:12 AM on October 13, 2011 [13 favorites]




um, no Miami Vice?

Also, I fast forward through that godawful Firefly song every single time.
posted by HumanComplex at 11:12 AM on October 13, 2011


No Prisoner, no list.

It's as simple as that.
posted by Palindromedary at 11:13 AM on October 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


This
posted by Seiten Taisei at 11:16 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, Firefly has the worst them song of all time. Of All Time!!
posted by orrnyereg at 11:17 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just flipped through the list without watching any of the sequences. To be honest, there are some that even though I've seen the shows, I couldn't recall the credits if you put a gun to my head (i.e. two seasons of Damages and I'm drawing a complete blank).

I agree with the people who say it's just a modern list that ignores lots of the classics of the 70s, 60s and even earlier. I mean, I'm sorry but you can't have a best opening title sequence without mentioning The Rockford Files (unless it was there and I somehow missed it). Others that easily come to mind include M*A*S*H* and even The Wonderful World of Disney.
posted by sardonyx at 11:18 AM on October 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


No Mister Rogers' Neighborhood? Come ON.
posted by not_on_display at 11:19 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


haven't looked at the list yet, but i suppose i won't find Hong Kong Phooey, it's run was pretty short.
posted by kevdog at 11:19 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Early television didn’t focus much on a show’s main title sequence; on most networks, a longer title sequence meant less time for commercials.

Why do I think this kid is 18 years old? This is an interesting compilation of cool TV intros from the past 10 years.

Put that limit on it and it's fine. I think the Mad Men intro is horrible, but that's me.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:22 AM on October 13, 2011


This should be the best 60 TV titles sequences for the kidz who grew up on cable TV crowd. "American Horror Show" is the third best? "American Horror Show" is even on the list? Fuck that noise.
posted by blucevalo at 11:23 AM on October 13, 2011


Agreed about The Prisoner.

It was the best of a great model, where the title sequence serves as an introduction to the series itself, by telling the background story in a minute, allowing you to jump right into whatever episode, however far into the series they might be.

Beverley Hillbillies, The Jeffersons, Brewster, Fresh Prince of Bel Air... it's been done hundreds of times, because it's a handy proven model. And The Prisoner did it best.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:23 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hong Kong Phooey, quicker than the human eye!
posted by blucevalo at 11:23 AM on October 13, 2011


orrnyereg: "Yes, Firefly has the worst them song of all time. Of All Time!!"

Enterprise ranks up there too as pretty bad.
posted by lampshade at 11:24 AM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, I fast forward through that godawful Firefly song every single time.

Yes, Firefly has the worst them song of all time. Of All Time!!


Philistines!

Burn the land, boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me.

All the Whedon shows had fantastic openings. My personal order, as of right now:

Angel
Firefly
Dollhouse
Buffy

Charles in charge!
Of our days and our nights.
Charles in charge!
Of our wrongs and our rights.
And I say, I want Charles in charge of me.


Way better version.

Everybody knows the best opening theme of all time is on Cowboy Bebop .

Yes, yes, yes! All the music on Bebop was fucking fantastic.
posted by kmz at 11:26 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


They lost me at #60. The Big Bang Theory titles are just a ripoff of 3rd Rock from the Sun, and the Barenaked Ladies theme song is just a ripoff of They Might Be Giants.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:26 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tales from the Crypt!
posted by anoirmarie at 11:26 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also missing: Farscape. Yes, I preferred the early seasons theme over the later one. I always love to do the yelp at the very end with the song, and then my wife and our dogs all look at me like I'm a madman.
posted by kmz at 11:28 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also: "Downtown Abbey"?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:28 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


"60 Coolest..." Absolutely! (If you're a 21 year-old sci-fi / fantasy geek and are already lamenting your lost teen years and, oh yeah, here's a couple that my Dad made me watch and they're sort of OK too ["Band of Brothers"]).

You really should have consulted someone who actually watched television before 1990.

On my list -- many already cited in this thread, plus "The Outer Limits" -- "We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical..." and at the end when they thoughtfully signed off, "We now return control of your television to you". And "Here Come the 70s", with that uber-techno theme by Syrinx, "Tillicum".
posted by Mike D at 11:29 AM on October 13, 2011


The site is hanging on me at the moment, but given that they omitted The Prisoner I don't feel like I'm missing much.
posted by usonian at 11:30 AM on October 13, 2011


Seriously, when I was young they played The Avengers in syndication weeknights at my bedtime. I would watch the opening and only the opening each night on our crappy 4 inch black and white television because it was so soothing and exhilarating.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:30 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who is this superhero ... Sarge? ... No ... Rosemary the telephone operator? ... No ... Henry, the mild-manned janitor? ... could be!

I know yall are joking, but that (or Underdog) very well could be my favorite TV intro of all time. The file cabinet, the ironing board, the car in the dumpster ... pitch perfect.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:31 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Blanks did Underdog too. :)
posted by kmz at 11:34 AM on October 13, 2011


ah i'm happy to see the love for Hong Kong Phooey... I was worried it was just me.
posted by kevdog at 11:34 AM on October 13, 2011


WKRP in Cincinnati
Charlie's Angels
Starsky and Hutch
Fall Guy
A-team
Dukes of Hazzard
Hill Street Blues
Taxi
posted by sciencejock at 11:41 AM on October 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Okay, to continue down this line:

George of the Jungle
The Saint
The Outer Limits (for criminey sakes!)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:42 AM on October 13, 2011


Police Squad!
Mission: Impossible
MST3K
posted by heatvision at 11:46 AM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always loved the title sequence for Mystery! too
posted by Hoopo at 11:48 AM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Police Squad!

Oh dude yes. That is a classic, that there.
posted by Hoopo at 11:49 AM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


well, if we are going to stretch things... let's include Land of the Lost. Raaaarrrrr!
posted by kevdog at 11:50 AM on October 13, 2011


I went and found the I Spy opening credits and was surprised that, while as a kid watching this show, I always regarded Bill Cosby and Robert Culp as equals, the people who made the series, judging from the titles, did not.

But a very nice 60's period style, there.
posted by Danf at 11:51 AM on October 13, 2011


Thundercats
posted by emeiji at 12:12 PM on October 13, 2011


It doesn't really qualify as a classic, but the intro to The Protectors always stuck with me.
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:14 PM on October 13, 2011


And how could I forget this gem, featuring Vincent Price and the music of Jean-Jacques Perrey?
posted by Hoopo at 12:19 PM on October 13, 2011


I was shocked to see Fringe on the list because it's nothing but un-kept promises. WHERE'S MY HIVE MIND, ABRAMS?

Random intros that came to mind while flicking down the list: Ghost in the Shell SAC 2nd Gig (sorry about the fansub bullshit), Invader Zim, the very special episode of Adventure Time, Flapjack, Blake's 7, and Red Dwarf.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:32 PM on October 13, 2011


also missing:

Batman: The Animated Series

Alfred Hitchcock Presents


This list was compiled hastily under time pressure for petty cash.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:33 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would vote for the first season title sequence from Weeds. Great song, great visuals, got across the central conceit of the show.
posted by skullhead at 12:35 PM on October 13, 2011


orrnyereg: "Yes, Firefly has the worst them song of all time. Of All Time!!"

Enterprise ranks up there too as pretty bad.


I'm sorry, Firefly is the worst? Enterprise "ranks up there?"

It's like I don't even know you people sometimes. Firefly had a great theme song, and Enterprise's was a horrible sin against all of humanity and should have been considered a war crime.
posted by quin at 12:37 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


You guys do realize that Firefly was a western right? It's like complaining that Happy Days had a 50's rock sounding theme.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 12:43 PM on October 13, 2011


No offense to the list maker, but he doesn't have have the coolest Doctor Who intro up there. And since I'm assuming the list was in a particular order (because Carnivale's opening credits are pretty close to #1 worthy; not sure I agree, but you could listen to the argument.), #40 is just too low. Either you like the Doctor Who opening credits because you like the show or it gave you nightmares and that's why you never watched the show. Those are almost universally the response to it.

dances_with_sneetches: "

Charles in charge!
Of our days and our nights.
Charles in charge!
Of our wrongs and our rights.
And I say, I want Charles in charge of me.

Its like a combination of Dylan and Leonard Cohen.
"


Now I know you're joking, but the CiC theme song is really pretty awesome, but not for the oft-remembered chorus title quoting chorus but because of the opening. lines:

New boy in the neighborhood
Lives down stairs and it's understood.
He's there just to take good care of me.
Like he's one of the family.


Emphasis mine. Yes, they've come to an understanding that the attractive college boy who lives in our basement will be our nanny and not, say, fuck our teenage daughter. That's pretty much the whole dramatic tension of the show and they manage it to nail it (heh) two lines in. Genius.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:43 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Cyclopsis Raptor: "You guys do realize that Firefly was a western right? It's like complaining that Happy Days had a 50's rock sounding theme."

Exactly. For the same reason, if music goes through a rebirth of popularity for really shitty pop ballads in 140 years, Enterprise's opening is going to seem pretty damn prescient.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:45 PM on October 13, 2011


I don't know about opening sequences, but (Cowboy Bebop aside) my two favorite themes ever are Battlestar Galactica and, ahem...SeaQuest DSV.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:46 PM on October 13, 2011


Fast forward through Firefly? As a matter of taste, I guess, but if the mood of that opening doesn't suit you, it's hard to imagine the show that comes after does.

But for the same reason I hardly ever fast forward through a show intro. The one I do consistently: Farscape. Ugh.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:51 PM on October 13, 2011


Oh, just when I am over Carnivale's cancellation, this happens. DAMN YOU, HBO!
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:51 PM on October 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ok, the only intro that even comes close to Hawaii 5-0, the one that has me standing up in my living room rocking out, and ready for 22 minutes of sheer entertainment ecstasy...

Futurama
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:53 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also: YES, Dead Like Me.

I was always convinced it was a hipster visual joke at 00:34, but was it meant to just be coincidence?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:53 PM on October 13, 2011


Seriously, how did American Horror Story rank so high?? I mean, I do like the intro, but it's had all of two episodes to sink in. Some openings are annoying at first, but then grow into their role over time, and its when they take on a life of their own that they become "cool". I mean, look at the Lost sequence.

And yeah, no Farscape, Star Trek, The Outer Limits, or Cowboy Bebop??
posted by mysterpigg at 12:55 PM on October 13, 2011


Wait, ranked? Where does it say these are ranked, or is it implied by the countdown? If this is ranked, it has other problems than recency.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:03 PM on October 13, 2011


I could tell the list would suck before I saw the first item on it, because the History described in the introductory was DEAD WRONG. Not only were theme songs even BIGGER before the 80s (Hawaii Five-O, Rockford Files and others were Top 10 hits!), but toward the end of the '90s, Opening Sequences almost went extinct as networks looked for ways to squeeze in extra commercial time. Previously 30-45 second openings were crushed down to a five-second title card, and new shows got all their opening credits in the 'bottom third' as the first scene started.

One word sums up that period in TV history: Seinfeld.

One show did subvert that trend with a semi-classic closing theme: Frasier. Although that was all song and no visuals.

Still, the TV history portrayed in the intro was about as accurate as a Glibertarian's account of the New Deal. And, I suspect, just as dishonest. Pajiba.com just was too lazy to go back more than a few years.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:03 PM on October 13, 2011


Wait, ranked? Where does it say these are ranked, or is it implied by the countdown? If this is ranked, it has other problems than recency.

I assume there's a ranking cause it uses numbers. Otherwise why have numbers at all? Though maybe they just really don't understand the different between <ol> and <ul>.
posted by kmz at 1:07 PM on October 13, 2011


Gah, *difference.

Also, I can't believe nobody's linked to this one yet, because Freddie Mercury makes anything super-awesome: Highlander!
posted by kmz at 1:09 PM on October 13, 2011


Archer
posted by Navelgazer at 1:16 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Six Million Dollar Man
posted by Mrs. Buck Turgidson at 1:22 PM on October 13, 2011


I'm sorry, Firefly is the worst?

No need to apologize, you didn't write that awful song.
posted by Hoopo at 1:23 PM on October 13, 2011


Comments here make me want to see a MeFi-list. Anyone want to bite? Wikistyle or voting this could be awesome.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:29 PM on October 13, 2011


Don't forget the 80s:
Knight Rider - showing off the main character from all angles set to a classic theme.
Star Trek The Next Generation - Truly iconic with special effects that are quite uncringeworthy for 1987 tv-work.

and an honorable mention to
Macgyver - it's really just a bunch of spliced together action from the episodes. But it's so damned exciting and action-packed.
posted by Authorized User at 1:34 PM on October 13, 2011


Oh! Is this where I get to complain about the way the DVDs of Red Dwarf have completely fucked the amazing original opening sequence by cutting it with some shitty electric guitar wank version of the end credits theme played over clips from later series?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:39 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Knight Rider

If you're going to do that, then I think you have to do this (but not this).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:44 PM on October 13, 2011


And some classic British animated ones.
Jeeves & Wooster with animation and a cool theme song that immediately transport the viewer to the light-hearted mood and period setting.
Monty Python's Flying Circus - Terry Gilliam's imagination running wild.

If you're going to do that, then I think you have to do this
Well I wanted to stick to openings that were more than just snippets of action cut from actual episodes. And more importantly I never really watched Magnum PI as a child anyways.
posted by Authorized User at 1:49 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Clearly Sopranos is the best.
posted by holdkris99 at 2:02 PM on October 13, 2011


I was disappointed by the absence of The Rockford Files as well, and also the Emergency! opening (not the jazzy one).

Both were brilliantly expository with excellent use of stills to give a nice verite aesthetic. Particularly with Rockford, I enjoy the irony inherent in use of a series of snapshots to introduce us to Jim Rockford, as if he himself was being tailed by another PI (not that that ever happens, right!).

I think the chap on the blog could do a bit deeper of a dig than simply the last three years of TV, and he'd find a much richer trove to choose from.
posted by DrSawtooth at 2:11 PM on October 13, 2011


HEY HEY HEY
posted by Hoopo at 2:19 PM on October 13, 2011


Well, seeing as we're forgetting that "here's some random themes from shows since 2001" list, let me add some other classics:

The Avengers, from the black and white Emma Peal season. The British 60s in one theme.

There appear to be many versions of this, but the Danger Man theme is just great.

Clannad's Robin of Sherwood theme.

And nobody has mentioned Airwolf?
posted by Harry at 2:39 PM on October 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Simple though they were, the opening credits of I, Claudius used to send shivers down my spine as a child.
posted by hot soup girl at 2:44 PM on October 13, 2011


Sys Rq, Are you sure you're not thinking of just the opening of the later series, which is exactly as you describe? I am pretty sure the more awesome opening of the earlier series is intact on the DVDs in the boxset.
posted by mysterpigg at 3:07 PM on October 13, 2011


No Arrested Development?

COME ON!
posted by 3FLryan at 3:11 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Believe it or not ...

And nobody has mentioned Airwolf?

I like to pretend it never happened. LALALALALALALALALALALALALA!

This is it
posted by mrgrimm at 3:22 PM on October 13, 2011


Sys Rq: "Oh! Is this where I get to complain about the way the DVDs of Red Dwarf have completely fucked the amazing original opening sequence by cutting it with some shitty electric guitar wank version of the end credits theme played over clips from later series?"

They kept the perfect end credits song though.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:24 PM on October 13, 2011


HEY HEY HEY

lol. I favorited you before I even clicked on it. I just assumed you were doing Rerun (WATCH THIS), but that would be "Hey Hey!" I suppose. Either way, What's Happening? roolz.

So many good intros haven't been mentioned.

Welcome Back Kotter
Sanford and Son
Alice
Barney Miller
The Munsters
Laverne & Shirley
Hogan's Heroes
The Brady Bunch
Gilligan's Island
The Partridge Family
Mork and Mindy
Cheers
Taxi
The Addams Family
Mary Tyler Moore Show
ALF
THE MUPPET SHOW
posted by mrgrimm at 3:48 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh! Is this where I get to complain about the way the DVDs of Red Dwarf have completely fucked the amazing original opening sequence by cutting it with some shitty electric guitar wank version of the end credits theme played over clips from later series?

Are you sure? On my (region 1) DVDs Season 1 and 2 openings are that same orchestral bit you linked to. The opening was wankerized starting in Season 3. I see complaints in the YouTube link's comments about the netflix versions of S1 and S2 using the S3 intros, but I wouldn't know about that.

And the Firefly theme song sucks on ice.
posted by farmerd at 3:53 PM on October 13, 2011


Perhaps more interesting are the worst TV intros ever. The runners up:

The Phoenix
Dear John (w/ lovely local TV news satanic murder lead-in!)
The Cosby Show (oh you've seen it)
Frasier
Blossom
Renegades
Cop Rock
Midnight Caller
Blue Thunder
The Equalizer
Mama's Family

The winner:
Manimal
posted by mrgrimm at 4:01 PM on October 13, 2011


Knowledge is power... for real!
posted by JHarris at 4:16 PM on October 13, 2011


But yeah, it looks like we could probably compose our own, better list of 60 themes just from the comments here. Even if the link had been to Sarah Palin's Greatest Sound Bites I don't think the thread would be as ringing a denouncement.
posted by JHarris at 4:21 PM on October 13, 2011


A lot of cartoons have really well designed title sequences. Take the the original TMNT cartoon from the early 90s; in 60 seconds it manages to show an exciting sequence of scenes, introduce all the recurring characters and their motivations, explain the important parts of the backstory, and mention the mouthful of a title 12 times with still time for brief synth solo.

I don't even need to link to it, you are humming the tune right now...
posted by AndrewStephens at 4:23 PM on October 13, 2011


just remembered this one...was my favorite for a long time.
Starblazers
posted by kevdog at 4:31 PM on October 13, 2011




Gerry Anderson's U.F.O has one of the most amazing theme songs. It's like a sci-fi Hawaii Five-0.
posted by bienbiensuper at 4:55 PM on October 13, 2011


And some classic British animated ones.
You could add Yes Minister to that particular list
posted by netd at 5:01 PM on October 13, 2011


And Boardwalk Empire made it somehow? I always find that intro is a poor fit for the subject matter.

That intro is fucking terrible and the music is worse.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:37 PM on October 13, 2011


I'll post the same thing here as I did over there:

First off - a lot of people are mistaking "sequence" for "theme". And while a lot of the names being tossed around as missing have great, even iconic, themes, their overall sequences can verge on forgettable; with the exception of Hawaii 5-0, The Twilight Zone and maybe a couple of others.

Second, as much as I love the American Horror Story opening credit sequence, I wouldn't rate it that high yet. Props for having it on, though.

Thirdly, John From Cincinnati - FUCK TO THE YES! I don't care if I am the only person who loves that show, I will always go to bat for it. Bless its confusing, obtuse little heart.

Lastly, I can't fault the number one.
posted by cerulgalactus at 5:40 PM on October 13, 2011


Gah, *difference.

Also, I can't believe nobody's linked to this one yet, because Freddie Mercury makes anything super-awesome: Highlander yt !
Highlander definitely wins for all time when you compare title theme awesomeness versus quality of actual show.

Oh! oh! I so rarely get to do this, especially on a 100 post thread, but Mission Impossible is most assuredly in my top 10.
posted by midmarch snowman at 5:41 PM on October 13, 2011


Also, this list being wack by virtue of freaking "Max Headroom" being the oldest show on the list is true.

But let's also look at the order; Lost barely counts as having a theme, but it's done perfectly. It would scare the crap out of pets and small children and literally sent chills down my spine (well, it sent chills down my spine until the last season when they started going bonkers about the source and other less compelling mysteries). Every detail of the sound, the motion of the title card, the focus is amazing.

Dexter, on the other hand, has a title sequence, while beautiful, is a fracking disaster. First, it's approximately 20 minutes long. Second, aside from showing us that Dexter is really well groomed and referencing violence a couple times, doesn't really illustrate much about the themes of the show. Third, everytime I watch an episode of Dexter I HAVE to have eggs with hot sauce the next morning, which always makes me late for work. Screw off Dexter title theme.

But the list puts Dexter at the top and Lost at the bottom. Dumb.
posted by midmarch snowman at 5:49 PM on October 13, 2011


this one or, this one or maybe, this one, what about this one, but also this one? How do you choose? I don't know, but you're welcome.
posted by wobh at 6:17 PM on October 13, 2011


Gerry Anderson's U.F.O has one of the most amazing theme songs. It's like a sci-fi Hawaii Five-0.

ITYM

Gerry Anderson's (1980!) UFO has one of (1980!) the most amazing theme songs. (1980!) It's like (1980!) a sci-fi Hawaii Five-(1980!)-0.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:22 PM on October 13, 2011


This alternative "Lost - 1967" title sequence directed by Ryan Lewis is still one of my favorites, and is definitely cool. Watching it makes me so nostalgic for the love I had for that show.
posted by Auden at 6:28 PM on October 13, 2011


Nice to see Lost and Rubicon in there. Dexter is evocative, but at 1:50 or whatever is way, way too long for what you get out of it.

Dexter is probably the best ever, maybe excepting Twilight Zone. It's better than the show.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:33 PM on October 13, 2011



I'm sorry, Firefly is the worst?

No need to apologize, you didn't write that awful song.


That song is amazing.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:34 PM on October 13, 2011


and what about the the first cosby show? - full track is here - that's carol kaye on bass, funking it up
posted by pyramid termite at 6:53 PM on October 13, 2011


While this is way before my time (OK, not really, but by a few years, definitely), I think this one is the best Who opening, even surpassing "my" Doctors (T. Baker and Tennant). It's intriguing, no? And, to be honest, Tom's mug was kind of scary zooming at you like that from the telly.
posted by droplet at 6:54 PM on October 13, 2011


Sys Rq, Are you sure you're not thinking of just the opening of the later series, which is exactly as you describe? I am pretty sure the more awesome opening of the earlier series is intact on the DVDs in the boxset.

It's the theme from the later series, yes, but they put it on the earlier (man-Holly) ones for some stupid reason. They should have done the other thing: Put the original opening on the later series and thrown the "HEY EVERYBODY, THIS IS A COMEDY SHOW!!!" version out the airlock.

(FWIW, I said DVDs, but I'm really basing my observation on Netflix streams.)
posted by Sys Rq at 6:56 PM on October 13, 2011


The coolest part of the already awesome Wild Wild West title sequence is the way they would replace one of the drawings at each commercial with a drawing of the cliffhanger scene before the break, so that by the end of the episode the whole thing had been replaced with drawings unique to that episode. (See 4:40 of this video for an example.)
posted by straight at 7:20 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


this list being wack by virtue of freaking "Max Headroom" being the oldest show on the list

You're only off by about 20 years.

People have been good about filling in some of my old faves (Barney Miller, Hill Street Blues, Welcome Back Kotter, Taxi, WKRP) and I loved em back in the day, but if I had to name three that made me sit up and take notice, riveted, from the first watch, they would be The Twilight Zone, The Prisoner, and Six Feet Under.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:29 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy, MARTIN STARR. That's who that is.

I do love the Freaks and Geeks sequence, and realized on re-watching it that he's the familiar looking guy I've been trying to identify at the beginning of this video for a little while now.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:44 PM on October 13, 2011


and what about the the first cosby show? - full track is here - that's carol kaye on bass, funking it up

I have 3 different versions of that song, and while I find Cosby's vocals pretty hilarious, once the novelty wears off the version without vocals remains awesome.

Which reminds me, you can find that song on Quincy Jones' awesome Smackwater Jack album, which also has the theme from Ironside (awesome TV title sequence in a Bond sort of way) and the theme music to the Anderson Tapes.
posted by Hoopo at 7:57 PM on October 13, 2011


The Equalizer as worse intro? Are you crazy?! STUART FUCKING COPELAND!
posted by furtive at 8:03 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm so late to this thread.
posted by book 'em dano at 8:10 PM on October 13, 2011


Another classic.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:14 PM on October 13, 2011


No Pee Wee's Playhouse? Seriously?
posted by apparently at 9:12 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do agree with the choice of Rome-I found that into very evocative.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:09 PM on October 13, 2011


Two points:

Number one: the Being Human intro is fanmade. Being Human doesn't have a theme song or a real title sequence, other than the title on a black background.

Number two, and much more important: the goddamned Venture Brothers.
posted by maqsarian at 10:28 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also: the Venture Bros. starring Rusty and Jonas Venture Jr., and starring the Mighty Monarch!
posted by maqsarian at 10:36 PM on October 13, 2011


Batman: The Animated Series

The BTAS intro is basically a tightened up version of the original pitch that Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski made for Warner Brothers. It really says something about the quality and care put into a program when the title sequence is basically a complete short film all by itself.

More superheroes, because I love superheroes: Spider-Man (featuring Joe Perry!), The Batman (featuring the Edge!), Batman Beyond (the intro was pretty good, even if the show was often mediocre) and the motherfucking X-Men.

All right, I think I'm done now.
posted by maqsarian at 11:22 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


you forgot Batman: Brave and the Bold

love how brassy it is.

and my new addiction, Adventure Time
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:25 PM on October 13, 2011


Ha, the Brave and the Bold intro is great, it's just overshadowed by the PURE CONCENTRATED WEAPONS-GRADE AWESOMENESS that is every other second of that show.
posted by maqsarian at 11:30 PM on October 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


this list being wack by virtue of freaking "Max Headroom" being the oldest show on the list

You're only off by about 20 years.
Ugh! I missed the Twilight Zone, you're right. However, after TZ (last seen on air in 1964) and MH (last seen in 1988) there's a smattering of 1990s shows and then most of everything else was airing new episodes within the last five years.

I don't really feel that remorseful for my mistake.
posted by midmarch snowman at 12:03 AM on October 14, 2011


I hardly ever fast forward through a show intro. The one I do consistently: Farscape. Ugh.

You'll never know the wonders I've seen.
posted by Sauce Trough at 1:17 AM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Has to include

Top Cat
Flintstones
Mission Impossible
posted by dprs75 at 3:12 AM on October 14, 2011


You'll never know the wonders I've seen.

The intro. The show I like plenty.

I do agree with the choice of Rome-I found that into very evocative.

Especially viewing this as a ranked list, I was waiting for the Rome complaints to pour in, as last time we had a thread on this topic no MeFites had anything good to say about it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:47 AM on October 14, 2011


Too late to the thread but SWAT. That's how you do an opening. Also, when wotshisnut from Portishead mixed it into his BBC Essential Mix, I swooned. Swooned, I say.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 8:45 AM on October 14, 2011


Danger Mouse
posted by mrgrimm at 9:28 AM on October 14, 2011


Villa motherfucking Alegre. You heard me.
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:44 AM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dexter, on the other hand, has a title sequence, while beautiful, is a fracking disaster. First, it's approximately 20 minutes long.

I totally fast-forward through the Dexter intro now. You're completely right about it being too long.

Second, aside from showing us that Dexter is really well groomed and referencing violence a couple times, doesn't really illustrate much about the themes of the show.

The beauty of that intro is that it actually takes the central theme of Dexter, and then flips it on its head. In the intro, seemingly violent acts turn out to be normal everyday tasks. In the show, of course, Dexter is just this guy, you know, seemingly going through life performing normal everyday tasks. But it turns out that he spends his free time performing acts of violence. The intro also takes place in the morning, while Dexter's escapades typically take place at night. All that is right on the surface without reading too much into it at all, but I'm sure that if one did, they could find more. So while I would agree your statement is technically correct here, I wouldn't say it tells us nothing about the show.

Third, everytime I watch an episode of Dexter I HAVE to have eggs with hot sauce the next morning, which always makes me late for work.

But its totally worth it, amirite?
posted by mysterpigg at 12:58 PM on October 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Too many newish shows. Not enough old shows.
posted by republican at 5:44 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Avengers. Whatever you’re rating, The Avengers is #1.
posted by bongo_x at 10:07 PM on October 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Agreed about The Prisoner and The Avengers. A dearth of great older shows opening sequences. I mean the Munsters, when they freeze on Herman's face after Lily gives him the lunch box? Also the Addams Family, Green Acres, and the Patti Duke show would be any sensible list. It's enough to make someone start paying attention to things that matter!
posted by nimmpau at 9:22 AM on October 17, 2011




He may have included the Twilight Zone, but posted a fan creation of it, not that actual sequence (which can be seen, here).

As a huge TZ geek, I am a little annoyed with his lack of attention to detail.
posted by vertigo25 at 9:42 AM on October 17, 2011


I love the Farscape intro
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:17 PM on October 17, 2011


« Older Stubborn as a Muledog   |   "Then who opens the pickle jar?" Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post