Game of Thrones was nominated for thirteen Emmy nominations this year, and over the weekend it received an early Creative Arts Emmy for its opening title sequence. Great job! Although I have not watched the show, I hear people poke each other’s eyes in it?, I have watched the opening title sequence and it is very good. Opening title sequences are one of my favorite parts of TV shows because they look good, they usually have catchy songs, and don’t even get me started on the names, so I thought it would be COOL and FUN to talk about some of the best opening title sequences! My favorites tend to err on the side of stupid/embarrassing, so it would be helpful if anyone would point out any non-stupid/embarrassing opening titles I’m missing. Like, maybe The Wire has a good opening title sequence? I have honestly no idea. I have no idea if they even HAVE an opening credit sequence. Maybe it’s just a guy shouting “THE WIIIIIIREEEEEEEE” and then the show starts. Could be! Who knows. But here is the Game of Thrones title sequence, followed by my top ten:


Game of Thrones

Six Feet Under

I think I’ve watched every episode of Six Feet Under at least two times. What a depressing thought! But one thing that never gets old about it is THE OPENING TITLE SEQUENCE! It is by this guy, Danny Yount, who has also done title sequences for a million other TV shows and movies with great title sequences, like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Pushing Daisies, and Iron Man, and he is very good at his job. That is the only fact I know about any of these opening title sequences so enjoy it.

Luther

I have to admit that I haven’t really WATCHED Luther that much, but I do know of this title sequence and I do really like it and I know that Gabe likes Luther and can we all just pretend for one second that I like it too? Before I get back to the dumb stuff?

Freaks and Geeks

Just because something is going to make you groan at its inclusion doesn’t mean it’s not very very good, that’s what I have to say about this one.

The Sopranos

A classic. I feel like when this TV show was on, EVERYONE was always talking about how great the opening title sequence and song were. Even people who don’t normally bring up opening title sequences whenever they get a chance. Kind of like how when City of Angels was in theaters, people could not stop talking about how well the Goo Goo Doll’s song “Iris” fit with the movie. Even though they wrote the song AFTER they saw the movie? They literally wrote it about the movie. I don’t know why everyone was so impressed. But anyway, I think that’s pretty rare, right? Right? Hello?

Dead Like Me

A great thing about opening title sequences is that you can judge how GREAT they are while keeping that opinion completely removed from how you feel about the actual show. Like this one, for Dead Like Me. Though, I do like this show too so why don’t you just leave me alone about it.

Friday Night Lights

This particular opening sequence was kind of hard to find, as it seems NBC has removed it from everywhere on the Internet except this German website that I found this on. Boooooo. But, this is certainly a great opening. Great choice of music. Great choice of images. Great choice of show that comes on after them.

Twilight Zone

Doooyyyyyyyy.

Band of Brothers

DOOOOYYYYYYY.

True Blood

As we all know, True Blood is one of the worst things that we all had to watch because of Gabe’s recaps until the season ended last Sunday. But, as we all ALSO know, True Blood has a very good opening title sequence. Like I was saying about the Dead Like Me title sequence, it is easy to admit that this is great, while still knowing True Blood is the worst.

Pee Wee’s Playhouse

Every part of this is good — the song, the puppets, how GD long it is. This opening sequence and the opening sequence from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure are two of my favorites of all time. That guy just knows how to be in a good opening sequence that is embarrassing to express as your favorite because you don’t want to seem like you like it because it’s from your childhood, rather you like it because it’s actually just very good and fun and creative!

So, please, let me know what opening title sequences I missed. There is nothing I would rather talk about.

Comments (157)
  1. big fan of the title sequence for LOST.

    • A friend of mine works at a production company who does a lot of title sequences, and she said that the “Citizen Kane” of modern title sequences is Deadwood.

      Also, I would imagine that the Mad Men sequence is pretty popular.

    • You joke, but I actually agree. I think the opening titles on many shows–Deadwood and Dexter come to mind–are way too long, particularly since they never really evolve season to season or make me excited to watch the remainder of the show. They just leave me exasperated. Honestly, the pretty imagery is dull by the third time around. Shows like LOST or Breaking Bad use their titles as punctuation on cold-opening scenes. Hearing LOST’s ghostly sound or the twangy punch of BB’s opening ‘song’ always make me lean forward a little bit. It’s like ‘get ready, here we go.’

      • Whether or not they are long doesn’t matter to me now that I finally have a DVR.

        I think the Deadwood titles are amazing. So are True Blood’s. I do fast forward through them most of the time or use that point to go get chips from the kitchen. Form and function!

        Also, the Southland titles are pretty great.

        Has anyone watched Cold Case? It’s actually a pretty good detective show. The titles have this song that has been used in other stuff, but there is this loud vocal part that kicks it off and I tend to sing along to it, mocking it and enjoying it at the same time.

  2. I liked to nominate the following for the WOTSOAT.

    • holy crap I was just about to post that!! that theme is the single best in TV. “standing taaaaaall”

      • Only just now, reading that lyric here, do I realize that the refrain “standing tall on the wings of my dreams” pretty much means that you’re crushing your dreams and preventing them from taking flight, which is either an oversight on the songwriter’s part, or a surprisingly dark sentiment that someone sneaked into the opening credits of a TGIF ABC sitcom.

  3. Dallas. When my sister was little, she loved that title sequence so much that my parents never tried to stop her when she would sneak out of bed to watch it.

    • my family played ‘name that tune’ with humming a LOT in the car (and not in the car, too) (and with kazoos, which my dad always had an endless supply of for some reason) (and a guitar tuner even though no one in the house played guitar). anyway,no matter what, whoever went first would hum was the themesong to dallas, and it was a race to see could scream “DALLAS!” first. even today, if you start to hum or whistle or made any musical type noise around my family, we will all scream “DALLAS!” on instinct.

      that story was long, and it’s late so no one will probably read this.

      DALLAS!

  4. The Wire definitely does have a great title sequence. Treme’s is impressive too.

    • Season 5 with the Steve Earle version is my fave.

    • Treme’s title sequence is great. I love the song + the water damage effect.

    • For people who haven’t seen The Wire, the title sequence is a kind of pastiche of isolated shots, many or most of which are taken out of context from eps of the show; it forms a kind of free association synopsis and changes from season to season to reflect different plot lines or thematic emphases. The music is Tom Waits’s “Way Down in the Hole,” and it too changes every season with a cover by a different artist in a different style.

      • And for whatever reason (because i’m a blasphemous nightmare who should burn in hell), the Tom Wait’s version from Season 2 (Ziggy!) was my least favorite

  5. Louie should be here too.

  6. No Mad Men? The best part of the intro is when you can sing the show’s title along with the string part:

    “Mad-Men! Mad-Men! Mad-Men! Mad-Men! Mad-Men! Mad-Men! Mad-Men! Mad-Mad-Meeeeeeen!”

    • I sing the title along with this too:

      “Doctor Whooooooooooooooooooooooo! DOC-tor Whoooooooooooooooooooooooo! Doctor Who, Doctor Whoooooooooooooooo- oo-oo!”

    • Which Who, though?! Matt Smith-era with the time vortex lightning? The original series episodes where it showed a big-ass pic of Jon Pertwee’s face which faded into the distance as it played “woo-ee-ooooooo”? THIS IS IMPORTANT

  7. The A-Team’s opening sequence was pretty good. It set up their sweet back story through a VO, and then burst into one of the more memorable theme songs of the 80′s.

  8. Dexter’s is pretty good too.

  9. the simpsons opening credits with this couch gag is the best:

  10. Lamb Chop’s Play-Along!

  11. Dexter’s title sequence is very clever.

    The Greatest American Hero’s theme song was probably the best, although I’ll bet the title sequence was kinda lame.

  12. Dang-it, Kelly, I thought I could trust you to pay the proper tribute to every cute thing. I BARELY KNOW YOU ANYMORE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZNaecq_rpU

  13. also, this comment thread is useless without all of us debating about our favorite version of “way down in the hole” used during the opening sequences of the five seasons of the wire.

    call me old fashioned, but i enjoy the tom waits original version used in season two.

    • Blind Boys of Alabama in season 1 is my favorite. I feel like not many people prefer that one.

      • I was so disappointed that they used that for the final song in Season 5. There ain’t no nostalgia to this shit!

      • regarding the blind boys version… i was always too preoccupied by the lead singer sounding A LOT like wendell pierce. seeing him sing a bunch in season 2 or treme really solidified that for me. i hope that doesn’t ruin the song for anyone.

    • Season 3′s horn stabs give away such energy after the cold open that I have to give it the top spot but just in terms of song alone, I have to go with Mr. Waits.

  14. *cough* FRAGGLE ROCK! *cough*

  15. Hands down beats all of these – How to Make it in America’s opening titles: http://vimeo.com/10330592

  16. Gabe needs to come in and CurbThis post.

  17. oh cause ducktales definitely doesn’t have an opening title sequence

  18. Adventure Time. Now and forever.

  19. My two favorites are Pete and Pete and The Kids in the Hall, mostly for the music and the fashion.

  20. Bored to Death’s is fun! Also: nobody’s mentioned Arrested Development? That’s a pretty good one, too.

  21. Best slightly-modified opening title sequence of all time:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LXuAtRwuGY

    • jesus rollerblading christ, i am SO glad you included this. i had all but forgotten about it. except for how i sing these lyrics every time I watch that show now.

  22. Short-lived but awesome.

    TV Funhouse coming through, with animals that pee and poo

    • I loved (well, love. No past tense here!) the Twin Peaks music. When it first aired, my DREAM was to be an ice skater and to use the Twin Peaks theme for when I won all the gold metals. While riding a pegacorn. Also, there were kittens everywhere in my dream.

      I was a seven year old girl, what did you expect from me? Lisa Frank formed my brain.

    • Good call. That’s one of very few title sequences I always sit through without touching the fast forward button. The music and the images put you in the mood for the show in a terrific way. I think that’s the point of title sequences, right? I also liked the title sequence in John From Cincinnati, but that’s just because the song is so great.

    • YES! Laur’sa Theme will forever be one of my favorite peices of music. It pretty much haunts my life like the show. Also, Moby will always be OK in my book because of “Go”.

    • “Additonally, all attempts at upvotes failed in that the thumbs are not visible. As I blindly clicked, I may have unintentionally clicked a down vote. I apologize. How about a nice cup of steaming hot coffee to make up for it?”
      -Dale Cooper

    • Thank You!

      I scrolled through this whole comment thread just to make sure SOMEBODY has been watching television.

  23. Never really watched this show, but undeniably one of the slickest opening credit sequences of all time:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqvsUs-iQvg

    • It is really great! The show. Like objectively good, and I’m quick to be critical of anime so as to distance myself from 13-year-old Andrew.

    • YES. I agree with everything Andrew said, as someone who is also quick to criticize anime. The opening sequence is great, as is the rest of the music in the show and just the show in general, really.

  24. yeah TWIN PEAKS
    http://youtu.be/X2lkvrMa27c

    and BOOMTOWN
    this video may change your life. haha
    http://youtu.be/4PJ_L1K2Sv4

  25. This opening still makes my heart go into my throat.

    SO SCARY

  26. wait up friends! when i saw this list i just ASSUMED Twin Peaks was going to be on here. Isn’t it the prettiest? Doesn’t everybody in the whole wide world subconsciously hum the theme song on the subway every morning?

    I digress: Pet Star featuring Mario Lopez.

  27. This is a deep cut, but Rocko’s Modern Life had The B-52′s singing the theme song, which makes it awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JepKgroYdFA

  28. I used to think the X-Files opening sequence was amazing, but then I watched it the other day, and it was all grainy and silly. So, not a classic, but i think it was really cool for its time!

  29. Does everyone know this website? If not, look at this website:
    Art of the Title

  30. SAVED BY THE BELL! The crazy graphics! The annoying song! It was the very BEST!

  31. I was thinking about this the other day! I always find myself fast forwarding through the opening title for shows after I’ve seen it a time or two, with only a couple exceptions: Dead Like Me (I love that show too, Kelly), Pushing Daisies, and Daria.

    Also, explain to me why Daria isn’t on your list. It should be.

  32. I have way too many game of thrones theme remixes/covers in my itunes.

  33. I thought everyone liked Dead Like Me? Am I the only one who does? Well screw all of you, I’m going to keep liking it even if it isn’t cool.

  34. fresh prince of bel air???? dooooooyyyyyy

  35. Bob Ross Style.

    • I genuinely love any of the dozens of ’80s sitcoms that chose to open with portraits / drawings of their leads. Not entirely sure what it’s supposed to convey to the audience as an opening gimmick but it’s cheesy fun nonetheless.

  36. Even as a kid I loved the Jeeves and Wooster intro! But I am kind of a nerd. I also think it is a predecessor for the Mad Men stylistic intro.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cWvwkqDCWQ

  37. I’m actually quite partial to The Ropers:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hwbs68w_hI

  38. The intro to Carnivale gives me shivers, but in a good way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-Onb-FqR74

  39. This one gets dirty larry in the mood

  40. A lot of people find it annoying but I adore the Psych title sequence song…it makes me happy

  41. Also, how has no one mentioned Misfits?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu80V4XI52k

  42. Kelly, look at what you started here. An avalanche of memories.

  43. “Blansky’s Beauties”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3QANyOPrEs America loves and misses you, Blackjack! Let’s get a comeback vehicle for Blackjack.

  44. Also, I would like to express some sincere affection for the energetic dance number at the start of every episode of “Blossom”. Filmed cast dance parties should be mandatory regardless of subject matter. A real missed opportunity, cast of “Oz”.

  45. COSBY SHOW all the way! The top-hat/tuxedo one is my favorite though. Tropical island-y one is a very close second.

  46. NBC has some great opening theme songs..THE OFFICE? i mean, that show is old news and i still love the theme song.

    Parks and Rec? http://youtu.be/9LXuAtRwuGY

    others?

  47. I love the opening title sequence for “The Shadow Line”

    http://youtu.be/fViWsBm_1Ac

  48. How has no one mentioned Archer yet? That opening title sequence gets me entirely ready for that show.

    Basically, I’m really excited it’s coming back Thursday

  49. T&EAS,GJ! at least deserves an honorable mention:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhOasQq9rmc

  50. if for nothing else other than the sheer haunting beauty of the theme song, I submit: THE SHADOW LINE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fViWsBm_1Ac

  51. Misfits of Science!!! The beginning is awesome and then it goes into an 80′s extravaganza. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRZWKfeN1u4

  52. Sex and the City.

    (I’m sorry)

  53. Deadwood? No?

  54. Walking Dead? Not best, but I remember it being good?

  55. united states of tara
    happy and sad at the same time

  56. Come with us now…on a journey through time and space…to the world of The Mighty Boosh:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YUEv9Hn4Ts&feature=related

    THE MIGHTY BOOOOOOO-OOOOOOOSH!

    Hands down.

  57. Pee-Wee ALWAYS did it right. But the Christmas Special may be my particular favorite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jgIWVrDxuQ

  58. What’s so great about the Sopranos opening? It’s just shaky cam footage of him driving in his car. It’s nothing special.

  59. no one mentioned Cheers?

  60. Weeds – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8StRAJCork
    And maybe not the best intro, but Community might have the single best intro song.

    and for the nostalgic pick:
    Arthur – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zkX6kfnWbk
    Pinky and the Brain – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJPFSNu_QNs&feature=related

  61. Oh man, I’m still not sure I can think of an opening I hate more than the Season 2 and afterwards opening for the L Word:
    http://youtu.be/KztPyZH6dWU
    I have nothing against the visuals really, the song is just SO. STUPID. I had never missed a 5 second techno-filled opening title sequence so much (the Season 1 opening… though maybe memories of a friend excitedly singing “OOMPA oompa OOMPA oompa…” along with it helped).

    /fun facts

    P.S. – Clarissa Explains It All, yo! YOU KNOW YOU ALL WANT TO SING ALONG.

  62. I can’t remember the last It’s Always Sunny intro that didn’t make me laugh hysterically. I guess the actual title sequence isn’t the funny part, but stiiiiill. also, I’ll always have a soft spot for Roseanne’s ever-evolving 360-degree pan around the kitchen table. When she switched to family photos THIS BITCH WAS PISSED.

  63. What, no Quantum Leap?

  64. And then there’s MAUDE… (R.I.P., Bea!)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9NY8R-LmIw

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