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Feature
TV's Most Inspired Title Sequences
The small screen’s finest introductions

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Over the last few years, TV shows have suddenly dropped the boring montage titles that used to predominate – you know, the ones with a shot of all the characters interspersed, perhaps, with a few landscapes to set the scene – and become one of the most innovative areas in entertainment. Some serve as microcosms of the shows they represent; others appear to go off on a tangent; still more create their own little world of comedy, adventure or horror. Here, we’ve gathered together 25 of the finest out there, with an emphasis on recent series rather than, say, Red Dwarf. Watch them and marvel – and in a few cases, shudder in terror...

WORDS HELEN O'HARA, JAMES WHITE, ALI PLUMB
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TRUE DETECTIVE

Winning plaudits for just about every element – leading men Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson seem destined to be in the Emmy conversation this year – True Detective didn’t disappoint in its title sequence, either. In keeping with the tradition of HBO series’ great intros, this sets hazy imagery of Louisiana landscapes and industrial sprawl within images of the main characters and others. And it’s perfectly scored by ‘Far From Any Road’ by The Handsome Family, which conjures up a dreamlike vision of grime, danger and death. It’s a world of degradation, with sex, sin and insanity in equal measure, all inspired from a pitch by show creator Nic Pizzolatto. And yes, it’s compelling with it. If time is a flat circle, we’re fine with watching this one again and again.

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Your Comments

1 Where was West Wing
Where was The West Wing in that list??? The opening theme won an Emmy. More

Posted by nicksinclair01 on Tuesday April 1, 2014, 21:36

2 The Walking Dead Credits
Here is the correct link https://vimeo.com/25427990 More

Posted by thebootmaker on Friday March 28, 2014, 18:24

3 The Walking Dead Credits
Those are the wrong credits, those look like fan-made ones. More

Posted by Shifty Bench on Friday March 28, 2014, 17:49

4
Even without the "Celtic" remake the Sons Of Anarchy theme song has quite possibly the cheesiest lyrics ever written. The Americans opening titles are noticeable by their absence here. More

Posted by digvoldon on Friday March 28, 2014, 17:18

5 AVClub…
have a very very similar feature up today too. Notable omissions from here (in my opinion): Deadwood Rectify Justified Community Par ks And Recreation More

Posted by roundeyeblues on Friday March 28, 2014, 16:20

6 No Fringe?
One of the best title sequences out there... More

Posted by ronniem on Friday March 28, 2014, 14:58

7 Inspired Titles for post-Millenial fan-boys, you mean.
Baby Boomers like me would add The Avengers (Steed&Peel), and The Wild, Wild West, which also incorporated the witty animated title sequence into the original commercial breaks. More

Posted by MickleSt on Wednesday May 30, 2012, 19:40

8 What about Fringe??
The title sequence changes to co-ordinate with the universe or timeline that they're in and IT'S AWESOME. More

Posted by Goddamnitsaveme on Monday May 21, 2012, 20:56

9 thank God for all those sponsorship messages
they weren't annoying at all More

Posted by rossabroad on Wednesday May 9, 2012, 12:32

10 How could you forget American Horror Story?
Those credits are as batshit insane as True Bloods. More

Posted by Teamwak on Monday May 7, 2012, 17:32

11 RE: Are they in order?
I liked the opening sequence for Last Chance to See - the kind of steam punk globe with the animals (not a million miles from Game of Thrones).  More

Posted by elab49 on Monday May 7, 2012, 16:59

12 RE: Are they in order?
I really like the opening titles for Misfits. They sort of lost their relevance after the first two seasons when they all got new powers but before hand they were great with a hint as to each character's power; eg Curtis's shadow moving backwards. More

Posted by musht on Sunday May 6, 2012, 18:37

13 Are they in order?
Is this list supposed to be in reverse order? If so, I agree with Dexter being the #1. True Blood should be much higher. After reading the other comments: I'm an avid Doctor Who fan, but I agree that it isn't in the list, the title sequence isn't inspired enough. But Thunderbirds should be in the list, no questions asked! More

Posted by dansator on Saturday May 5, 2012, 15:25

14 RE: What?
It seems like a bit like a list of US cable shows at times- is that just an indication of more money and time spent on titles or just an indication of the normal UK slight over-reverence for US (cable) shows? It's difficult because you'd have to sit down and work out your own list - were I to do so, though, Dexter would certainly be there (the title sequence is a thing of brilliance). I completely agree on Game of Thrones being stunning (another take on the play on maps that's such a successful part of Aardman's Pirates). Rome's graffiti fest would also have a good shot, I'm very fond of Weeds sarcastic swipe at the suburbs, love Carnivale and empathise with the difficulty of choosing only one Wire (Blind Boys is on my Ipod playlist but show-wise I'd probably go for the kids in S4 as being the most apt). Best title song ever for me (as opposed to titles I guess) - still Red Dwarf. More

Posted by elab49 on Saturday May 5, 2012, 13:22

15 What?
How can you not include the Doctor Who title sequence in this? It has one of the most well known and recognisable themes to be heard on TV and looks so epic with the lightening and the vortex. Doctor Who's title sequences have always been good. More

Posted by Dalekbuster523 on Friday May 4, 2012, 18:46

16
The ones on the list are superb... But no opening in the history of television beats Cowboy Bebop's. More

Posted by JonatanKjellman on Friday May 4, 2012, 13:25

17 Don't forget the classics...
I totally agree with Dexter - I think that is one of the best title sequences of recent television drama, and you can tell because when I watch Dexter, I don't fast forward through it. However, you've missed Thunderbirds - the greatest opening sequence ever made. I challenge anyone to watch those titles and not get excited, and feel about 9 again! More

Posted by Rouski on Friday May 4, 2012, 12:50

18 Anime
Anime always has awesome openings that you never want to skip past. Some of my faves being Monster, Nana, Death Note and Lucky Star. Also, Twin Peaks! The music still gives me the creeps. More

Posted by wee_retty on Friday May 4, 2012, 12:07

19 And where's Quantum Leap, the A-Team, Airwolf and the Fall Guy?
More love for the 80s credits! More

Posted by loafroaster on Friday May 4, 2012, 12:01

20 Kyle COOPER!
Sorry. I really need to start reading the entire article before the comments section. Oh the shame! More

Posted by loafroaster on Friday May 4, 2012, 12:00

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