One of the things that I enjoy about watching TV with my ten-year-old is that children’s programming (especially on Nickelodeon) still has theme songs and opening sequences.  ‘Sam & Cat’, for instance, has a song that evokes the sitcoms of the 70s, with a clever modern twist, whereas most network shows have eschewed the concept entirely.  I sort of like the quickie stinger open of ‘How I Met Your Mother’, but miss the days where you had time to get a soda and some chips when ‘Love Boat’ came on, because the credits would take a good three minutes of screen time.  I understand WHY the change has taken place, and would rather have less opening sequence than less story, but it’s still hard not to lament it as a loss, if admittedly a minor one, which leads us to today’s expository query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is quite partial to the opening of ‘The Prisoner’, which was not just the show open, but also the first moments of the first episode and somehow also the last moments of the last episode (it’s complicated), askIng: What’s your favorite television opening sequence of all time?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. Doctor Dinosaur
    June 22, 2014 at 12:49 pm — Reply

    That’s a very “Stephen” header image. I would have bet my teeth you would have done one with The Prisoner.

    The Game Of Thrones opening is amazing. The Simpsons is a classic and so was The X-Files.

    I feel like The Wire’s intros were highly overrated, not the show just the intros. I’d say the True Detective opening is/was underrated. The show was great but I think a lot of the initial curiosity could be traced back to that very well done opening.

    The greatest opening of all time (for my money) is of course the punky/gothy Buffy The Vampire Slayer opening which gains a lot from it’s tempo and the theme song by Nerf Herder. It’s also pure nostalgia for me. I would however also mention Batman The Animated Series as having an opening on that same high level. Great music, it sets THE mood, it’s uncomplicated and it’s immediately recognizable.

    Honourable mention: The opening to “Louie” has a random passersby flip the bird to the camera. I know a lot of people don’t notice it but Louie sure does. I just love that it not only happened but that they kept it in. It just couldn’t be more fitting for a show like that.

  2. June 22, 2014 at 2:02 pm — Reply

    The opening to “Highlander: The Series” at any given point in the series. It sets the show up quickly, most seasons giving the basic premise of who Duncan MacLeod is, what Immortals are and why they have to go around beheading each other before going in to a shortened version of the awesome Queen song “Princes of the Universe” from the original “Highlander” film.

  3. Arbor Day
    June 22, 2014 at 3:27 pm — Reply

    The Adventures of Pete & Pete.

  4. rob
    June 22, 2014 at 3:37 pm — Reply

    If you need help and if you can find them maybe you ca hire The A Team!
    Or Danger Mouse.
    Or Original BSG.
    Hmm, am I showing my age with this one?

  5. Ron
    June 22, 2014 at 6:11 pm — Reply
  6. Clubberlang6
    June 22, 2014 at 6:57 pm — Reply

    Opening of the cosby show where everyone dances!!!¡!!!

  7. Oldcomicfan
    June 23, 2014 at 7:25 am — Reply

    Going all the way back to the sixties, I always liked the opening to The Wild Wild West – the screen would divide up into a grid, and before and after each commercial break, one of the panels would reveal a scene from the episode, hinting at what might happen next. Compared to the canned openings of all other shows, this was unique. But stepping forward a decade, it was hard to beat the opening to the original Battlestar Galactica… image a time when we didn’t know if there would be any more Star Wars movies, Star Trek hadn’t revived yet, and here comes this show, with a great fanfare, the voice of “John Steed” spouting dramatic neo-mythic drivel, all sorts of interesting spaceships flying past, and quick shots of the cast, including quite a few ladies who were not hard on the eyes…. Pity the episodes themselves rarely lived up to the dramatic opening. Glen Larson would try the same formula with the opening of Buck Rogers and other TV shows, but they all seemed cheap and cynical imitations…

  8. June 23, 2014 at 12:53 pm — Reply

    Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley, Good Times and Rawhide from my younger days, cartoon wise Harvey Birdman and Cowboy Bebop have great intros and I don’t even watch Cowboy Bebop. The Twilight Zone was pretty awesome. Current programming, True Detective. The Simpsons. Family Guy does a good job of borrowing from All In the Family…and most every show ever made, LOL.

    • June 23, 2014 at 5:06 pm — Reply

      My favorite Family Guy openings are the variants where something happens and the song and dance number is interrupted. I always have a bit of a giggle fit when those air.

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