About a year ago we published a list of the ten best TV show intros (click here to catch up) , and a fun time was had by all. As expected we were hit up by a number of suggestions of shows that could’ve been included, and we knew there was plenty of other material for another list. If you haven’t worked it out by now, we wrote another list.
#10 – Ulysses 31
A science-fiction re-imagining of the classic Homer poem from Ancient Greece The Odyssey? Sounds good. Created by a Japanese anime studio? Could work. If only we had an 80s power ballad to kick things off…
#9 – Monkey
Australian and some British readers will be feeling a nostalgic tingle right about now…everyone else will be wondering what the living frack they just watched. In the late 1970s a Japanese television studio produced a serial based on the Chinese fable ‘Journey to the West’. You get a taste of things with this intro. It was full of insane fight scenes, completely madcap characters and some surprisingly creative special effects. When it was dubbed into English for the UK and Australia market it somehow struck a chord with Australian youths and was repeated on alternative channels for almost twenty years. Part of the reason was this intro:
#8 – Six Feet Under
A television drama about a family dealing with the death of their father while working in a mortuary is a hard sell, especially with some of the confronting issues they dealt with. The tone of the show switched from heavy drama, exploration of taboos, black humor and emotionally driven character development in every episode. Also worth noting is that every single episode started with a person – usually a stranger – dying. The introduction reflects the bitter-sweet feel of the show while layering in enough symbolism to keep film students busy for hours (I know this to be a fact, I keep assigning it for study).
#7 – Dragonball Z
I personally did not get into this show…it turned up in the Western world when I’d out grown watching Saturday morning cartoons (something that got reversed the moment Darkwing Dark came out on DVD) but that doesn’t I didn’t love the bat-shit crazy intro. Rock the dragon.
#6 – Deadwood
Using a montage of close-ups has become downright commonplace in the current market, and with good reason. Deadwood provides an exceptional example, painting a picture that is a million miles away from the romanticized concept of the Old West that used to be popular on television.
#5 – Batman Beyond
Batman: The Animated Series featured a great intro, but it was straight forward. Batman apprehends some criminals in an awesome fashion backed by Danny Elfman’s score. It’s not like we needed much convincing to watch Batman anyway. Batman Beyond was a much tougher sell, going outside of the established canon and introducing a much younger Batman in the future. It worked beyond many viewers expectations and part of the sell was the highly stylized and surreal opening sequence.
#4 – The Muppet Show
Funk Jr. watches The Muppet Show, or one of their movies, every day. The fact that the theme song and intro sequence is still awesome after all those viewings says something.
#3 – Mad Men
It’s been talked about endlessly but with good reason. It’s short, bold and effective.
#2 – The Outer Limits/The Twilight Zone
Two very similar shows with very similar introductions. From the golden age of science fiction they were both anthology shows, each episode telling a unique and self contained story with a twist at the end. The Twilight Zone was easily the best of the two, and has an awesome intro that most people have seen referenced or spoofed, or just heard the music, without having seen the show. The Outer Limits makes great use of a fourth wall breaking introduction that stands the test of time, and is the better opening sequence.
Also…THE SCARY DOOR!
#1 – Game of Thrones
Many of you may have expected this, and with good reason. Not only is it an impressive and creative piece of animation in it’s own right but it speaks volumes about the show that it is preceding. ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ is a complex and finely detailed book series with thousands of characters across a wide landscape. This map themed introduction not only provides a meticulous map of the land with clockwork models of the cities but a history of the major houses that feature in the story. When the model of the sun flashes upon the screen the animals of each house (stag, direwolf, dragon, lion) are depicted in murals that tell a story about their past conflicts. Even more impressive is the way the map updates to include different parts of the world as the story expands to include them. Amazing viewing every time.
BONUS ENTRY – The Walking Dead Fan Intro
Unlike most fan made credit sequences, which are basically one show’s credits done in the style of another (usually Firefly), this is a completely original piece. It was created and posted before the show aired and is easily better than the one that was used. Nicely animating the artwork from the original comic in time with a well chosen piece of music – the producers missed out when they overlooked this.