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Best TV Openings (of shows that are still around)

The opening credits of a TV show create a memorable little diddy that sets the tone of what the show is supposed to feel like. I personally find them very enjoyable and look forward to seeing them every week. However, networks have found that it’s more cost effective to cut back on the openings or just scrap them all together in favor of just flashing the title on the screen.

Though it saddens me that some networks (oh hi CW) don’t have any openings longer than 17 seconds, there are some that are steadfast in the true TV tradition of intros that are an integral part of any show. Here are what I believe to be the top 10 TV openings of shows that are still on the air.

10 – House

The Massive Attack song “Teardrop” works perfectly for these opening images. It’s moody, sophisticated (especially the part where the blood vessels elongate) and is simple. It’s a very “clean” opening, but really could have cut the shots of the hospital, river and cast. I don’t think it quite captures the mood of the show (which I would say isn’t as dark as the opening would suggest) but is still one of the best currently on TV.

9 – Fringe

Another FOX show, Fringe‘s opening credits are short yet perfectly capture the themes present in the show. The music along with the images of examples of “fringe” science help create a feeling that you really are pushing the limits of the imagination. Not to mention the logo at the end that seems to be reassembling itself is pretty badass.

For fun, take a look at the 80s opening of Fringe. One of the episodes was largely a flashback and hey, why not get a new opening to go along with it?

8 – Friday Night Lights

The music in FNL‘s opening is probably one of my favorites of any TV show because it is what the show is about. It makes you want to get out of your chair and cheer every time there’s a tackle. The opening is about the hope that football gives this small town… and it works.

7 – Justified

Raylan Givens is a badass. Thus, he needs a badass opening. Take some shadowed images of him in Eastern Kentucky, mix it with T.O.N.E.Z.’s “Long Hard Times to Come” and you get an intro that juxtaposes the modern with the classic western. And it’s awesome.

6 – Chuck

Chuck‘s opening is great because it’s like some sort of Bond reject which fits in perfectly with the show. You’ve got your everyday stick figure way over his head, but he can handle those ninjas! (Get it? Like Chuck?)

5 – CSI: NY

I would go as far as to say that CSI is one of my least favorite shows on TV. And now there’s three of them. Unfortunately, I’m a sucker for The Who, so any opening with Baba O’Reily is going to get me. Not to mention the mix of it that they do is pretty good.

4 – Dexter

This is Dexter. This is his mundane morning routine. Did I mention he’s a serial killer?

3 – United States of Tara

The reason I like USoT‘s theme so much is that there really isn’t anything like it currently on TV right now. Besides just being unique, who doesn’t like pop-up books? Those things were the king of my childhood. Toni Collette at the end is a bit creepy though.

2 – Caprica

The Caprica intro could be a cheesy mess, but it comes off a lot better than the sum of its parts. Yes, the part in the graveyard is dumb, especially with the giant “ADAMA” on the gravestone. But not only does it accurately visualize the factions of the show, but also the relationships between different characters. And the music is great.

1 – The Office

There is no other television intro where I can hum the entire opening song. If there’s a ringtone with The Office theme song, you know what it’s from. And that takes talent.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments!


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