20 Brilliant TV Show Title Sequences

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Since the advent (and in turn, massive success) of “TV on DVD”, television programming has really upped the ante in production value. Now-a-days it seems every show is presented in glorious high definition with big name actors and well-structured story telling. But there is another significant improvement in television over the last few years that could use some recognition: the title sequence.

Long gone are the days of cheesy video montages involving “memorable” moments from seasons past, coupled with tacky music you can’t get out of your head… yes I’m looking at you, Golden Girls.

Today, the credit sequences on television are so visually pleasing that even though we possess the technology to skip past them, we don’t. They’re that captivating. It is in recognition of these amazing television title sequences that we’ve compiled our favorite 20 Brilliant TV Show Title Sequences.

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20 Brilliant TV Show Title Sequences

Mad Men5
This is probably my favorite title sequence on television at the moment. Every time I watch it, it leaves me wanting more. It was also hilariously parodied on the Simpsons6.

The United States of Tara7
A new show with a beautifully animated title sequence. The pop-up book effect is really well done.

The IT Crowd8
Such a fantastic title sequence! The 8-bit style animation no doubt speaks to the shows demographic.

Fringe9
It’s amazing how captivating a 20 second title sequence can be. This one really draws you in.

House MD10
The title sequence for “House M.D.” is simply beautiful. The imagery and music work so well together.

Dexter11
A dark and clever title sequence that sums up the tone of the show beautifully.

True Blood12
A masterfully made title sequence that really throws you into the creepy world the show has created.

Nip/Tuck13
Love this title sequence! The symbolism used is both brilliant and creepy at the same time.

Clone High14
Clone High’s title sequence is so well made, it rivals any live action show out there.

Desperate Housewives15
Say what you will about the show itself, there’s no denying it has a pretty cool title sequence. The animation is great.

Flight of the Conchords16
If you’ve ever seen this show, it’s only appropriate for the title sequence to feel like a music video.

Carnivàle17
A brilliantly animated title sequence that brings tarot cards to life.

The Sopranos18
Though a fairly simple title sequence, this remains one of my all time favorites.

Samurai Champloo19
The colors, imagery and typography all work together beautifully in this title sequence.

Six Feet Under20
The title sequence for “Six Feet Under” is beautifully shot and at the same time sets up the tone and premise of the show perfectly.

Lost21
For a show like Lost that is so reliant on instant gratification, this minimalist title sequence works perfectly to keep up the momentum.

Deadwood22
The title sequence for Deadwood will bring you back to the old west faster than you can say “sarsaparilla”.

Rome23
A wonderfully animated title sequence. The effect of the wall paintings coming to life is perfectly executed.

John Adams24
Though bending the rules a little to include a mini-series, we would be remiss to include John Adams’ powerful title sequence in this list.

Big Love25
For a show about polygamy, a title sequence that is littered with metaphors and symbolism is an absolute must.

Dead Like Me26
The title sequence for the “late” Dead Like Me perfectly captured the dark humour of the show.

The Simpsons27
After 20 years, the Simpsons have fully revamped their famous animated title sequence for their transition into high definition.

Honorable Mentions

There were so many titles we wanted to include in this list but didn’t quite make the cut for one reason or another.

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Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/12/31/50-incredible-stop-motion-videos/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/12/19/30-unforgettable-movie-title-sequences/
  3. 3 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/16/60-beautiful-music-videos/
  4. 4 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/01/21/monday-inspiration-brilliant-music-videos/
  5. 5 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0804503/
  6. 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcmM7Jh2Y3k
  7. 7 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1001482/
  8. 8 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1001482/
  9. 9 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1119644/
  10. 10 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0412142/
  11. 11 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0773262/
  12. 12 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0844441/
  13. 13 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0361217/
  14. 14 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0305011/
  15. 15 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0410975/
  16. 16 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0863046/
  17. 17 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319969/
  18. 18 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0141842/
  19. 19 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0423731/
  20. 20 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0248654/
  21. 21 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0411008/
  22. 22 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0348914/
  23. 23 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0814164/
  24. 24 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0472027/
  25. 25 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0421030/
  26. 26 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0348913/
  27. 27 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096697/
  28. 28 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0934814/
  29. 29 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0193676/
  30. 30 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0904208/
  31. 31 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0814164/
  32. 32 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0149460/
  33. 33 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478942/
  34. 34 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0213338/
  35. 35 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/12/31/50-incredible-stop-motion-videos/
  36. 36 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/12/19/30-unforgettable-movie-title-sequences/
  37. 37 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/16/60-beautiful-music-videos/
  38. 38 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/01/21/monday-inspiration-brilliant-music-videos/

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Andrew Lindstrom is a freelance web designer, blogger and inspiration junkie. Say hi to him on Twitter or read his ramblings on his design inspiration blog at WellMedicated.com.

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  1. 1

    The lie to me opening scene is pretty cool too. I like the music for it :)

    0
  2. 102

    Dexter is the best by far, so creepy. Even though it wasn’t around for very long, I really liked “John from Cincinnati” and it’s title sequence.

    0
  3. 203

    Dexter really still brings me standing arm-hair. The intro completely covers the content. Really looking forward to Season 4!

    0
  4. 304

    Great list! The Flight of the Conchords intro is great, especially if you have seen the show and know the inside jokes. I kinda like the 1st season’s titles better though.

    0
  5. 405

    “Huff” i one of my fav (as other people already said)… her it is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_WFWIjnAFk

    0
  6. 506

    Ohh.. You so forgot about “Lie to me” intro!

    0
  7. 607

    I second the TIM AND ERIC AWSOME SHOW GREAT JOB tite sequence!!

    1
  8. 708

    I like the “Medium” intro. It works well with the music.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yi70mziBV2s

    0
  9. 809

    Another vote for Weeds here!

    0
  10. 910

    wow, I just love the new simpsons title sequence. In germany there is still the old one on tv :(

    0
  11. 1011

    There are a few that got the shaft…

    1 – ALF: I know what you’re thinking…ALF? You’re nuts. I think ALF is worth being on this list more than Deadwood because even Milch said, of Deadwood’s title sequence, “Nobody can explain the horse to me. It’s just there…” ALF, on the other hand, is great because the show is looking at suburban family life through the eyes of an Alien. The intro is of ALF shooting the family through a camcorder. What better way to convey the message of the quirky show in a quirky way?

    2 – A Different World: I was pretty surprised this wasn’t on there. The continual shot going through all the various characters as they related to college life was a great way to open the show and ending with the characters throwing their graduation caps in air was a fitting end.

    3 – He-Man: Okay just kidding…it’s just too funny to have the main character explain the whole show and all the characters to you. It was basically redone for the original title sequence for “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

    0
  12. 1112

    I thought I was going to be cutting edge here, but it looks like people have already mentioned the absence of one I expected to find here: “Huff”

    Huff is an easy one to overlook because the show was relatively short-lived, but it is absolutely beautiful. I was designing full time when the show was airing, and it was the beauty of the title sequence that first caught my eye. Turned out to be a great show, too.

    Haha, just looking over the comments some more… I’ll throw a vote toward TIM AND ERIC AWESOME SHOW GREAT JOB, too (if you’re into that sort of thing, which I am).

    1
  13. 1213

    Great list – love the fact that you included the wonderful DEAD LIKE ME!

    2 other suggestions though – Scrubs (which has been mentioned) and if you’re going to include John Adams, i think the opening sequence to ANGELS IN AMERICA is so brilliantly stunning and haunting and deserves recognition. But otherwise, great list!

    0
  14. 1314

    Brilliant title sequence from a political show in Hungary from the ’80s, Panorama. Music by Tangerine Dream (Choronzon).

    0
  15. 1415
  16. 1516

    How about “Twin Peaks” …one of the first TV shows that I could remember that set the atmosphere with music and imagery without using clips from the show…in a time when every show was doing it. Great list though!

    0
  17. 1617

    True Blood Main Title Sequence
    Client: HBO
    URL: http://www.d-kitchen.com/project.php?p=128

    DK Credits:
    Creative Directors: Matt Mulder, Rama Allen. Live Action Direction: Rama Allen, Morgan Henry, Matthew Mulder, Matt Clark, Tevor Fife; Designers: Rama Allen, Shawn Fedorchuck, Ryan Gagnier, Matthew Mulder, Camm Rowland, Ryan Rothermel, Jacques Broquard; Compositor: Ryan Gagnier; Editor: Shawn Fedorchuck; Producers: Morgan Henry, Kipp Christiansen, Keir Moreano; ECD Paul Mattheaus; EP: Mark Bayshore

    0
  18. 1718

    I miss the sequence of “How I met your mother”, I think that one is very brilliant

    0
  19. 1819

    What about “Kingdom Hospital” by Stephen King. Awesome!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_Rk2NouHiY

    0
  20. 1920

    howcome chuck didnt make it… lame

    0
  21. 2021

    Why are the credits removed from the Six Feet Under video? The type is the best part!

    0
  22. 2122

    Rottencrotch through her pertty pink panties are over! ,

    0
  23. 2223

    All 103 still images from The Big Bang Theory opening sequence:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/79495638@N00/sets/

    1
  24. 2324

    Alas the inventiveness of BBC;s “Doctor Who” original title sequence and music was missed. Arguably the most inventive of all time, for it;s time.

    2
  25. 2425

    Don’t forget UFO (1969)

    0
  26. 2526

    You missed the The Wire and Firefly…shameful.

    0
  27. 2627

    For me:

    Carnivale
    True Blood
    Dexter
    Six Feet Under
    Weeds
    Tim & Eric (lol)
    United States Of Tara
    Twin Peaks

    -1
    • 2728

      The weeds title sequence is horribly executed. Look close at the background elements. Whoever was the compositor did a half ass job and didn’t take the time to properly roto the runners. A high school kid could do a better job.

      0
  28. 2829

    Damages’ title sequence should be on this list as well. The cinematography as well as the song is amazing.

    1
  29. 2930

    who did the title sequence for the IT crowd, Anyone know?

    0

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