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 Men
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 Simpsons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Six Feet Under
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.

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

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

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

John Adams
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 Love
For a show about polygamy, a title sequence that is littered with metaphors and symbolism is an absolute must.

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

The Simpsons
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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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.

  1. 1

    Thanks guys, looks good!

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  2. 2

    Good inspirational topic. :)

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  3. 3

    Nice post. Missing Pushing Daisies in the list though. Weird though as it seems to look different in different countries. I really like the one here in the UK.

    Nice to see Fringe up there. Great props to Andrew of Videocopilot.net for that one. The guy’s a genius!! :-)

    Best wishes,

    Mark

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  4. 4

    Thanks. An often overlooked facet of design, with some very talented artist working in this field. Cheers

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  5. 5

    don’t forget “cacht me if you can” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVEgK3nCkao

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  6. 6

    @Mark Bowen, totally agree with the Fringe credits, the titles are awesome throughout the show :)

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  7. 7

    Weird, New York Times had a piece about movie title sequences this morning too: http://bit.ly/1aFgZq

    Perhaps title sequences are on the verge of getting some serious mass recognition. Regardless, great list!

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  8. 8

    big bang theory?? hellooo??? :)

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  9. 9

    Dexter is hands down the best title sequence on TV today :]

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  10. 10

    The opener to Australian mockumentary Summer Heights High is excellent too, good use of invisible edits.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4kJAbrtHxU

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  11. 11

    I really do love the double entendre featured in Dexter’s opening sequence!

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  12. 12

    Take a look at the opening for “PARKING WARS”

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  13. 13

    Great post! I’m missing Criminal Minds (great show) and especially Standoff, can’t find it on Youtube though.

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  14. 14

    What about the opening sequence for ReGenesis? I also think that Murdoch Mysteries has a great opening sequence, but I can’t find it online to share.

    Although a little older, the opening for Gunsmith Cats has a similar vibe to the Cowboy Bebop opening. Fitting, considering the shows both revolve around bounty hunters.

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  15. 15

    Here’s a whole archive of movie title sequences:

    http://www.artofthetitle.com/

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  16. 16

    I think the Dexter opening is the best :)

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  17. 17

    I love the True Blood titles and wont let my housemate skip through it when we watch!! Awesome bit of video work!

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  18. 18

    Good list, I really like the Entourage & Huff titles too.

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  19. 19

    My choices are the 1974 Doctor Who intro and the minimally delightful 24 intro.

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  20. 20

    This is really making me want to watch some tv shows..

    right now I want to watch, lost, prison break and nip/tuck…

    no problem.. of to surfthechannel i go!

    Nice post! :)

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  21. 21

    Glad some good anime was mentioned in there. I’m surprised Bleach wasn’t included though. I found it to be really good.

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  22. 22

    The IMDB link for The IT Crowd links to the wrong page (the show above it).

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  23. 23

    For the love of god, don’t publish a bunch of flash videos on the same page, the browsers become completely unresponsive. Link to them instead.

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  24. 24

    From the first time I saw it, I thought the Grey’s Anatomy original opening sequence (seasons 1) is beautiful.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrM1nb1U3f8

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  25. 25

    im kind of insulted at Futurama just being an honorable mention…especially since the sequence began airing in 1999.

    the Simpsons HD intro is great, no question; but I say Noir (anime) should get honorable mention for style

    otherwise kudos

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  26. 26

    You might take a look at the trailer from “Van vlees en bloed”. It’s a Flemish tv show about a butchery. And for those who might wonder; Dexter was first.
    Van vlees en bloed

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  27. 27

    Love Clone High!

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  28. 28

    @Andy – Same thing happened to me on my netbook :(

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  29. 29

    house md – love it! The new Simpsons suprised me the first time i saw it – but it was a little bit to long .. ^^ for the first time.

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  30. 30

    Am missing pushing daisies on this list, for the rest I agree, although in the past there were some beauties too, or is this nostalgia speaking (mcgyver ? ;) )

    grtz,
    T.

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  31. 31

    I really think Scrubs should be here. Nice list, though.

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  32. 32

    your missed the firefly title sequence http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjRDcOW7Xp8

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  33. 33

    Carnivàle and Six Feet Under are defenalty mine favorite.

    Dead like me also, looks awesome!

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  34. 34

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQFTzkwGFH8 Latvian movie Soviet Story has the same great titles!!!

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  35. 35

    I’m so disappointed you forgot others which are better than some of those.
    I think at the ever changing Weeds or The Wire with a good song.
    Remember also Oz…

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  36. 36

    Floris Fiedeldij Dop

    February 23, 2009 2:21 am

    I am in love with the opening of True Blood. I always play the music loud and enjoy watching it.

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  37. 37

    Dexter Season three!

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  38. 38

    Aww no prison break :S

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  39. 39

    One tip: The Kingdom by Lars Von Trier. After yoers it’s stil scary.

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  40. 40

    The title sequences for all 5 series of Hustle are amazing. Here is Season 5, although I think I prefer some of the earlier ones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOxYmEtrYaI

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  41. 41

    The page is loading slowly. I think you should consider creating a youtube playlist next time.

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  42. 42

    Hmmmm, you forgot Bleach! But I love the opening of True Blood and Dead Like Me

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  43. 43

    Six Feet Under is the best thing I’ve ever seen. If you’ve never seen it, get watching it now!

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  44. 44

    These guys (Digital Kitchen) http://www.d-kitchen.com/, did, as I recall since I couldn’t find it on their webpage, both House, Dexter and Six Feed Under. Can’t remember if they did more on the list, but they also made Ghost Whisperer intro, which is also really nice.

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  45. 45

    O right like The Wire doesn’t belong on the list psshffftt voted 1

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  46. 46

    Dexter has to be one of the best implied theme credits I have ever seen.

    It’s a shame you left out United States of tara.

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  47. 47

    Masters of horror !!

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  48. 48

    Okay, not a bad list. But honestly, how does the Scrubs intro not make this list? Not even honorable mention?

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  49. 49

    What about the RocknRolla intro, I love it! Great animation, great voice, great music..

    Link (www.youtube.com)

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  50. 50

    The Dexter title sequence is the best I’ve ever seen. Truely on great show…

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  51. 51

    most of which are hbo shows.

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  52. 52

    House & Dexter. Yup.

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  53. 53

    How about Steven Kings Kingdom Hospital
    And 1300 (i believe it was).

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  54. 54

    as for that bebop opening, its design is heavily influence on blue note jazz covers! the opening shows off each characters strong sillouhette and their distinctive body language and movements.

    samurai champloo is from the same production company, but the awful song really killed it for me. ill take the bebop intro anyday

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  55. 55

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQFTzkwGFH8 Latvian movie Soviet Story has the same great titles!!!

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  56. 56

    I was surprised to see LOST on your list. I agree that the show doesn’t need a title sequence and have no problem with its minimalist style, but they could have done a bit more with it. It’s very cheap – I could have created it myself! – and it’s poorly rendered – the edges of the ‘S’ break up for a split second and once you’ve seen that once you see it everytime. I think the show deserves better.

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  57. 57

    If you’re going to bend the rules and include a mini-series like John Adams, then I think a better choice would have been the Band of Brothers sequence, which is beautiful and moving.

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  58. 58

    I’ve always been a big fan of title sequences in (first) movies and now definitely TV shows. I think The Wire has a great sequence and a cool song in which a different performer records for each of the five seasons, definitely should have been up there! Dead Like Me was an awesome show with a great opening. I also really like House M.D. (cool song), True Blood (another great song and show), Deadwood and of course Flight of the Conchords. Where’s Friday Night Lights? One of the best TV shows ever, with a fantastic song that has a crescendo that’ll give you chills the more you watch it. Probably the only show I refuse to fast forward through the opening after watching it about 10 times – it’s a perfect set-up for the show. Great list though, really enjoyed it.

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  59. 59

    I always loved, loved, LOVED Carnivale. It gave me goosebumps. Great post!!

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  60. 60

    FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS – title sequence is beautiful – and updated when the panthers became State Champions!

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  61. 61

    How could you forget the X-Files credit sequence? There would be no Fringe credits without the XF.

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  62. 62

    Izabela Bogdanovic

    February 23, 2009 9:36 am

    Although I share your feelings about title sequences in general, I think your list is very very bad.

    Obviously, this is such an adolescent and a manly list…

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  63. 63

    I think the Weeds titles should have gotten at least an honorable mention. The visuals are okay, but the interaction between live action and typography is perfectly subtle. Not to mention that the theme song got covered by different artists for two seasons.

    And I agree with Bryan Parks, The X-Files titles deserves to be on this list.

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  64. 64

    I was upset to not see Penn and Teller’s Bullshit! on that list. As I recall they won an award for their title sequence.

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  65. 65

    Also, the opening credits for the TV show “Cheers” were pretty good as well.

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  66. 66

    Fags you forgot Battlestar Galactica

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  67. 67

    How could you not have weeds in here? The repetitiveness is unique and brilliant, and a new artist plays the song in a new rendition every show!

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  68. 68

    Don’t forget about “HUFF”. One of my all-time favs.

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  69. 69

    This work may be publicly available, but if you’re going to showcase it like this, at least provide credit. It would make the post more interesting/informative and give the studios and artists their due.

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  70. 70

    I would have liked to see some classics on there, like “Get Smart” or “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”.

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  71. 71

    I’m really glad Dexter was featured…when I saw the title of the article, Dexter was the first show I thought of. True Blood is another great one worth mentioning as well.

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  72. 72

    Yeah, dexter was the first that came to mind. I think cowboy bebop should of made the cut though, i love the music in the intro sequence.

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  73. 73

    Meh, not the best list in the world. As others have pointed out, with all the HBO shows on there your omission of “The Wire” is quite noticeable. It easily could have replaced “Rome” or “Deadwood,” neither of which I ever felt had particularly memorable opening sequences (I do like both of the shows though). I also agree with the person who said “Band of Brothers” over “John Adams” if you’re going to go with an HBO mini-series.

    Also, no “Law & Order?!?” That’s one of the most iconic opening sequences in television history… EVERYONE recognizes that one.

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  74. 74

    pretty good list, but if you’re rewarding simplicity, the arrested development title sequence should be on here. it perfectly introduces this complex comedy.

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  75. 75

    Dr. House is my favorite, but controvercial is a very smart and professional

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  76. 76

    Weeds? Come on guys! A great intro that’s not even on the honorable mention list?

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  77. 77

    The short lived show VR5 had a really crazy opening credit scene.

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  78. 78

    You forgot “the 4400″ intro
    I think it’s on the same level as carnivalle

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  79. 79
  80. 80

    TIM AND ERIC AWSOME SHOW GREAT JOB

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  81. 81

    yeah, what about Weeds???

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  82. 82

    you forgot boondocks… tsk tsk

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  83. 83

    I miss The Sopranos. What, no Thundercats!?

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  84. 84

    What?! how can you forget the best show in all time – OZ!?!?

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  85. 85

    How could you forget the Doctor Who theme?

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  86. 86

    similar to Mad Men: Hustle (BBC, original intro Season 1-4)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGyIDtBX7f0

    similar to The United States of Tara: S1ngles (Net5, Holland, kind of Sex and The City, based on a comic)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jU_Q-F-biU

    similar to Dexter: Van Vlees en Bloed (Of Flesh and Blood, één, Belgium, tv show about a family of butchers)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7V-vadXTaCs

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  87. 87

    And what about Dragon Ball Z in its last new episodie? :P

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  88. 88

    What about Cold Case, really like it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdrpY52VCUE

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  89. 89

    Not a huge fan of the show, but the intro for Without a Trace is really gorgeous: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXAJif3MC6Q

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  90. 90

    I did a post on this a while back. Six Feet Under is definitely my favorite. But you left out The Tudors on Showtime, which is my second favorite. Fantastic opening sequence with great music and imagery.

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  91. 91

    THE BIG BANG THEORY???? 0.O

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  92. 92

    Very long post, and some of the intros are not that good. The list would have been much better if it had featured only Top 10, rather than 20.

    Regards!

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  93. 93

    PS. The embedding of the Simpsons video has been disabled. It doesn’t work.

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  94. 94

    Left the best one out. Masters of Horror.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JS4Apd24auY&feature=related

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  95. 95

    You can judge a good show intro with if you watch it every time. Dexter, no doubt, is the most watchable intro ever. Glad Chuck made the honourable mentions… Other good ones are X-Files (spooky arm waving person) and Oz…

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  96. 96

    I often watch these things and wish the web looked more like tv…its only a matter of time i suppose

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  97. 97

    Seraphim Collective

    February 24, 2009 9:34 pm

    I vote for FRINGE AND HOUSE. :0)

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  98. 98

    In Italy some of the mentioned TV Show are unknown.
    Dexter title sequence is simply brilliant!

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  99. 99

    I agree about the Lost title sequence, personally i’m not a fan. I like minimalistic design, but this is poorly rendered.

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  100. 100

    Please, correct the link of the simpson’s video.

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  101. 101

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

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  102. 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.

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  103. 103

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

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  104. 104

    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.

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  105. 105

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

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  106. 106

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

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  107. 107

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

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  108. 108

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

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  109. 109

    Another vote for Weeds here!

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  110. 110

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

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  111. 111

    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.”

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  112. 112

    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).

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  113. 113

    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!

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  114. 114

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

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  115. 115
  116. 116

    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!

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  117. 117

    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

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  118. 118

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

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  119. 119

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

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

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  120. 120

    howcome chuck didnt make it… lame

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  121. 121

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

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  122. 122

    Rottencrotch through her pertty pink panties are over! ,

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  123. 123

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

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

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  124. 124

    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.

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  125. 125

    Don’t forget UFO (1969)

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  126. 126

    You missed the The Wire and Firefly…shameful.

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  127. 127

    For me:

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

    -1
    • 128

      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.

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  128. 129

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

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  129. 130

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

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