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

    most of which are hbo shows.

    0
  2. 52

    House & Dexter. Yup.

    0
  3. 103

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

    0
  4. 154

    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

    0
  5. 205

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

    0
  6. 256

    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.

    0
  7. 307

    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.

    0
  8. 358

    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.

    0
  9. 409

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

    0
  10. 460

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

    0
  11. 511

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

    0
  12. 562

    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…

    0
  13. 613

    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.

    0
  14. 664

    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.

    0
  15. 715

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

    0
  16. 766

    Fags you forgot Battlestar Galactica

    0
  17. 817

    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!

    1
  18. 868

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

    0
  19. 919

    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.

    0
  20. 970

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

    1
  21. 1021

    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.

    0
  22. 1072

    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.

    0
  23. 1123

    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.

    0
  24. 1174

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

    0
  25. 1225

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

    0
  26. 1276

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

    0
  27. 1327

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

    0
  28. 1378

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

    0
  29. 1429
  30. 1480

    TIM AND ERIC AWSOME SHOW GREAT JOB

    1
  31. 1531

    yeah, what about Weeds???

    0
  32. 1582

    you forgot boondocks… tsk tsk

    0
  33. 1633

    I miss The Sopranos. What, no Thundercats!?

    0
  34. 1684

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

    0
  35. 1735

    How could you forget the Doctor Who theme?

    0
  36. 1786

    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

    0
  37. 1837

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

    0
  38. 1888

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

    0
  39. 1939

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

    0
  40. 1990

    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.

    0
  41. 2041

    THE BIG BANG THEORY???? 0.O

    1
  42. 2092

    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!

    0
  43. 2143

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

    0
  44. 2194

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

    0
  45. 2245

    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…

    0
  46. 2296

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

    0
  47. 2347

    Seraphim Collective

    February 24, 2009 9:34 pm

    I vote for FRINGE AND HOUSE. :0)

    0
  48. 2398

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

    0
  49. 2449

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

    0
  50. 2500

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

    0

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