While fast-forwarding through the opening title sequence of Entourage last night, I began wondering: Why do good shows produce such lousy intros? I find myself muting, skipping or changing the channel for 75 percent of most television shows. I feel like those 20 to 60 seconds is the most important part for the program (especially for antsy first time viewers), so why not spend a lot of time making it the best? Good intros get me amped and ready for what I am about to watch. Shouldn’t this motivation be the producer’s number one goal? That said, there are a handful of opening sequences that do it right. In no particular order, here are 10 intros that work for me.
Kenan and Kel
To understand just how time specific this opening is, take a minute and try to imagine a Nickelodeon show from today featuring Coolio rapping the intro… Doesn’t quite work, does it? Can’t really picture this man alongside this girl. It’s a shame too, I wish all opening titles featured one of his tunes.
Pee Wee’s Playhouse
After watching this intro for the first time in ten years, I came to the realization that the song is sung by Cyndi Lauper! Anyway, great show from my childhood. If you have never seen it, I suggest you get to it; surprisingly it still holds up. Also, I would like to take this as an opportunity to show you Pee Wee’s Crack PSA.
Freaks and Geeks
I am gonna go out on a limb here, and say that this is my all-time favorite intro. Within this 20 second clip, you learn more about the main characters just through their facial expressions than the entirety of some films (that comment was a little extreme but you catch my drift.) I pray that a Make-a-Wish-child asks that this show come back. I don’t care how old they all are–I need to see them together in one place. Franco, Rogen, Segal, Starr, Cardellini, Levine, and Daley… Come on Apatow, give the fans what they want.
After seeing this intro, it immediately brought to mind a mix between two opening sequences by graphic designer and filmmaker, Saul Bass. Check out the titles for Casino and Anatomy of a Murder. Interesting, no? There is no denying that the makers of Mad Men were heavily influenced by the late Bass. Anyway, I got nothing wrong with homages. Great sequence.
For some odd reason, I was unable to retrieve the intro from the most popular and longest lasting cartoon show in history. I am sure this little snippet will suffice, given that everyone reading this has to have seen at least one Simpsons episode in their lifetime… If not, I can only hope your excuse is that you don’t know what a television is.
Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Unlike the rest of the universe, I have never been a fan of the show itself, but I always get a kick out of baby Will Smith rapping. I really would like to see him re-create this introduction now. I think it could make for a youtube phenom.
Woke up this morning, Got yourself a gun. So what if it’s Jersey? Will still get you ready every time.
Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job
I have already devoted a whole post to Eric Wareheim, so I am going to hop off his junk for this one… I think the intro can explain itself.
Da Ali G Show
Wu Tang… Ali G keeps it real.
I have only watched a few episodes of Weeds… Don’t watch Showtime and don’t smoke weed. However, I really do dig the intro. It also seems that they allow different bands to cover the theme song each week. Great idea.
Tune in for Top 10 Film Title Sequences…