In the past few years, many shows have been defined by their opening credits sequences. In many classic films from the '60s and back, you will see that opening credits sequences were long and as much apart of the movie as the actual film itself. In fact, many films had other short films or live shows as an introduction! That changed as film and TV became more widely available to audiences around the world, and the audience's patience grew thinner and thinner for lengthy content before the main show. In the mid 2000s, opening credits began to make a smashing comeback with shows like HBO's True Blood.
Even earlier than True Blood was the Friends opening sequence, which every person in America can probably explain and quote second for second. These opening credits gave us mere seconds before nostalgia came coursing through our veins! Proving this: opening credits develop a relationship between the show and its viewer. It causes an emotional reaction that entices the viewer to keep watching, even when they have no idea what follows. This all in all ups the chances of the show's success, so of course networks began competing to create the perfect opening sequence!
They started to realize that audiences were, in fact, very taken with an interesting opening sequence, and the sequence prevented them from pushing the forward button or changing the channel. The opening sequence became more than just a moment to salute the actors and crew, it became a story before the story, a prequel of such to the show you were about to watch that becomes no less interesting the thirtieth time you've watched it than the first.
Now, True Blood wasn't the pioneer of this new generation of opening credits, but it was a landmark. Since its 2008 premiere, HBO, Starz, and even CBS and NBC have all taken the hint and given viewers an emotionally riveting title sequence to rile them up for the epic show to follow.
Here are my top 10 opening credit sequences on TV right now, no show synopsis included! For viewers who haven't seen some of these shows and don't know what they are about, are you intrigued?
Better yet, can you guess the plot of these shows just from watching the opening credits? WATCH CLOSELY!
1. 'The Shannara Chronicles' (MTV)
Based on the novels of the same name, Shannara's opening sequence is dark and mystical. Can you guess where the show is set just from watching the opening credits?
2. 'Game of Thrones' (HBO)
Probably the most widely known out of this list, I must admit, I never forward the opening credits, I could watch them over and over, and still learn something new.
3. 'The 100' (The CW)
One of the more underrated show on TV right now (seriously, you should be watching), this opening sequence always gets me pumped for the show to follow, and I love the music. What do you think the show is about just from watching the opening credits?
4. 'Daredevil' (Netflix)
Daredevil's opening credits earned it a lot of attention when its first season premiered last year. Netflix revealed that it has looked at several other opening sequences, but the beautiful melting wax of Hell's Kitchen took the prize. Also, the theme song = perfection.
5. 'Shameless' (Showtime)
Shamless's opening credits are like watching a scene straight from the show. I'll bet you can give me a show synopsis without even having watched the show after this opening credits sequence.
6. 'The Walking Dead' (AMC)
Many fans will probably tell you these opening credits are their favorite on TV. Each season the opening credits sequence changes slightly, with new desolate images hinting at where the cast currently reside, but with the same feel and theme song.
7. 'Downton Abbey' (PBS)
I had this theme song as my ringtone for so long, whenever I hear the music, I get such a warm feeling inside. Downton's ominous opening sequence gives you a peek into the world you are about to dive into, what kind of people do you think the show is about just by watching?
8. 'New Girl' (CBS)
How could they not have Zooey Deschanel sing to open the show she created? Her voice is like silk on your eardrums. Zooey's cute quirky self is front and center in this short but adrokable opening sequence that she herself wrote. In fact, I started watching the show ONLY after seeing this opening sequence, and thought, yeah, I need to watch that.
9. 'American Horror Story' (Fox)
The intro to AHS is something straight out of your worst fears. If they don't make you curious about the show, something is wrong with you. They change every season to fit the theme, so we are introduced to new terrifying images every time! In fact, the intro is way scarier than the show itself.
10. 'True Detective' (HBO)
This show had two very different opening sequences from its first to second season. Both were good, but I personally prefer its most recent second season's opening. What can you take from the opening sequence to deduce what the show is actually about?
Notable Mention: 'Making a Murderer' (HBO)
People everywhere not only had opinions about the show, but its opening credits sequence, which many said reminded them of True Detective or Game of Thrones. It is pretty impressive for a documentary!
Even podcasts' opening sequences are being made into productions, and working. Just look at Serial!
Some pretty epic stuff, right? They are like mini movies of their own! While many of these shows are popular, I'm sure there are a couple you may not have seen, so the question is: do the opening credits make you want to watch them? Did you understand the story behind the shows you do watch just from the opening sequence? The fact that most of these shows are hugely popular productions suggests that a catchy opening has a lot to do with bringing an audience in, and how they judge the show's quality. I'll be the first to admit it does for me!