Now, when someone mentions well-known cartoon openings immediately The Flintstones, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or The Simpsons may come to mind. However, what about other intros that match in quality, but aren't as acknowledged? Despite having phenomenal visuals, music and tone they can be overlooked and unappreciated. Which intros am I referring to? These are openings that most of you heard in your childhood during the 90's and 00's. While a few are less than six years old.
10. Clone High
Clone High was a short-lived cartoon that aired on MTV for thirteen episodes from 2002-2003. The series was about historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Ark and Cleopatra being cloned and their teenage counterparts attending high school together. I've just watched this series, and after completing it I wished it had more episodes. The intro does a decent job of explaining the premise of the show and introducing us to the main cast. Meanwhile, the music is very reminiscent of 00's and the interloping scenes simply capture the show's satirically angsty, comedic and heartfelt atmosphere.
One of my personal favorites, Daria was another MTV cartoon that ran from 1996-2002. The show's sardonic protagonist Daria and her friend Jane endured the tortures of high school and home life but learned to embrace, or at least comprehend they're madness. The song "Standing on My Neck" is undeniably catchy and shows Daria's cynical mindset. Meanwhile, we get a glimpse into her life and see how much different she is compared to her peers, authority figures, and family.
8. The Cleveland Show
A spin-off of Family Guy, The Cleveland Show featured Cleveland and his new family living day to day life in Stoolbend, Virginia. It aired on Fox from 2009-2013. While I'm not a fan, I can say that this show has a great opening. We see Cleveland's surroundings and meet his new family and friends. The funky 70's music, vibe, and visuals meld perfectly together. It's definitely something that can get stuck in your head.
7. Bojack Horseman
Bojack Horseman is a Netflix show that's had two seasons and has a third one on the way. Premiering in 2014, this cartoon's led by Bojack Horseman a washed up, former sitcom actor who's looking to improve his public image and find himself spiritually. The intro transports us into the daily life of this complex character and shows us how bleak his life is despite the success he's achieved. What I also love about this opening is it's not the same each episode. Depending on what happens, and who is introduced they make their way in. It's also depressing seeing once important people in his life no longer there.
6. Danny Phantom
Ahhhh....This was my jam back in the day, no really, it was. Danny Phantom was a Nickelodeon cartoon about a boy who's half-ghost and a superhero. It was on from 2004-2007. The exposition is short and sweet, and we get to see Danny kicking butt. The rap is not only creative and catchy, but the background whispering and ahhhsss amplify the action in the scene. And the flashing, luminous colors from the ghost world contrast beautifully with the human world's dull and standard state.
5. Invader Zim
Another good, short-lived show, dammit! Invader Zim was a Nickelodeon classic about an alien named Zim who desired to conquer Earth, but frequently got caught up in its mellow drama and strange ways. Although this intro may not seem impressive; the angular art style, surreal atmosphere, and haunting, but pumping beat makes it fun and memorable.Anytime I watch this show the intro never fails to excite me.
4. Duck Dodgers
Duck Dodgers was based off the Daffy shorts from the 50's. This Cartoon Network program starred Daffy Duck a.k.a. Duck Dodgers as a space captain who's been frozen since the 24 1/2 century, and he's thawed centuries later to serve the Galatic Protectorate (alongside his cadet Porky). This series ran from 2003-2005. Personally, this opening reminds me of the James Bond movie intros from the 70's. The music sounds from that era (hell, Tom Jones is singing) and there's interloping scenes of Duck Dodgers in action and scoring some babes. I also admire how the scenes switch from concept art to animatics.
3. Beetlejuice #2
The cartoon was inspired by Beetlejuice the movie and ran from 1989-1991 on ABC and Fox Kids. The show was about Beetlejuice and Lydia going on misadventures together and things go awry. Now, if you know Beetlejuice you know he's crazy, spontaneous and wallows in chaos. And this intro completely embodies that character. Composer Danny Elfman creates a creepy melody to accompany this zany and wild rollercoaster ride. We zoom from Lydia's dimension to various intervals of Beetlejuice's realm and meet some of the characters.
2. Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes was on Disney XD from 2010-2012. Partially based off the Avengers comics from the 60's, this team of superheroes battled evil-doers and fought for the greater good of humanity. Frankly, the intro is all loads of awesomeness. First, we witness this powerful image of Tony standing in the darkness and viewing the calamity unfold outside, and then we see all of the Avengers gearing up and coming together. The formulaic success of this opening is due to its adrenaline rushing theme song, well-paced action, and phenomenal animation.
Cybersix aired on Fox Kids for one season in 1999. A spin-off of a comic series of the same name, the series was about an escaped genetic experiment who's chased down by her creators' monsters who were sent to destroy her. During this opening I felt I was beside Cybersix, as she jumped from rooftop to rooftop, fought baddies and dived off a building. Not only that, but I adore how it unfolds a story and shows Cybersix's double life. If that weren't enough, the animation is top-notch and the music is beautifully somber.
So, despite these shows having great openings why are they under the radar? I believe it's partially due to the fact most of these cartoons had a limited TV life-span, thus not too many people are familiar of them. Another factor is these programs (at the time being, with the exception of Daria) aren't as iconic as other programs like The Simpsons, Scooby-Doo or GI-Joe who have memorable intros. Although, I believe as time goes on these shows will be recognized and appreciated more. Then in return, their intros will become as famous as the ones I previously talked about. However, despite not being as well known they're still incredible openings.