Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dice in the Mirror

I was recently told that the opening credits to Boardwalk Empire were the best credits ever.

I respected that opinion, but I didn't agree. They're beautiful and intriguing, but in the course of my viewing history, I've been more enthralled. Most recently the title sequence that has fascinated my most is United States of Tara. I just think they are well crafted visuals. And they set the complex dynamic of the show up beautifully.

This conversation got me thinking about various TV themes. As you may know, I'm slightly.... involved with my TV watching habits. And I thought there was something to be said here—because while Boardwalk Empire doesn't really do it for me, there are some intros that I simply can't flip past.

Opening credits have the opportunity to say and do a lot. Whether it's the morbid curiosity of TrueBlood and Dexter. The haunting melody of the X-Files. Or the ability to set the scene with two simple notes on Law & Order.

That said, here's some of my favorite themes/credits*:
M*A*S*H. The somber melancholy of Suicide is Painless is impossible to ignore. I think it is the perfect opening cue for this series.

CheersCome on, we all want to go where everybody knows our name. Back in the early '90s when the show was syndicated, my dad and I used to watch this show every night after dinner. There's something wildly comforting about Gary Portnoy's theme song.

Weeds (season 1)Very often this song crawls inside my head and makes itself comfortable for days. I know Little Boxes isn't an original creation for Weeds, it's just such an appropriate set-up to this less than appropriate show.

Fresh Prince. I love a theme that re-sets the show premise up week after week. There's just no way to not dance and sing along to this. It's a perfect 1990 time capsule. I mean, seriously— Will Smith? Dig it. 

Mad Men. This show is praisable for some many reasons. But what I love about the opening credits is how they reincarnate the visual identity of an era. The song is eerie and the man's downward spiral has you nervous and enraptured all at once.

Dawson's Creek. It's not a particularly great opening. But the second we all here "I don't want to waaiit....!" we know we can settle down for an excellent 46 minutes of television. When they replaced the theme song in seasons 3 through 6 for the dvd release, they pretty much ruined the whole series.

Step by Step. Hello TGIF! It's just so nostalgic. The clarity with which I remember this opening is somewhat frightening.

The Nanny. Not going to lie. Still know all the words to this song too. Another great show-setter-upper. It used to crack me up when they would pan the camera over to Gracie and she'd be too short to be seen. Oh man, the '90s were so clever. 

Big Bang Theory. Bringing us back to today.... Here's a theme that might actually teach us something. But first I must learn all the words. I'm still working on it. 

Dudes, I could do this all night. But please, let me know what your favorite title sequence memories are! I know I'm not the only TV junkie (/lunatic).

*Keep in mind, I'm not saying these are the best ever, just ones that over the years I have formed a connection to.


  1. I love the Family Matters theme song. And also Punky Brewster (also by Gary Portnoy of Cheers fame)!

    1. Oh man, carl winslow. And there was always that sister with the dollhouse that like vanished from the show. Well--if we're going to reminisce TGIF.... Full House needs a mention too! All those crazy uncles!

  2. Weeds season 1 is definitely at the top of the list. Big Bang Theory is good, but watching it makes me queasy...too much movement. Some of my favorites not on your list are The Golden Girls (duh) and Blossom! In fact, I'm on my way to youtube to watch them both.

    1. Golden Girls ALMOST made the list. I have a strong affinity towards the song (because of you) but not so much in associating it with the show credits, so I opted to leave it off. I'll have to check out Blossom again. All I'm envisioning is a hat with a big flower!!

      You know what other show that I think is a perfect opening for their series... Freaks and Geeks! Everyone did so good exhibiting their character in that half a second shot! That'll have to make List 2.0.