As a follow up to my earlier post, here are a few more TV title sequences that I always enjoy;
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (2019)
This has to be one of my fave TV shows in recent years, and is one of the rare TV spinoffs that is just as good (or better?) than the movie it is based on. Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi‘s hilarious concept, of a sadsack brood of vampires sharing a house, works well in an episodic format, the show has a brilliant cast, funny writing, and appropriately for this post, a great title sequence and theme tune by Norma Tanega:
THE TWILIGHT ZONE (1959)
I didn’t grow up with this show and didn’t know about it until after the movies and remakes had come out, but it felt familiar as soon as I finally saw it. Probably because so much of what came after, that I did grow up with, had been influenced by this classic series. Rod Serling‘s magnificent achievement is that he managed to smuggle weighty themes onto mainstream TV, thinly disguised as creepy sci-fi.. There have been many versions of the title sequence over the decades, and you can watch them all here:
ADVENTURE TIME (2010)
‘A boy & his dog in a post apocalyptic world’ doesn’t sound half as much fun as this show manages to be, nor as genuinely sweet and magical. The title sequence is full of what seemed to be random kooky imagery in the first season, but all of it wound up as plot elements in the sheries itself eventually, which charmed me. Title sequence as backstory/series outline.
THE ROCKFORD FILES (1974)
Title sequences that simply used photographs were common in the 1970s (another example from the same era is THE SWEENEY) but my fave would have to be this one. Combined with its catchy theme tune, and the unique voicemail messages at the start of each title (that sketched out the fly-by-night existence of Jim Rockford) and you have a classic title sequence from a great 1970s show.
THE PRISONER (1967)
This is another classic show that I’d heard about my whole life, but only recently watched all the way through. It is every bit as good as people say it is. This series can be thought of as a possible sequel to Patrick McGoohan‘s genre defining spy show that ran from 1960-68 DANGER MAN (AKA “Secret Agent”) but works equally well as a standalone mini series. The title sequence sets up the backstory, when a mystery man quits his job at an intelligence agency..
THE SOPRANOS (1999)
David Chase had worked in TV for 20 years – writing on “Kolchak: The Night Stalker, “The Rockford Files” and other classic series – before creating the show that he is best known for. I resisted watching it at first, thinking that I’d already seen more than enough gangster stories to last a lifetime. But I was hooked after the first few minutes of the very first episode, proving that a new viewpoint is often all that’s needed to freshen up a tired genre. A vaguely menacing tune accompanies an average shlub, driving (from a mob meeting? or a therapy appointment?) to his suburban home, and finally revealing the protagonist.. A perfect intro to one of the best TV series of its time.
Star Trek (1966)
“Space: the final frontier...” An iconic VoiceOver by William Shatner accompanied by an equally iconic theme tune begin an iconic title sequence that somehow distills a certain 1960s can-do optimism.
This is one of my favorite shows over the past few years. A dark, dramatic (& surprisingly funny) retelling of the clash of cultures that resulted when the Roman Empire’s second invasion of Celtic Britain was ultimately successful in 43AD. The 3 seasons so far have unique title sequences, each using a different Donovan 1960s tune as the theme music. Druid death-magic meets the imperial violence of Roman legions, a trippy cocktail that’s somehow perfectly evoked in these psychedelic title sequences.
Don’t forget to check THE ART OF THE TITLE to search for your own faves.