We all have our favourite TV shows, but what about our favourite TV title sequences? There’s something so satisfying about a show with a good opening – here are four of the best examples…
Daljinder Johal: Mad Men
The cult show Mad Men may have finished, but its animated opening sequence – created and produced by Imaginary Forces – is cool and sophisticated enough to be as iconic as the show.
Set to RJD2’s jazzy ‘A Beautiful Mine’, the dream-like sequence deservedly won its own Emmy for its depiction of a shadowed figure, lost and imprisoned in the American dream that he’s selling. When his office collapses around him, he tumbles from a skyscraper, with the monochrome colour scheme being broken up by the surrounding buildings featuring themes of the show – for instance, the tension between being a suave ad man and having an ideal nuclear family. The final shot of this figure in his seat, cigarette in hand, with his back to the viewer, will forever be mimicked, reinterpreted and obsessed over.
However, fan theories that it foreshadows the series’ end, or even 9/11, add to the idea that the titles encapsulate the heart of the show: the complex and fragile nature of life.
Kambole Campbell: Person of Interest
“You are being watched.”
There probably isn’t a show that gets more to the point in the opening titles. From the very beginning of each episode, Person of Interest sells the paranoia and the comic book-y personas of the anonymous heroes who protect people from crimes before they even happen. For the premise and the characters, the theme song is suitably heroic and grandiose, but contrasts with the black and white montage of pseudo-CCTV footage of the protagonists hidden among a crowd.
Even after a long hiatus, Harold Finch’s (Michael Emerson) expository monologue that accompanies the opening credits is enough to raise the heart rate.
Everything that follow more than lives up to the promises of the show’s opening titles.
Christine Wong: Game of Thrones
Who can help but hum along with the incredible opening theme to the HBO hit, Game of Thrones? Not only is the orchestral track, by Ramin Djawadi, one of the most epic in the history of TV, but the visuals are incredibly beautiful and plot-relevant!
The intricate cogs and gears moving together hint at the hidden organisation in the shifty world of Westeros. In every opening sequence, the major locations in that specific episode are shown, giving you an idea of the plot to come, and the sun in the title-card symbolically shows world-building events. The amount of dedication in that alone is incredible, but then you also have the sigils of the characters showing up next to the actor names… how perfectly geeky and awesome!
Milly Cooksley: Dexter
The Dexter opening credits are ingenious. Appropriately set to a song named ‘Dexter Main Title’, this eerie tune perfectly accompanies the visceral shots of Dexter’s (Michael C. Hall) morning routine.
We see extreme close ups of our favourite serial killer eating his breakfast, having his morning shave, flossing, and dressing. The framing of the shots make even the most repetitive, simple tasks appear gruesome, such as to the juicing of a blood orange, and clearing up blood droplets caused by a shaving cut.
As we get to know Dexter throughout the seasons, we come to realise this morning routine manages to mirror the type of life he leads: a blood spatter analyst who moonlights as a serial killer. From Dexter’s initial unapologetic swatting of a mosquito, to the final wink at the viewer, these opening credits truly capture the essence of Dexter in just a few short moments.