Widely considered one of, if not the greatest, television shows ever created; The Sopranos has an opening sequence to boot. Following Tony Soprano on a drive from the Lincoln Tunnel across the New Jersey turnpike, we get an idea of the ground the show covers. While it doesn’t outright show the dealings of the shows subject matter, we do get the impression that Tony owns these roads as he relaxes with cigar in hand, lauding over his land. On the flip side, as he approaches his driveway, the home life aspect of the show is presented to us. Alabama 3’s “Woke Up This Morning” is an incredible mood setter.
Despite some favourite show bias, the Scrubs’ opening sequence is truly great. The intro always comes in after the pay off to a joke and that short drumbeat leading into the intro enacts as a modern twist on the ‘rimshot.’ As Lazlo Bane’s catchy ‘Superman’ kicks in, there’s no doubt you’ll find yourself singing along. Yet, if you listen closely to the lyrics they echo JD’s character traits perfectly. He’s ever the insecure doctor who has to rely on his friends to get him through his professional and moral dilemmas. To make things grander, these same friends flash up on the screen and band together to eventually hand him an x-ray. The irreverent and offbeat humour that the show is known for is demonstrated by the fact that despite the x-ray going through all these different pairs of professional hands, it still ends up upside down at the end. A subtle but brilliant opening.
For The Simpsons, no two opening sequences are the same. Whether its Bart scribbling down his misdeeds on a chalkboard, Lisa’s wailings on the saxophone or the various couch gags, the intros have become classic in their own right. As if that wasn’t enough, the title sequence also features that theme song. If you’ve never watched the show, chances are you’ll be able to hum the Danny Elfman composed ditty all the same. The zany, off beat composition compliments the action perfectly and combines to complete an insane package that introduces you to Springfield.
Jace Everett’s “Bad Things” may be the best-suited theme song used in all of television right now, as it eludes (in a rather sadistic way) to the sexuality of the show as well as the violent nature of the characters it features. The backdrop of images from the overzealous parishioners, the small boy in a KKK hood, the sexual images, the decomposing fox and the birth of the vampire bat help to set the shows sinister tone. According to Morgan Henry, one of the sequences creators, the opening methaphorically asks “can you come out and play?” If this is the case, then the overarching theme of the sequence must be resisting temptation. After all, bad things can happen.
Simple, yet effective, Michael C Hall’s character is shown performing his morning routine. However, everything he does is so darn tense. The Orange bursting as he slices it, the scraping of the razor against his skin and the laces of his shoe pressed tightly against his hands are, in fact, perfect. Despite appearing normal, Dexter Morgan’s dark tendencies are emphasised through the violent undercurrent of something as simple as waking up.
Check back for part two of the best TV openings soon. Don’t be afraid to let us know your favourite opening credit sequences on twitter (@bouncesin)