The Opening title is the unsung hero of pop culture. Encapsulating the mood of an entire television series with merely music, image, and type. It’s a testament to the power of design that such basic elements collected in a timespan of 30 seconds or less can permeate themselves in the minds of millions. As designers and just people who just flat out love ourselves some pop culture, here is St8mnt’s list of TV Shows we miss almost only for their opening titles.
Although still a series syndication, the Simpsons intro is the stuff of TV legend. Danny Elfman’s insanely catchy ear worm of a theme song captures the off-kilter but light feel of the show. The ever-changing final frames kept us engaged and eager for each intro’s punch line.
The Mad Men intro is highly stylized and iconic. There are few photographic elements and high contrast black and red text. The sparse colors, 50s-esque score, and free falling silhouette sets the tense and mysterious mood of the series.
Few opening titles deliver intense emotions with subtlety. Dexter does just that. It parallels imagery of the mundane (a botched morning shave, food prep, etc.) with unsettling, suspense-building music, and a blood-red type treatment. These elements along with creative cropping of highly textured imagery imply the carnage of series.
One of the most notorious TV shows introductions of all time. The eerie music, stark black and white imagery, and philosophically stumping narration still holds up as both intriguing and memorable. That’s saying a lot of a series from the 50s.
True Detective (Season 1):
Very few series take motion graphics to the level of True Detective. This pairing of mysterious and gritty imagery with the haunting melody sets the stage for one our favorite series in recent memory.
One of the more underrated series of the last year has been the Netflix original series dealing with a much more intense and realistic portrayal of Marvel’s Daredevil. The writing, acting, and effects are all on a superb level, and the Opening titles certainly don’t lack the same quality.
Directed by one of Tennessee’s local artists Wayne White, the Peewee’s playhouse intro is a beautiful, bright, and in some ways unsettling stop motion piece. Capturing both the childlike and hypnotically surreal environment of the show.
Doctor Who (60s-70s):
Designers are basically fine artists with one foot firmly planted in the practical world, but every now and then it’s nice to see something that throws the practical out the window. This is achieved in the intro to Doctor Who. These opening titles are iconic to people who haven’t even watched the series. Hypnotic, eerie music and psychedelic wormholes coupled with bold titles makes this an epic intro.
XMEN Animated Series:
This piece of 90s nostalgia makes it on to the list for it’s raw awesomeness. The unmistakable XMEN theme for endless games started here. Plus, from a graphics perspective, it’s just great to see each main mutant get his/her own hand type treatment.
Halt & Catch Fire:
The animation director behind True Detective’s opening titles (Patrick Clair) strikes again with this flat out stunning intro for Halt & Catch Fire. The symbiosis of computerized graphics and photography is mind-blowing to say the least. All the elements work together so well, you’ll want to watch whatever comes next.
AND, our newest love:
Narcos. Almost makes us want to be in the narc trade…
Check out Art of the Title’s deep dive into its brilliance.