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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Open topic: Best TV intro ever

You might remember the diligent work of Adam Reinhard in bringing you the Greatest TV Theme Song of All-Time contest that resulted in record hits and comments that have yet to be duplicated (and likely never will) on Channel Surfing.

In a pathetic attempt to link that bit of You Tube-happy nostalgia to this current post, it seems one of my favorite TV critics, Alan Sepinwall, got a bit upset when he read TV Guide's list of the "Best TV Pilots of All-Time". And with good reason.

No "Twin Peaks?" No "Freaks and Geeks?" Do the people at TV Guide actually watch TV, or is too much "American Idol" coverage rotting their collective brain?

Anyway ... Sepinwall's post and the subsequent reader suggestions are worth checking out. And as all good writers do, Sepinwall found a way to pimp his past work by busting out a "Best TV Intro of All-Time" column he wrote back in 2003. His list is about as well-researched as it gets. It also feeds in nicely with my recent completion of "Six Feet Under" -- ooh, I just pimped a future post of mine! -- which I cited as probably my second favorite TV intro of all time. Numero uno? You know it had to be Martin Starr and his big, cheesy grin with Joan Jett bellowing "Bad Reputation" in the background.

Five of my recent favorites, including "Freaks," are below. I can't recall that many REALLY impressive ones, to be honest. These are simply picks off the top of my head -- that even after several viewings, I don't just blindly skip past. It probably makes sense that these are shows I continue to watch and love. Guess I don't pay that much attention to TV intros, unless they're really, truly awful like "Thunder in Paradise." (OK, I take it back, that "Transformers"-like super boat is AWESOME!)

So, anybody want to go to bat for a really great TV intro? Adam, you can make an argument for "Perfect Strangers." I won't judge you. (Ahem.)

Oh, and as a bonus, my two favorites from childhood. Peter Scolari, that guy from "The Burbs," a Billy Joel singalong and (?) Barbara Bush.

And finally, I can't even describe how brilliant the "Police Squad" intro (which had a different guest star assassinated every week) truly is. "Tonight's episode: The Broken Promise." Friggin'. Genius.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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oh man i love bosom buddies. or at least back in the day. why did i always think billy joel actually sang the theme?

By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 11, 2008 at 10:34 PM  

There are very few opening titles SO good that I won't forward through them after repeat viewings. Even shorties like "30 Rock" suffer the wrath of my fast-forward button.

But one title sequence comes to mind that I could watch over and over and never lose interest: "Monty Python's Flying Circus." The ironic use of a stately, dignified Sousa march, played over Gilliam's psychotic animated genius, and all of it ending up squashed under a giant foot. THAT'S how you start a TV show.


By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At September 12, 2008 at 3:20 PM  

Ahhh, thank you for including MST3K, brings a tear to my eye. Bosom Buddies and Police Squad are truly classics. How about this one:

By Blogger Antony, At September 15, 2008 at 12:02 PM  

I like the Six Feet Under one, but the Dexter intro is simply brilliant, it has to be the best i ever saw.

By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 10, 2008 at 6:31 AM  

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