Top 20 TV Show Opening Credits (Part I)

The opening credits are the first thing we see when we are watching a TV Show. Sometimes the theme song of a show becomes forever associated with it and reaches iconic status. Nowadays, some opening sequences have been minimized to the extreme (e.g. Lost), but for the shows that still have them, the credits can be the perfect way to showcase the tone and creativity of the episodes to come.
I have compiled a list of the best opening sequences of all times. I took into account originality, quality of the images, music, how identifiable the theme song is with the show and how well the sequence reflects the tone of the show. You can see the top ten theme songs HERE.

CLICK on the name of the show to go to the Video of the theme song. 

At the time of the Grey’s Anatomy premiere, medical dramas were a very serious affair. Along came this show with its wonderful soap-licious stories. The opening sequence told us that this was a different medical drama. It was intriguing and sexy and the song will forever remind us of Grey’s. It is too bad that after a couple of seasons the opening credits disappeared and now we only get a title card.

19. PSYCH 

Psych barely made the list. At first sight it has your traditional opening titles, with shots of each character in action. However the show got some extra points for the original and perfectly suited song “I know you know” and moreover for customizing the sequence once in a while to fit the theme of the episode. Here you can see the Hindi version of the song. Also look for the Twin Peaks, Christmas special and the horror movies versions.

18. Fringe

I was taking Fringe in and out of this list. It isn’t the most spectacular sequence and it is pretty short. The visuals are cool but not mind-blowing, the theme song doesn’t have a whole lot of melody, but… the reason I kept it in the list is because I think it is spot on with the tone of the show. It instantly gives you that sensation of sci-fi, mystery and technology and I think that is hard to achieve in just a few seconds.

As most HBO shows, BE has an astonishing opening sequence. It is surreally beautiful, visually amazing and fits well with the tone. The only reason it didn't score higher is because not many people would be able to put the song and the show together instantly (I could, but I am a TV addict).


The reason we don’t have many comedies in this list is because they tend to do the same cheesy sequence over and over again: Corny song + shots of all the characters doing something stupid. Sex and the city and New Girl made the cut because they are different. So points for originality! Sex and the city shows SJP running around Manhattan in a tutu with some cool shots of the big apple, but the main appeal of the sequence is the very recognizable and catchy theme song. As for newcomer New Girl, not only they have an original song (written and performed by leading lady Zoe Deschanel) but they also have a funny sequence that doesn't involve cheesy episode takes and it totally reflects the idea that Jess thinks her life is a musical.

Following the comedies we have two dramas tied up on position 15. I feel nobody watched Damages after season 2, but I still think they had the perfect song and some pretty good images to go with it. This is not your average lawyer show, it is dark and complicated and it has Glenn Close at her creepiest best. As for Nip/Tuck, another perfect song.  Plus, instead of showing the episode outtakes or some grotesque shots of plastic surgery they did a very stylized sequence of white mannequins. Perfect!


I was reluctant about this one. I don’t personally think it is the best opening sequence visually or even musically speaking. But… I would dare to say that 9 out of 10 people can identify the original theme song with the show and probably sing along. Plus, they avoided the cheesy shots and it goes perfectly with the tone of the nerdy show. Therefore Big Bang scored big on this list.


This is a very very interesting sequence from a cinematic point of view. It is almost subliminal. You have to watch it a couple of times to actually get all the images while listening to the jazzy tones. It is heavy and a little bit creepy just like the amazing show Homeland is.

These very similar shows happened to tie on the scoring board. Their credits are actually not similar at all. The Tudors has a beautiful classic theme song and a more traditional visual approach. The selection of the images is great and each shot goes perfectly with the beat of the music. They also have that nice way of showing the actors standing next to the throne. The Borgias has a more graphic approach, with a darker and more dramatic sequence.


The twin peaks opening credits run forever! I don’t know if it was a thing of the 80’s or what but they are waaay too long. However, I don’t think any other theme song had as strong effect as this piece in conveying exactly what a show was about. It was creepy and mysterious and quirky and bizarre. It was amazing.

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The TV Empress is a Media Management graduate, screenwriter in the making (and financial engineer in the meantime). She has serious plans to take over global television. You can follow the TVEmpress on twitter @TVRepublik

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