My Favorite Television Openings

This week’s blog post is going to be on awesome television openers. You know, the thing near the start of the TV shows where they play some songs over clips of the show, with the credits of those who are staring in it?

I’ve always enjoyed these, and viewed them as parts of the show. No matter how many times I’ve seen them, I always watch them all the way through. Some are terrible, most don’t add much, but some can even be high art.

Start with the best: Game of Thrones. The animation is stunning, mixed with equally rousing music and even adding plot points to the television show. The cities involved in the opening change based on the episode: the cities shown are the cities involved in the specific episode. Also gives you a good sense of the geography.

The West Wing is up next. Most of the time, more under the stewardship of Executive Producer Aaron Sorkin (seasons 1-4), it was always involved in the television show. Generally, there was some specific plot point in the early going of the episode that would lend itself to a dramatic drumroll and lead-in to the patriotic melodies. Dramatic and beautiful, this always got the show started correctly.

In its final season, the Californication is the perfect mood-setting apparatus to the television show. The music is off-beat and even at times somewhat off-key, much like Hank himself. Hank giving the finger right into the camera is about as “Hank” as you can get. I often crank up the volume of this one, particularly if I’m in a bad mood.

Unfortunately, these three are the only ones on my list I could find on YouTube. The other two are from Firefly and Friday Night Lights. Those watching Firefly often find it a bit corny at the jump, but its western-style banjo strum and country lyrics fit right in with the theme of the program. Friday Night Light’s spare music combined with hand-held shots of western Texas may be the polar opposite of Joss Whedon’s much-loved sequence, but is also a terrific mood-setter. If any of you know where these clips live online, please let me know!

UPDATE: Thanks to my friend Sarah, we now have our FNL opening…