What makes a great TV show intro?
A great TV show intro can encapsulate all of the feelings a viewer has towards the show.
What makes an intro great then? Probably a plenty of things. Some may say that the creativity of the visual layer, whilst others would probably point out music. Either way, it’s not easy to grab the attention of the viewer with an intro. Because, let’s be honest – most of the intros are totally “skipable”.
However, this list features iconic intros, incredibly creative or original for any other reasons.
The Night Of
This little known HBO show had a very distinct approach to an intro. It was minimalist, neatly using lighting and darkness. Some of the shots – like the city veins of streets – were actually beautiful.
And most importantly, it was a fitting prelude to the dark and somber series.
It’s a case, when music elevates the intro a whole new level. The visual side is so-so, taking a turn to the meh street, but the song… Fever Ray’s “If I Had A Heart” is what encapsulates the entire series.
Dark, primal and engaging.
Better Call Saul Season 1
Each episode had a different intro.
The music does the job here. The mellow guitar is the sound of Jimmy McGill – it’s magical how perfectly it fits the protagonist of the show. Switching the intro in each episode is also an interesting choice. Every single one corresponds brilliantly to the show and – knowing Vince Gilligan and his love for details in “Breaking Bad – these short pieces might be actually telling their own story of some sort.
Many viewers disliked “Altered Carbon” for slow pacing and too many naked nipples.
I didn’t mind either of those. Nipples are cool, aren’t they?
And I definitely liked the intro of she show. It captures the show’s creative side and uses a smart choice of symbols referring to the show. The symbolism of the snake eating its own tail is pure poetry.
Westworld Season 1
I might not be a huge fan of “Westworld” (or particularly the late episodes of the first season), but I never skipped that intro.
The moment this intro had me was the skeleton hands playing the piano. The slow mo used adds grace, whilst this one particular scene with a woman on a horse is totally picture-on-a-wall-able.
Whether it’s “the best” TV show of all time is debatable or not, this intro is iconic.
There’s genius in its simplicity. It’s just a guy driving a car, right? Add the song and the fact that it’s goddamn Tony Soprano – the whole perspective changes.
American Horror Story
I’m a horror buff. I embrace this genre with all its flaws.
“American Horror Story” was a mixture of good and bad. But the intro of each season was splendid. The use of vintage creepiness, the flashing images, mixed with toned music. It played the right tunes.
The “Asylum” part is particularly great.
Although “Mad Men” is still on my “to watch list”, this intro has somehow tracked me down.
The animation is an interesting concept here. It has a James Bond vibe, right?
I am a simple guy – I see Peter, I’m happy.
I think it’s more of a sentimental thing, but I always liked this intro. The whisky bottles hitting the seashore, Nucky standing on the beach – this always gets me. The chill guitar does its part too, perfectly fitting in the show’s badass, classy atmosphere.
Now time for childhood flashbacks intensifying…
90s kids will probably shed a tear now.
“Goosebumps” was kitschy as hell, but it’s what we watched. The intro to the show is – looking after all these years – terrible. The weird upbeat music, the “G” shadow floating, even the poor doggie’s eyes turned green. It was all corny, but you know… I can’t handle all those feels.
This list wouldn’t exist without – I dare to say – the most iconic intro in the history.
The music here is what does the trick. When I was a kid, this wicked sound alone gave me goosebumps. The visual is pretty simple (not to say poor), but the theme makes it incredibly memorable.
And now my favorite choices.
The story of drug trafficking beginnings in the Latin America remains one of my favorite TV shows of all. The acting is superb, the cinematography, the story, soundtrack – everything has its place and plays out perfectly.
This intro is absolutely beautiful. Starting from “Tuyo” track and its lyrics (referring in a way to Pablo’s life), through the documentary bits and photos and inventive animation added – you wish the song remained longer.
BoJack Horseman Every Season
BoJack Horseman is one of the most brilliant shows, which were ever produced by Netflix. The animation is top-notch, the character development is exemplary.
The intro is also a tiny piece of art. The nu jazz composed by Patrick Carney (the drummer of “The Black Keys”) features a bonkers mix of electronic synth and a sax. I also liked how the intro smoothly changes, presenting what’s actually happening in the season or even an episode.
True Detective Season 1
In my humble opinion, this is by far the most memorable, most creative and sublime intro in the history of television.
First of all, the idea to use several layers of video and photographies and blend it into a collage was genius. Then there is the brilliant music choice. The lyrics, the trumpets, the rattlesnake thingy in the background – it all captured the essence of the show. It’s not more than one minute, but this intro made history.
And this one particular shot, when the first chorus kicks in, whilst the man in the photo raises his arms in an ecstatic gesture – it’s just pure gold.