A good theme song or set of opening credits sets the tone for a show. They are one of the first things you associate with that show and when done well, just hearing the music will bring you back to the show again and again. While they have gone slightly out of style in recent years, at least on network TV, they seem to be holding strong on cable. These are 10 of my favorites, though of course, there are some I have left out or else this list would become unwieldy.
Gilmore Girls The opening credits of this show are very traditional and made up of a collection of shots from the show while the actors name appear on the screen. The theme song, however, is one of my favorites. Carole King’s “Where You Lead” was a great choice for the show and it sets the warm, fun tone for the rest of the show.
Growing Pains Yet another theme song that I can’t help but sing along to. This one was one of my favorite shows growing up and so the theme song has a lovely nostalgic value to it.
Friends This theme song is a classic. It makes me happy every time I hear it and I think it just suits the show so well. I’ve been known to listen to the full song often for the happiness boost.
Parenthood I love the combination of photos taken specifically for the credits and photos from the actors’ childhoods. It creates an immersive world where it is even easier to believe that these people really did grow up together and have a shared history.
Game of Thrones Everything about the theme and opening credits is brilliant and conveys the feeling of an epic story. I love the map of Westeros with all the moving pieces (even though it’s no longer an accurate indicator of the locations seen in that episode). It doesn’t do me much good as an actual map, since I still have only vague ideas of where things are located in relation to each other but it’s pretty to look at.
The Fosters This is probably my favorite theme song with lyrics at the moment. The theme song is the thesis of the show – it’s not where you come from, it’s where you belong. It’s about the idea that family doesn’t have to mean the people related to you by blood. It’s the people who love you and the people with whom you feel safe and like you belong. It’s a beautiful song and a beautiful message.
Bob’s Burgers I watched the first four seasons in a month and as anyone who has ever watched a lot of a show over a brief period of time, the credits can get awfully monotonous. Not true with Bob’s Burgers! The store next to Bob’s and the pest control van that appears both change every episode with company names that take advantage of wordplay and puns to make every credit sequence entertaining.
Battlestar Galactica I should find the plot summation at the beginning of every episode repetitive, especially since I watched the whole series over a month, but I don’t at all. I love that it sets the stage from the first moment of the episode and draws you back into the world of BSG. I also love Bear McCreary’s compositions, so the actual theme is pretty amazing too.
Firefly Yet another great theme song that fits the show perfectly. What better way is there to capture Mal’s attitude toward captaining the Serenity then “You can’t take the sky from me”?
Lie to Me I’m so fascinated by these credits. I don’t know a lot about microexpressions (not my area of psychology) but I find the idea behind them so amazing and so seeing them illustrated in the credits just wows me every time.
What are some of your favorite theme songs or opening credits? Do you prefer more full opening credits or would you prefer a simple title card?