As someone who marathons TV shows all the time, I have become quite familiar with what makes a good title sequence & what makes a bad title sequence. All the ones I love are short, memorable and make a strong comment about the show. Here are a few of my favorites.
Mad Men. The song is so haunting, it sticks with you. Just hearing it makes my hair stand on end and I get excited about watching another episode. These are the season one titles and seeing Maggie Siff’s name makes me miss Rachel, even though Maggie is doing well as a kickass biker mama on another of my favorite shows, Sons of Anarchy. (Fun Fact: MM won Outstanding Main Title Design Emmy in 2008*).
I have marathoned twenty episodes of Gilmore Girls in one day and watched the entire credits sequence every time. I used to like to find the exact moment in the show that went into the titles and rewatch it, like when Richard gives Rory his newspaper. Just seeing this makes me cry; I’m so nostalgic for the time in my life during which GG aired. I’m also sad about being old.
This isn’t the actual title sequence to Justified–it isn’t available online–just the song, “Long Hard Times to Come” by Gangstagrass. I don’t think I’d ever listen to this song voluntarily, but it sets the tone for the show perfectly. The credits are a mixture of weird close ups of Tim Olyphant (hot) and scenes from Harlan County, Kentucky.
The Game of Thrones song, which is by Ramin Djawadi, is similar to the Mad Men theme–it’s creepy, haunting and repetitive. Add to that these beautiful computer-generated graphics of Westeros and Essos, some symbolic animals peppered on the landscape, and you’ve got an Emmy-winning title sequence*! But really, it won last year. I had no idea and I’m so glad it did. Maybe that’s why HBO put up an excellent, clear version of the credits on You Tube?
This is both season one and two of The Good Wife. Like the show, these credits are simple and classy. I do sometimes wish it was called The Good Senior Partner and then Christine Baranski could be the main character. I really want to know what’s going on with Diane’s love life!
Ones I skip through? I’m not going to link to them, but they include The Newsroom (the song, like the show, puts me the fuck to sleep), Bunheads (Sutton Foster is SO PRETTY and in the titles…she’s just not), Sons of Anarchy (good song like Justified, but it sounds better at double time), and reality shows like American Pickers, where the title sequence is a series of long monologues that explain the show’s premise. We are not stupid, History Channel!!
*The 78th Academy Awards won this in 2006 so it doesn’t seem like this category is legit. It beat Weeds‘ “Little Boxes” sequence!