Sunday, December 17, 2006

Top 10 Television Show Intros

I remember as a kid, part of what made television shows cool was the opening credits. In addition to memorable theme music, the opening credits would tell the story of the show so that you could jump in anywhere. It also would pump you up to watch the show. I used to get mad if I came in late and missed the credits.

One thing I was amazed with was the length of some of the credits. Compared with today's TV shows where the credits are usually very brief (presumably to give more time for the show itself), TV shows in the 70s and 80s had fairly long credits, sometimes nearly 2 minutes long. I don't have a set criteria for my choices. Basically, it comes down to music and cool factor.

10. Bonanza
Great theme music, and the burning map is especially cool. Who didn't want to ride on the Ponderosa alongside Hoss and Little Joe after watching this?

9. Star Trek
Is it me or does Shatner manage to overact even in his narration?

8. Knight Rider
This may be the only positive thing I every say about something David Hasselhoff is invovled in. This also may be the only time a Trans-Am was so cool.

7. Incredible Hulk
I think its funny that the producers of the show decided that the best example of what sends David Banner over the edge into a raging monster is trying to change his tire in bad weather.

6. A-Team
Its amazing how something so lame could be so cool. Those who loved this show as a kid and have seen it recently know exactly what I mean. It had a great intro however. Remember when anything with a Crack-commando unit was awesome?

5. Greatest American Hero
This one makes the list purely on the basis of its great theme song. And William Katt's hair.

4. Dukes of Hazzard
Its hard to believe that my brother and I used to love this show so much that we would pretend that we were the Duke boys. The great thing about the credits was the catchy Waylon Jennings theme song and the way it tricked you into believing that the show was much better than it actually was. What other TV series had characters named Cooter and Cletus?

3. Battlestar Galactica (original)
A show that was actually as cool (at least at the time) as its epic opening credits.

2. Six Million Dollar Man
These opening credits make nearly dying in a plane crash seem like a good idea. Remember the episode where he fights Bigfoot? Classic.

1. Buck Rogers
"In the year 1987..." That just cracks me up.

Honorable Mention
These are goods ones too, but just didn't fit into my top ten.

1. Kung-Fu
Can you imagine how much cooler this show would have been with Bruce Lee instead of David Carradine?

2. Tour of Duty
I really liked this show. Paint it Black by the Stones was a nice touch.

3. Airwolf
Jan Michael Vincent's one hit wonder. Cool intro and cool show.

And While We're At It, Remember These?
1. Manimal
To an 8-year old boy, this was the coolest show on TV. Scary.

2. The Fall Guy
Yes. That is Lee Majors singing.

3. Tales of the Gold Monkey
I can't even believe I remembered this one.


everyday.wonder said...

Seems to me you missed three key ones:

The Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon (remember the lame roller-coaster-through-the-portal trick?)

Thundar the Barbarian (with the moon being split in half)

And my personal favorite 8-year-old dream show: The Master. Lee Van Cleef? Sho Kosugi? Pure magic.

ted said...

As far as slamming the Firebird T/A, maybe you remember a little show called Rockford Files? I think you dropped the ball here if one of your criteria is cool music.

I'm pretty sure I read one time that the A-Team was something of a conundrum for studio executives. It had the largest share of the 18-49 male demographic ever at the time, even beating out Monday Night Football and they could never figure out why. I think that a lot of it has to do with the members of the A-Team each representing a portion of a shattered male psyche. Yes, even Amy. I'm sure every guy watching it saw a little of himself in Hannibal's cool leadership abilities and tactical mojo, Face's smooth smoothness and the way his hair did that blow-dry thing, B.A.'s mean mofo attitude and passion for milk, and Murdock's borderline sanity and ability to fly airplanes.

Bonanza's intro just made me want to set stuff on fire. Probably not what they were shooting for.

I think the narration overlay for Star Trek's intro shows us that Shatner's overacting transcends all previous overacting work to that point. He can do it with his voice alone, or with his whole body. They're playing this all the time right now on TVLand and I'll sit there with Trisha and make fun of it, or if I'm alone I'll watch it and totally get into it.

I'm still working on my Dukes of Hazzard explosive arrow prototype. I wonder if back in the day Cooter had the same meaning it does now?

Funny, you have two Lorne Greene TV shows.

Remember the episode of Buck Rogers with Gary Coleman on it? I wish that they would start re-running this in earnest now that I have cable. And what was with the end credits sequence where the stars would bounce off the camera as you were seemingly blasting through space? "In 1987 Earth launches the last of the deep space probes." Have we even launched one deep space probe? Have we done anything regarding space that was identified as an effort by "Earth" as a whole? What's funny about Buck Rogers is that the intro narration is not the dumbest part of any episode. How about the one with the Satyr looking dude with the whip that threw lasers or whatever? Any episode that involved dancing with light-ropes? Hawk? Buck's stupid martial art style? Twiggy? Too bad that if you want to pick up the whole series, which was only two seasons, you have to part with about eighty bucks. Bucks, get it?

I cannot even imagine what Kung-fu would have been like with an actual asian guy playing an asian guy.

Was Airwolf the one where JMV would sit on a dock on a lake and play the cello?

And speaking of what you missed, does this ring any bells?
"G.I. Joe is the codename for America's daring, highly trained special mission force. It's purpose: to defend Human freedom against Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world." Yeah, baby, now that's television. Now sing it with me, fellow losers, "He'll never give up he'll stay till the fight's won, G.I. Joe will dare! (bum bum) G.I. Joe!

SHAZAM! said...

As far as the cartoons, that's a separate category(forthcoming).

I thought about The Rockford Files, but just couldn't fit it into the list. I will say James Garner's Trans Am is much Cooler than KIT.

I should have added Lorne Greene's New Wilderness to complete the trifecta.

Ted, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you just didn't want to write out his name, but writing "JMV" makes you sound like one of those wierd fanboys that abbreviate their favorite stuff.

ted said...

The JMV is the result of laziness and lethargy of such proportions that if I could bring myself to get around to it, I'd be embarassed.