You’ve heard the old saying before, and it’s likely because it’s true: it’s the little things that count. Often times we tend to overlook the subtle characteristics and qualities that make a thing truly great, a cut above the rest. And for those televised rare gems out there, it’s these same small aspects that draw us in and have us humming along every time. We’re talking TV intros, folks.

We’ve seen a truly assorted array of opening themes over the decades gone by featuring everything from sugary, dimple-sweet jingles and fun animation to catchy theme songs and montage sequences that even the late Billy Mays’ OxiClean couldn’t wash from your brain. You know what I’m talking about… To some degree, creating a captivating television intro has gone a bit out of style, although there are a handful of modern examples that are keeping the flame of fresh familiarity-fascination alive. The Walking Dead, True Blood, Breaking Bad and Lost are just a few offerings that have successfully nailed this skill down pat. And since we’ve started this little promenade down memory lane, I think it’s only right that I pay homage to some of my personal favorite brightest beacon lights of television history with a tailored “top three” of the greatest TV show intros ever. In no particular order, of course. Join me, won’t you?

 

COPS

Back in the 90’s when COPS first aired, the poh-poh were hitting the streets and keeping it funky-fresh featuring a feisty urban-esque theme song and intro sequence that had you fantasizing about how cool it would be to commit a small pseudo-crime (let’s say drunkenly dancing in public with your kidnapped neighbor’s cat while wearing awkwardly short short-shorts… Yep, that sounds about right) with the possibility of being immortalized in this majestic introductory montage of drunks, dopes, rednecks and apparently incompetent runners. This show is a classic, and even people who don’t like the police love COPS. And let’s not forget to mention that beautiful purple elephant in the room: everyone loves to sing along to the “bad boy” chorus, but when it comes to the verses no one has a clue of what that reggae vocalist is saying…

The Simpsons

The Simpsons boasts one of the most quintessentially classic intros ever, primarily due to that epically orchestrated theme song and its uncanny ability to include nearly every endearing Springfield character into a brief, one minute time span. This show was, and still is, a gleaming, golden-yellow milestone for animation and sitcom television history, and its creative engagement knows no bounds. The South Park boys were right: when it comes to doing something first, the Simpsons have already done it, and done it well. You can watch episode after episode and feel the love and attention put into every offering. Heck, even Bart’s detention chalkboard messages are personalized for every opening. And what’s more, they’re always funny. Right on, man.

The Cosby Show

Pudding-pop and ugly sweater jokes aside, this show is just plain old awesome, and Bill Cosby became a dad for the ages with this whirlwind sitcom of witty one-liners and relatable family dynamics that easily became an unquestioned functional-family archetype for the history books. The creators of the show pulled out all the stops when it came to the ever adapting seasonal intros featuring variations of a song that Mr. Cosby himself had a hand in writing. Bill and the gang continue to have folks bebopin’ and skattin’ the second that unquestionably unique theme song starts. And who doesn’t enjoy watching an entire African American family from the 80’s and 90’s bust out some funky dance moves? This really is the best elevator music you’ve ever heard.

 

 

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Ezra Melino is an all-around-geek turned serious blogger out of North Carolina who not-so-secretly relishes an in-print love affair with everything from technology and multimedia entertainment to film and the Hopper. Specifically, his blog, DX3.net, is a tech blog that is devoted to exploring new technological developments all around the world.