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A Different Take On The “Mad Men” Credit Sequence

You know the opening credits for Mad Men? The iconic design, the falling, the smoking silhouette? Animator Paul Rogers decided to take the credits in a different direction, a more brassy, jazzy direction:

It’s more of a Saul Bass-ian take, a bow to the vintage late-50’s animated credit style. (And you’ll have to excuse the misspelling, too — sorry, Vinnie) Whatever you think of the result, though, you can’t imagine it replacing the real credits. It’s also a good example of how the credit sequence plays a role in the perception of a show. Credit sequences (which, for shows like network sitcoms, have all but disappeared) can really set the tone for a series. What credit sequences and themes have been your favorites? And which just turned you off from a show all by themselves?

HT: Laughing Squid, New York Magazine’s Vulture

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  1. Joseph says:

    To Amanda (07.21.11), I agree with you!!! But, I’ll go one step further, COVERT AFFAIRS has the stupidest, cheapest, tackiest opening I’ve ever been annoyed by…and yes, it’s the worst 42 minutes on TV and one of the worst possible ways that one can squander their time! I’m in love with you, Amanda! 😀

  2. Dieverdog says:

    There was a lot of buzz on Twitter when they recently changed the opening credits on White Collar – and they put it back to the original – ostensibly because of fan reaction (or the fans want to see it that way). So fans and viewers DO pay attention to those opening sequences! Psych is a good example of how a show can get creative with the opening sequence (totally appropriate to the show’s cheeky, irreverent humor) – and who can forget The Simpsons? Opening credits often go unsung – but if you mess with ’em – people DO notice!

  3. i always enjoyed the intro to The Wire an how with each season the song would be performed by a different artist that somehow tied into the theme of the season, ie when the show focuses on the Baltimore schools the theme song is performed by a group of middle schoolers.

    but in terms of setting the tone for the series and getting you geared up for the episode, i’d have to go with Clone High.
    “Way way back in the 1980s, secret government employees dug up famous guys and ladies, and made amusing genetic copies.”

  4. dan says:

    Best opening credits:
    “Miami Vice” (Jan Hammer’s electric music and Miami beauty/money shots set the tone for show)

    runners up:
    “Charlie’s Angels”
    “SNL” 70’s cast
    “Bosom Buddies”
    “Mission Impossible”
    “Ghost in the Shell SAG” (1st and 2nd Gigs)

  5. Bill says:

    Billy idol, the lights of LA, the camera freefall as the Hot InThe City chorus kicks in, and gratuitous Grieco shots.

  6. Lucy says:

    Community’s opening sequence always makes me smiles. Angry bees for Donald Glover!

    And for pure nostalgia I love Get Smart’s theme and opening credits.

  7. VonnegutLives says:

    The original Nickelodeon Doug. I don’t know if they changed the sequence for any of the later iterations but I still love the Doug theme song.

  8. Adam says:

    This reminds me of the opening to everyone’s favorite Fran Drescher classic The Nanny. Now please don’t ask how I know that.

  9. Nathaniel Wedgington Hornswagle III says:

    My favourite opening has to be the one for Cowboy Bebop. But this probably says a lot about me. Psych has always bee a fun opening too in that they play around with it a lot. I’ll agree with Amanda that the Covert Affairs opening is horrid, but I actually like the series itself.

    This is a great opening: :3

  10. Big Al says:

    Any theme sung by the actual star of the show is great.
    The Fall Guy –
    Fraiser –
    And of course the winner is Walker Texas Ranger –

    But seriously, the best credits ever were the mysterious CLOSING credits of WKRP in Cincinatti –

  11. Bryan_ says:

    Louie’s opening is pretty much perfect. The music is great and the shots of Louie walking through NYC, grabbing some pizza and then walking into a comedy club are cool.

  12. Danny Damore says:

    After all these years I’m still trying to get the Three’s Company opening song out of my head.
    So, I couldn’t find a proper YouTube version so this will have to do:

  13. I love how Fringe changes its opening sequence depending on what universe we’re going to be spending the episode in. I particularly love the ’80s version though.

  14. Julie says:

    Dexter had some wicked opening credits.

  15. Shiatsu Shiksa says:

    This feels like the intro to a sit-com, it’s too upbeat for the show. But then again, I recognized the music and associate it with other shows (comedies).
    Also, I wonder how much the “feel” of the intro would change if the colors were more muted or pastel (light background, instead of black, etc.).

  16. Gabriel says:

    That was super cool. I would love to turn on Mad Men and see that as the opening.

  17. Caroline S says:

    I’ve always liked Psych’s openings (especially the ones that matched the episode i.e., the Spanish one), it always seemed to match the tone of the show. I do like Mad Men’s though; the music is great.

  18. Brian says:

    I actually really don’t like the Mad Men theme song (sorry RJD2) or the style. Granted, it probably didn’t help that I watched the entire series in like 5 days, back-to-back-to-back. Am I the only one annoyed at how thick Don’s cigarette is in the final shot?
    I think Game of Thrones has an AWESOME opening ( HBO shows usually come through on that front. I really liked Carnivale’s opening as well (

    And, of course, Perfect Strangers.

  19. Ryan says:

    Chuck’s (the tv show, not the ambiguous person) intro sequence has always been one of my favorites. BUT, Mad Men’s is of course 20 times better.

  20. Amanda says:

    I can think of a title sequence that I hate right off the bat: Covert Affairs on USA. The music is bad, the effects are bad, the whole thing is just bad. As a tone setter for the series, however, I guess it does a pretty good job because that show is one of the worst 42 minutes of television I’ve seen in a while.

    A really good credit sequence is the one for the new Sherlock series that Steven Moffat helped create. Awesome music and really cool images from the show; every time I watch it, I see something new from the episodes that I’d missed before.

  21. HK says:

    It’s beautiful! Love the graphics and how everything flows so well. As for show openings I dig, I love the 30 Rock opening and the music as well. When I hear the opening music I rush to my television, even for reruns!

  22. An says:

    I wouldn’t say it was my favorite opening sequence, but I still know the words to the opening from Full House by heart…

  23. dana says:

    dang… that is the coolest thing i’ve seen in a while…

  24. carlos says:

    i appreciate the work put into it, but it just feels generic to me. like go-to period style.

    still, a hell of a job

  25. Kaitlin says:

    Archer has the greatest opening that is currently still airing, but The Pillars of the Earth opening was really, really beautiful.

  26. Jen says:

    I agree that it’s tough to see anything else but the show’s current opening credits, but this is really cool. Mad Men does have my favorite opening sequence, but I also liked the one for Weeds.