An illustration of 8 blue boxes surrounding the text “TV Beat’s Top Title Sequences”. From the top left going clockwise each box contains Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aria from Pretty Little Liars, Kim from Kim Possible, Donna from That 70’s Show, Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Wanda from Wandavision, Marissa from the O.C., and Mabel from Gravity Falls.
Design by Grace Filbin.

From the Disney Channel classics to the Y2K craze, TV has been and always will be a magnificent and powerful medium, bringing excitement to its viewers with each new episode or season premiere. There’s nothing that conveys that magic quite like the sound of a show’s theme song blasting and the opening credits rolling. From the moment you sit down to watch your favorite show and you hear the sweet sound of its intro theme start to play, whether it be on an old, boxy ’00s television complete with an antenna or streamed onto your flat-screen, you know you’re about to witness something special. So queue up your favorite sitcom, romcom or drama and get ready to ignore that “skip intro” button: It’s time to talk about some of the best TV intros of all time. 

Annabel Curran, Senior Arts Editor, and Serena Irani, TV Beat Editor

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Few shows have impacted the television landscape as irrevocably as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” did, so it’s rather fitting that it also has one of the most iconic TV intros of all time. From that weird wolf howl to that lightning strike of an opening electric guitar chord, you know exactly what you’re getting into here. Music was an integral part of the show, often featuring up-and-coming bands like The Breeders or K’s Choice that would play at the Scooby gang’s hangout “The Bronze.” The instrumental theme, written by one such band, Nerf Herder, is reminiscent of its era in the ’90s punk rock stratosphere, coursing with mystical energy and perfectly suited to the show’s flashy, high-speed style. With its spiky guitar riffs and ominously goofy ending bell gong, I can’t help but get anticipatory goosebumps every time I hear it play. 

But “Buffy” has more than just good tunes to offer — the montage, albeit slightly cheesy, was the blueprint for the surplus of teen supernatural TV to follow, inspiring countless fan-made edits for shows without proper intros (cough, looking at you “The Vampire Diaries”). Of course, the real appeal here is that the majority of the montage scenes are just action shots of Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar, “Scooby Doo”) running around doing jump-spin kicks in highly fashionable fits. No one was serving slay(er) quite like her. Although the intro sequence changed over the course of its seven-year run, it always packed a punch and encapsulated the heart and spirit of the show to a tee: spooky, action-packed fun! On any rewatch of this show, I will never skip the intro. That’s probably the highest testament to an intro theme I could possibly give.  

TV Beat Editor Serena Irani can be reached at

Pretty Little Liars

Everyone knows that the 2000s TV era gave rise to some of the most dramatic, hilarious, somewhat ridiculous and all-around perfect pieces of television known to humanity. Everyone also knows that if you’re talking 2000s television, you can’t not talk about the masterpiece of camp and drama that is “Pretty Little Liars.” From the very moment the first frame of this classic teen drama’s intro sequence flashes onto your TV screen, you know you’re in for a wild ride. 

From the haunting organ melody to the creepy coffin imagery, “Pretty Little Liars” lets you know right off the bat just what it’s all about and never lets you forget it — seriously, I still have every word of the show’s creepy little opening credits song imprinted onto my brain for all eternity. You simply cannot say that “Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead” isn’t a stone-cold banger of a line. While the opening credit sequence of “Pretty Little Liars” might not be accompanied by the traditional catchy, upbeat song, awesome action sequence or quirky shots of sitcom characters that so many ’90s and ’00s TV shows sported, it can’t be denied that the “Pretty Little Liars” intro theme is nothing short of iconic — an adjective that perfectly describes the show in its entirety. Also, we can’t forget the just as iconic Halloween variations on the opening credits that never failed to send shivers down my 12-year-old spine. When I think of the words “best TV theme song,” “Got a secret, can you keep it” is soon to follow. But Lucy Hale, don’t think this means I’ll forgive you for your off-centered finger. It still irks me.

Senior Arts Editor Annabel Curran can be reached at


Who among us hasn’t had a TV-induced manic daydream episode? Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen, “Ingrid Goes West”) might have taken hers a little too far with the whole threat-to-an-entire-town thing, but it sure made for some great TV. The picture-perfect intros preceding every episode tell the story of a reformed (albeit morally ambiguous) superhero just trying to live her best life in New Jersey. The opening songs pay homage to the classic American sitcoms that inspired the story, and Wanda herself, in the most creative way possible. From ’60s favorites like the black-and-white cartoon intro for “Bewitched” to recent triumphs like the chaotic mockumentary style of “Modern Family,” the WandaVision theme always follows a tried and true formula. 

The ’50s episode intro has a peppy jazz melody trailing the black and white sets. The ’70s episode has a mellow upbeat tune adjacent to the brightly colored, hexagon-encased scenes in a “Brady Bunch”-esque montage. The ’90s episode even gives Elizabeth Olsen her own long-awaited “Full House” opening to parallel her older sisters. The writers really hit it out of the park with every song, especially “Agatha All Along” which isn’t technically in any intro but deserves its accolades nonetheless. It seems like everyone was obsessed with the melody upon first listen, myself included, to the point that it reached the Billboard charts. The show deviated from Marvel’s tired over-reliance on violence, yet still managed to pack a punch (literally and figuratively). It’s an incredible testament to how TV can leave a deep mark on audiences, us and Wanda alike.

Daily Arts Contributor Mina Tobya can be reached at

“The O.C.”

Have you ever smelled something and immediately been transported to a different time? Remembered how things were and how you felt back then? OK, maybe this is a convoluted analogy, but my point is, hearing those first five notes of “The O.C.’s” theme song never fails to transport me to the warm and sunny beaches of Newport, Calif.

From the moment I see Ben McKenzie’s (“Gotham”) brooding face in the window of his adoptive father’s BMW, I’m so excited I don’t even have time to wonder what the heck happens to Ben McKenzie after this show. “The O.C.’s” opening theme features some of the show’s finest and most iconic moments, from a “Sethmer” kiss to Marissa (Mischa Barton, “The Sixth Sense”) and Ryan’s (Ben McKenzie) adorable and super dangerous covering-eyes-on-the-bike moment. It also features clips of the ever-underappreciated Sandy (Peter Gallagher, “New Girl”) and Kirsten (Kelly Rowan, “Cyberbully”), arguably Newport’s best (and most emotionally stable) couple. 

From a roll-down-the-windows-and-blast-the-music kind of theme song to a summery montage of characters and SoCal landscape, “The O.C’s” opening theme brings immaculate vibes from start to finish, all while stressing one iconic phrase: “California, here we come.”

Daily Arts Contributor Olivia Tarling can be reached at

Gravity Falls

Very few TV show creators can claim that they have had fans dedicated to analyzing each individual episode. However, with a mystery show as comedic and captivating as “Gravity Falls” is, Alex Hirsch (“The Owl House”) could easily claim that he perfected audience participation, and it would be hard to disagree.

The music itself has a fun and spooky vibe to it, though I don’t feel that words could do justice to just how much of an earworm the song is. The fast-paced beat also keeps up with the character introductions as Dipper’s (Jason Ritter, “Raising Dion”) anxiety, Mabel’s (Kristen Schaal, “Bob’s Burgers”) happy-go-luckiness and Grunkle Stan’s (Alex Hirsch) shiftiness practically bleed through the scene. The intro progressively gets more and more strange, depicting the several anomalies the town has to offer. But the aspects of mystery only show themselves at the very end of the intro.

The audience is shown a growing pile of several photos presumably taken by the cast, each only showing a new character or episode plot to watch out for. Consistent B-plot antagonists like Gideon (Thurop Van Orman, “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack”) and Blendin (Justin Roiland, “Rick and Morty”) make an appearance, while the gnome photo reveals the plot of the first episode. However, the most notable part of the intro is the whispered message at the end of it, which when played backward sounds like someone saying “three letters back.” This applies to the secret messages put in the outro of each episode for the audience to crack, starting off the show with a mystery right from the get-go.

The “Gravity Falls” intro pulls the viewer into the mystery by ensuring that they are asking questions from the very beginning, all while having great, iconic music to go along with it. It’s not just a legendary intro, but a legendary start to a legendary show.

Daily Arts Contributor Avery Adaeze Uzoije can be reached at

Kim Possible

With all due respect to Nickelodeon, few TV networks were pumping out iconic theme songs quite like Disney Channel back in the day. “That’s So Raven,” “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Phineas and Ferb,” “Hannah Montana”… the list goes on and on. Nevertheless, a champion must be chosen, and I bestow the top spot to “Kim Possible.” I promise I am not being even mildly facetious in saying that this show has one of the catchiest theme songs of all time. “Call me / Beep me / If you wanna reach me”? If you were born after 1990 I know you just sang that. I didn’t even know what a pager was in the ’00s and could still tell that this was a verifiable bop.

From the opening “duh-duhn duh-duhn” techno beat to the shots of Kim (Christy Carlson Romano, “Even Stevens”) doing backflips in both her cheerleading uniform and her espionage outfit to her “what’s the sitch?” tagline, this intro captured the split dynamic of her double life perfectly. She was just your “basic average girl… here to save the world.” Even the animation had such a distinct style, laid out in cool tones and high-tech gridlines to mimic the edgy futuristic feel of Kim’s spy gadgets. A spy-gear-chic aesthetic, if you will. Beyond the pager references and Kim’s endless crop-top low-rise pant combos, nothing about this intro feels dated in the least, and it is just as iconic as I remember it. Kim was impossibly cool, always saving the day and looking slay while doing it (I have a running theory that she is so Buffy-coded) and this intro sequence was simply as epic as she was.

TV Beat Editor Serena Irani can be reached at

That ‘70s Show

“Hangin’ out down the street / the same old thing we did last week” could not be a more apt way to describe how small-town kids spend their free time. It’s also an intro line so catchy I find myself singing along to it on every rewatch of “That ‘70s Show.” The friendships of Point Place are the beating heart of the series; it’s only fitting that the intro sequence makes you want to be a part of this iconic group. Every episode is introduced by the slammin’ lyrics of a ’70s rock medley sung by one of the grooviest bands of the era, Cheap Trick. The montage cutting different combinations of characters together in the same car is lively and fast-paced. It’s so fun and lighthearted in showing off how each character’s distinct personality meshes with the rest. They’re not up to anything super out of the ordinary, but they make it look so cool

All the little details in this intro make it absolutely unforgettable in the sitcom arena. The familiar shouts of a band’s “Hello Wisconsin!” as the shot holds on the back of a license plate feels larger than life. One of the most interesting details is the plate tab in the corner marking the year the episode takes place (even when they start to drag them out for multiple seasons). The formulaic intro shifts in the final season – an important indicator to lock up season eight, throw away the key and pretend it doesn’t exist – but by this point, it had transcended the realm of your everyday episode interlude. As far as I’m concerned, this intro changed the entire teen comedy world.

Daily Arts Contributor Mina Tobya can be reached at

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)”

The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” franchise is a generational treasure that is constantly evolving and improving on itself, having a generally dark theme and interesting plot lines, while also somehow being about turtle teens eating pizza with their rat dad. Along with the general underlying absurdity this show has to offer, the theme songs all go incredibly hard, and my personal favorite is the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)” theme song.

That iconic eight-syllable-and-four-word rhythm fits perfectly with the kickass background music, with each individual turtle getting a comic-book-like segment of introduction (similar to that in the “Teen Titans” theme song — another classic). Along with the neatness of the animation, the rap segment that lists all the members’ names and archetypes is the absolute cherry on top. I could only guess how many times I practiced reciting it when I was younger because of how much I loved it, and I feel that the segment combined with the animated introductions makes this “one mean, lean, green, incredible …” theme.

When I bring this up in conversation (which I do embarrassingly often) with my friends who are fans of the TMNT franchise (which I have a decent amount of), I’m often asked “Yeah, the 2012 version does go hard, but what about the original one?” Regarding that, I, as a person who was introduced to TMNT through the 2012 series, will fully admit that the combination of nostalgia and earworm-itude makes me ridiculously biased on this theme song being my favorite. However, it is still an undeniably great theme song regardless, and I’d be hard-pressed to say that this doesn’t deserve its due.

Daily Arts Contributor Avery Adaeze Uzoije can be reached at