As a fervent viewer of television, one thing I love to discuss is the TV theme songs. A great show can be made better (or sometimes worse) because of a great theme. Similarly, a great spoken-word introduction can cement its place into the minds of many, not to mention bring to light some backstory. With that, we conclude our 4-part Top 5 TV Themes series with the Top 5 Spoken Word introductions.
The rules for this week are as follows: the introduction can only be spoken, not sung, and it has to be the first theme to open the show, it, however, does not have to be the only theme (there could be a sung or instrumental theme later on in the program). With that, here’s our #5 pick with…
5. Quantum Leap, NBC
The later intro video (showing a timeline, Sam Beckett [Scott Bakula] kissing women, &c.) is better than this one, but frankly, I didn’t have a lot of choices, and this did indeed provide backstory necessary to understanding the show…and it’s sort of uplifting.
4. The Pretender, NBC
The first season’s intro (“There are extraordinary individuals among us known as Pretenders. Geniuses with the ability to insinuate themselves into any walk of life, to literally become anyone. In 1963, a corporation called the Centre isolated one such Pretender, a young boy named Jarod. Locked in a controlled environment they exploited his genius for their “unofficial research. Then, one day, their Pretender ran away.”), simple – just the spoken word intro in blue text on a black background – yet incredibly spooky and effective, of course, in NBC’s infinite wisdom, had to be replaced with this audio file right here:
3. Sliders, Fox/Sci Fi
This opening, from Season 2, provides backstory, a brief overview of what the characters have gone through, and some awesome graphics. Also, this is before Sliders jumped the shark:
2. Avatar: The Last Airbender, Nickelodeon
I wanted to include a cartoon in one of the lists of the series, and this one is a perfect dark-horse for this set. Avatar was a show with a season-long story arc – rare for cartoons. As a result, it needs a good presentation of backstory – showing the four nations, the war, and the loss and reincarnation of the Avatar, the master of all four bending techniques. However, as good an intro it was, it isn’t on YouTube.
But you all knew the #1 pick, as it’s…
1. Law & Order and its ilk, NBC
There is no spoken-word opening better than Law & Order‘s. It’s about as memorable to us as the “doink doink” and our Miranda Rights. However, there’s only one video of it on YouTube – of ITV’s Law & Order|UK, an adaptation of the Dick Wolf show set in London:
Join me for next week’s edition of the Wednesday Top 5, when we discuss the Top 5 Most Important Codes in History.