The 14 Best Opening Credit Sequences in the Past Decade of TV Dramas

With Netflix’s “Skip intro” feature, skipping the title sequence has never been easier. What’s better than getting right to the action when binging your favorite show? Not so fast. Sometimes TV intros and their theme songs are just as good as the shows themselves. In fact, they also serve an important purpose. They act to set the mood and to get you in the right frame of mind for the tone of the show that follows. Why rob yourself of that experience? While we wouldn’t consider ourselves experts, the PixlParade team collectively watches a LOT of TV so here’s what we think are some of the best title sequences TV dramas have had to offer over the past 10 or so years.


14) Daredevil (2015- )

Song: “Main Title”
Artist: John Paesano
Visual effects studio: Elastic/ A52
Why we love it: Very red, crimson, and dark. This reflects the fact that our hero cannot see in the traditional sense but relies on other heightened senses to navigate and fight.


13) Homeland (2011- )

Song: “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (and other audio samples)
Artist: Gil Scott-Heron
Visual effects studio: TCG Studio
Why we love it: By Claire Danes own admission this TV intro is basically just random nonsense but it fits so well with the CIA and political themes.


12) American Horror Story (2011- )

Song: “Main Theme”
Artist: Cesar Davila-Irizarry (written) and Charlie Clouser (performed)
Visual effects studio: Prologue Films
Why we love it: This show is known for the creepy, uneasy feeling it leaves you with and it all starts with this bone-chilling title sequence.


11) Shameless (2011- )

Song: “The Luck You Got”
Artist: The High Strung
Visual effects studio: Sarofsky
Why we love it: What better way to show the dysfunction that is the Gallagher family than to montage the daily goings on of the household bathroom.


10) The Leftovers (2014-2017)

Song: “Let the Mystery Be”
Artist: Iris Dement
Visual effects studio: Elastic
Why we love it: These opening credits are from the second and arguably strongest season of the show. This mystery-ridden show evokes a range of emotions you probably didn’t even know you were capable of feeling; making you feel disturbed and melancholy one moment to confused and blissful the next. The song and imagery in this opening theme coincides wonderfully with the way the show makes you feel.


9) Orange is the New Black (2013- )

Song: “You’ve Got Time”
Artist: Regina Spektor
Visual effects studio: TCG Studio
Why we love it: The show is based around a fictional women’s prison, the opening title sequence on the other hand, features raw, in your face images of real women who were all formerly incarcerated themselves. The song is a perfect fit too; eliciting the feeling of being trapped in a cage like an animal.


8) Preacher (2016- )

Song: “Preacher Main Title Theme”
Artist: Dave Porter
Visual effects studio: Picturemill
Why we love it: The opening credits for Preacher are big, bold, and stylish, just like the show. Giant typography with obscure scenes from the show masked within them tells you up front, “This show is weird and wild, get used to it.”


7) The Americans (2013- )

Song: “The Americans Main Title”
Artist: Nathan Barr
Visual effects studio: Elastic
Why we love it: This show is about two Soviet spies who have infiltrated the Untied States and are living undercover as an American family. The show is set during the Cold War and the opening credits make that very apparent. Brimming with quick shots of Cold War-era propaganda, subliminal messages, and both Soviet Union and American culture in the 1980s, it truly stands out above other TV intros.


6) The Man in the High Castle (2015- )

Song: “Edelweiss”
Artist: Jeanette Olsson
Visual effects studio: Elastic
Why we love it: Edelweiss was created in 1959 for the musical The Sound of Music as a symbol of patriotism and resistance against Nazis occupation during WWII. How appropriate for a television show based in an alternate reality where the Axis powers won the war and annexed the United States. This haunting rendition of the song along with Nazi imagery splashed on American landmarks sets the tone as soon as the opening credits begin.


5) Narcos (2015- )

Song: “Tuyo”
Artist: Rodrigo Amarante
Visual effects studio: DK Studios
Why we love it: The responsibility of a title sequence is to get an audience acquainted with what they should expect from the show. Narcos nails it. This show is as much about glamour and unimaginable wealth as it is about ruthlessness and violence. Mix in some gorgeous Colombian culture and a theme song that will be stuck in your head for weeks (even if you don’t speak Spanish) and you’re ready to learn about the life and death (spoilers) of Pablo Escobar and those who came after.


4) Westworld (2016- )

Song: “Main Title Theme — Westworld”
Artist: Ramin Djawadi
Visual effects studio: Elastic
Why we love it: The sensational sci-fi-meets-western series is set in a future where the rich and powerful can escape reality in a high-tech wild west-themed park populated by uncanny human-like robots called hosts that can be interacted with as you see fit. The title sequence surrounds the process of creating these hosts in the state-of-the-art 3D-printing laboratory that serves as a major set piece on the show. It’s also kind of very creepy.


3) The Walking Dead (2010- )

Song: “Main Title”
Artist: Bear McCreary
Visual effects studio: Prologue Films
Why we love it: This hit TV series has had its ups and downs but the opening credits have remained one of the most stylish and thematically relevant TV intros around. The world as we knew it is over, and they make sure you know it.


2) Stranger Things (2016- )

Song: “Stranger Things”
Artist: Survive
Visual effects studio: Imaginary Forces
Why we love it: Simple, thematic, and so so so very 80s.


1) Game of Thrones (2011- )

Song: “Game of Thrones Main Title Theme”
Artist: Ramin Djawadi
Visual effects studio: Elastic
Why we love it: Game of Thrones is arguably the best show on television and I think it’s safe to say its opening credits are by far the most iconic since The Sopranos. This stunning title sequence by Elastic (whose work makes up the majority of this list I might add) explores a map of The Known World (Westeros and Essos) zooming in on abstract animations of the shows most pertinent locales during that season and even shows the sigil of the great house that currently controls it. Of course, it would be nothing without the unforgettable theme composed by Ramin Djawadi. As a viewer, it gives you the feeling you’re a contender battling for the Iron Throne right along with the best of them.


Special mention: Peaky Blinders (2013- )

Song: “Red Right Hand”
Artist: Nic Cave & The Bad Seeds
Why we love it: Although most episodes don’t actually have a full-length intro, just hearing the small sample of this expertly selected song each episode instantly gets you in the mood for this incredible period crime drama.

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