The Ten Best TV Main Title Sequences of All Time

I love main title sequences, so coming up with a list of the 10 Best TV Main Title Sequences of All-Time was no easy feat. But here goes, in no particular order:

Hawaii Five-O

Mission Impossible

Game of Thrones

Mary Tyler Moore Show

Star Trek

Gilligan’s Island

The Avengers

The Twilight Zone

Law & Order

The Outer Limits

To me, these are the sequences that best combine great visuals and a killer theme with a clear statement of the series franchise. Also, every one of these sequences became instant and stylistically influential icons. (Note: The Mary Tyler Moore Show sequence in the video playlist below is *not* the version I would have used… but it was the only one available on YouTube)

You can watch them all here:

15 Main Title Sequences From Quinn Martin Shows

I used to love all of those Quinn Martin-produced cop shows when I was a kid…and they remain a guilty pleasure of mine today. Here are fifteen main title sequences from Quinn Martin’s shows…14 series and one unsold pilot.

Dan August

Most Wanted

Tales of the Unexpected (Full Episode)

The FBI

Cannon

The Invaders

Barnaby Jones

A Man Called Sloane (Full Episode)

The New Breed

Banyon

The Streets of San Francisco

The Fugitive

Operation Runaway (Full Pilot Movie)

12 O’Clock High

Escapade An unsold pilot — Quinn Martins attempt to remake THE AVENGERS.

Five More TV Shows That Changed Their Themes

Here are five more TV shows that changed their themes over the years….in most cases changing from instrumentals to songs or vice-versa.

Gimme a Break
(two different songs!)

Eight is Enough (from instrumental to a song)



The Farmer’s Daughter (two different instrumental themes)


F-Troop (from a song to an instrumental)

Season 2

Wagon Train (from a song to an instrumental)

Eleven Original TV Show Openings & Their Reboots

Reboots of classic TV series are all the rage now. Here are the original main titles sequences of eleven popular series…and the opening themes of their re-imagined, re-booted, and sometimes regurgitated reincarnations.

Hawaii Five-O

Mission Impossible

Adam-12

Charlie’s Angels

Bionic Woman

The Munsters

Star Trek

Dragnet

Battlestar Galactica

Knightrider

Kung Fu

TV Shows That Changed Their Names… But Not Their Themes

Still more TV theme fun. Here are some shows that changed their names…but not their themes.

Golden Girls became Golden Palace


All in the Family became Archie Bunkers Place

Valerie became Valerie’s Family and became The Hogans



Make Room for Daddy became The Danny Thomas Shows and became Make Room for Granddaddy



Dragnet became LA Dragnet

Eight More Shows that Changed Their TV Themes

Here are eight more shows that changed their TV themes during their run…

James at 15 aka James at 16


House Calls
Season 1
Season 2

Starsky & Hutch




Hardcastle & McCormick


The New Flipper


Baywatch Nights


1-800-Missing aka Missing


Baywatch Hawaii


Seven Shows That Changed Their Names… and Their TV Themes

More TV Theme fun. Here are seven series that changed the name of their show and their theme during their run.

1-800-Missing became Missing...


Sanford and Son became Sanford Arms


Baywatch became Baywatch Hawaii




Temperatures Rising became the New Temperatures Rising




Danger Man became Secret Agent


SeaQuest DSV became SeaQuest 2032
SeaQuest


THe Virginian became The Men from Shiloh


Five TV Shows That Added Or Removed Lyrics From Their Themes

I’ve been having fun with these TV theme posts. So here’s another one. There have been a few shows that began with instrumental themes…and then added lyrics to them…or that started with theme songs and then later dropped the lyrics. Here are five examples:

Here Come the Brides


That Girl


Baretta


The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis


Buck Rogers
Pilot Theme

14 More TV Shows That Changed Their Theme Songs

I had such a great response to my post 12 TV Shows That Changed Their Themes that I’ve collected fourteen more examples of shows that scrapped one theme tune for an entirely different one.

The Bold Ones


Sheriff Lobo


Season 2

Ohara


Happy Days


Baywatch


Cagney & Lacey



OHara

I Dream of Jeannie


The Drew Carey Show

Nash Bridges



Hazel
(changed the theme twice.. in seasons 4 & 5)

The New Dick Dyke Show


Julia

The Smith Family

Babylon Five

12 TV Shows That Changed Their Theme Song

I love TV themes. The best ones become iconic, part of our cultural fabric… like Hawaii Five-O, Peter Gunn, Star Trek, The Addams Family and The Brady Bunch to name just a few. But several famous shows completed scrapped their opening themes… some early on as they were finding their way and some later in their runs to revitalize the series. Here are 12 examples (three of them shows that I worked on):

Kojak


Bonanza


Lost in Space

Season 1
Season 3

Magnum PI


Land of the Giants
Season 1
Season 2

Simon & Simon


The Avengers


SeaQuest


Space: 1999


Walker Texas Ranger


Monk


Martial Law
Season One
Season Two