If there’s one thing that 1980s television was good for, it was opening title sequences. Shows back then didn’t just have titles that told you what the show was called, they had the presence of mind to tell you everything you needed to know to watch an episode, even if you’d never heard of the show before. Why don’t more shows do that anymore?
Don’t get me wrong; even with the reduced running times of shows these days, there are still some wonderful examples of opening credits – Fox’s Human Target being just one, although I prefer the Season 1 version:
– but very few opening titles these days really try to actually introduce the concept behind the show in anything other than an abstract way. The one example that springs to mind is Battlestar Galactica:
But just look at some of these openings from the 1980s – Yes, they might seem dated in terms of fashion and/or concept, but damn, if these don’t (a) tell you everything you need to know, and (b) make the shows seem like fun ideas.
Each one, a perfect distillation of the charms of that particular show or – in the case of the Hart to Hart one, for example – much better than the show ever managed to be. I get that a lot of television has moved away from spoonfeeding audiences in this way, but I really miss this kind of catch-up intro (Now that I think about it, Leverage has something similar these days, doesn’t it? Another reason to love that show!). Just imagine how many shows could pick up new viewers if their openings were just a little bit more inviting?
Okay, maybe not.