Friday, May 3, 2013

Top Ten Animated Openings for Live Action Shows

This was a fun list to create because it took a lot of thinking... I struggled to come up with anything in the past decade that fit this category, though it seemed to be pretty prevalent in the 80s and 90s. I included youtube clips so that you could see the intros, in the event you haven't seen a few of the more obscure ones, like Even Stevens. In brainstorming and researching, I was surprised at how many of these I was already aware of... perhaps more shows should consider doing these types of openings - they're pretty memorable, apparently!

10. Batman (1966). Here we have a live-action drama based on a comic book, and they kept the original incarnation's feel in the opening titles, even incorporating the written sound effects like "WHAP!" and "POW!" The cape lives up to expectations, the relationship between Batman and Robin is clear, and the batmobile makes an appearance as Catwoman is mentioned but not seen. What more could you ask for?

9. The Partridge Family. How could I not include such a classic? The opening starts with a rumbling egg that hatches a partridge, which grows a family as you hear the song about the family. In between we have monochromatic portraits of the actors in a simple but fashionably photographed way. I like to watch the Mama partridge walk.

8. Desperate Housewives. Admittedly, this is one that I didn't know about before I started brainstorming for this post. Having never seen the show, I didn't know what to expect and was rather taken by the opening. I particularly liked the portraits of women through time, with stops in The Garden of Eden, Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, the Rennaissance, and the twentieth century to today. Still not enough to make me tune in, but cute nonetheless.

7. Cheers. An iconic theme song with an old-time feel. Sure, we see a couple of modern cars in the opening two seconds, but then we're swept away to the world of horse-drawn carriages, the men at a bar all wearing suits, and the intermingling of black-and-white, sepia, and color. The still pictures cut into one another, zooming in and out on those before us who have had good times with those who know their names. The images changed throughout the series' eleven-year run, but the classic look did not.

6. The Mickey Mouse Club. Digging way back, this black-and-white opener even has the sponsored product depicted in animation! It's a longer intro but features the classic characters performing adorable marching band antics. This one holds a special place in my heart because it was a bedtime song what I was young, 

5. Bewitched. This one stands out in my memory because it was likely the first animated opening I ever saw for a series that wasn't actually a cartoon. I always found it funny that Sam would dress like a "traditional witch" and fly around on a broomstick in the opening when she didn't do that on the series. I particularly like the sparkly stars

4. Even Stevens. This one is technically stop-motion animation (or "claymation," if you will), but I think that's what makes it special. That, and the fact that it depicts how competitive Ren and Louis are from the time they get up until they're relaxing at home that night. The other family members only get tiny moments but they still encapsulate those personalities - Donnie is athletic, Steve is bewildered by his children's antics, and Eileen is constantly working.

3. I Dream of Jeannie. Some local station always had Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie back-to-back in syndication when I was a kid, and so I often caught the opening of Jeannie but didn't stick around to watch. I think the fact that her head came out of the bottle separately from her body freaked me out. The first season didn't have the very first part, with Major Nelson in the space capsule, but otherwise the sequence remained the same to my knowledge. This is the colorized version, rather than the original, because I found the quality better than any originals on YouTube.

2. The Nanny. Growing up, the only thing about this show's opener that I didn't like was the "joie de vivre" line - I hated that there was French in an English theme song! However, I was stunned at how much Niles, Mr. Sheffield, and Fran looked like their animated counterparts, so that made up for it. I think the funniest part of the sequence is that "she was there" and hence was hired in one of those "right-place-right-times" situations.

1. Home Improvement. The best of so many worlds... blueprints, collages, drawings, video games, sticks & stones spelling things, flashy graphics, and fade-ins all appear throughout the five different intros this series used over the course of its eight seasons. I always loved the gaming moments as a kid, but I think the quickly flashing collage for the look of the house most intrigues me now! The video for this one has the first 1:15 for the first season, then 2 & 3 until 2:30, then 4-6 until 3:23, then 7 until 4:15, then season 8 until the end. Also, be aware that the quality on this one isn't the greatest.

Comment below and let us know which animated titles are your favorites, especially if we left some out!
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