Top 5: 80s TV opening credits

September 10, 2011


An opening title sequence should perfectly define the show it’s introducing through a seamless combination of music and visuals. Today, many shows forgo the traditional opening credits sequence but in the 1980s, it was an art form in itself. Here are some of our favourites from that golden age.

5. The A-Team

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… The A-Team

If you want your titles to perfectly sum up the show, then why not tell the audience all they need to know in a voiceover? When done right it can be highly effective and quotable, and The A-Team is a solid effort. It is greatly enhanced by the hummable military inspired theme tune with some classic 1980s montage and freeze frame sequences.

4. Miami Vice

Hey, Tubbs, you ever consider a career in Southern law enforcement?

Bikini clad women, all American sports, fast cars, speed boats, exotic wildlife, and Miami Ocean views combine with Jan Hammer’s iconic theme song and garish purple and green logo to make one of the defining title sequences of the era. There’s nothing to suggest that there’s going to be any police work going on but viewers can be sure that whatever they see is going to stylish.

3. The Wonder Years

When you’re a little kid you’re a bit of everything; Scientist, Philosopher, Artist. Sometimes it seems like growing up is giving these things up one at a time. 

The Wonder Years chronicled the life of young Kevin Arnold as he grew up in a typical American suburb between 1968 and 1973.  What better to evoke the era and domestic set up than cine film footage of the Arnold family life accompanied by the great Joe Cocker’s version of The Beatles hit “With a Little Help from My Friends.”

2. Knight Rider

A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist.

There is no more iconic image than the Cylon light enhanced Pontiac Trans-Am speeding through the desert against the purple sky. The repetitious electronica sound is the perfect accompaniment to the fetishistic shots of the LED covered dashboard and David Hasselhoff looking more manly than he ever would again.

1. Cheers

Where everybody knows your name.

Are you searching for that authentic pub atmosphere but don’t want to leave your chair? Well Cheers was the place to go. This opening title sequence uses a series of stills from history showing  no matter how much society changes, people always want a drink. The images are warm, the logo glistens and the theme tune should never fail to raise a smile.

Have a favourite title sequence from the 80s? Share with us in the comments section below!

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