The top 10 TV title sequences | Video, Vote in poll

Visual titles ... Michael C. Hall in Six Feet Under before his role in Dexter.
Visual titles ... Michael C. Hall in Six Feet Under before his role in Dexter.

True Detective

LA-based Australian Patrick Clair won the 2014 Emmy for the haunting title sequence of HBO's brilliant drama. The 90-second sequence is visually arresting and complex, featuring double exposures, dissolves, industrial landscapes and superimposed, manipulated shots of the faces of Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, who play the burned-out Louisiana detectives making one last and desperate bid for salvation.

True Detective video

American Horror Story

Eek. Kyle Cooper's (Se7en) 60-second sequence taps into a collective nightmare of subliminal horror. It's violent, confronting, unsettling and raw, and leaves viewers in no doubt of what lies ahead.

American Horror Story video

Breaking Bad

An example of a sequence where simplicity and thematic relevance is rolled into one. In 18 seconds, the elementary table and the smoke of a meth lab render the letters of the title. A short and sharp entree to the thrilling and nervous world of Walter White.

Breaking Bad, Full Title Sequence video


As we watch the eponymous Dexter (Michael C. Hall) undertake his morning ablutions, we are treated to seemingly disparate images: a razor blade slicing through Dexter's stubble; a cooking knife dissecting raw meat; an egg splattering on a frypan; blood dripping into a basin; a mosquito obliterated mid-meal... The effect is visceral and queasy, macabre and hilarious, repellent yet alluring, much like the dark hero of the piece.

Dexter: Morning Routine video


Network dramas are notable for their absence in the title sequence category of the Emmy awards, but this was a notable departure. A Rube Goldberg contraption is deployed to illustrate the unorthodox yet rigorously logical, cause-and-effect working of Sherlock Holmes' over-stimulated brain.

Elementary Opening Sequence video

Game of Thrones

Oscar-winning Australian editor Angus Wall created the attention-grabbing title sequences of Carnivale, Rome and Big Love before this striking Emmy-winner, which uses maps, Leonardo's machines and exquisitely rendered models of medieval cities to create the fantasy world of Westeros.

Game of Thrones video

Mad Men

For a show that pulses to the mood of Madison Avenue circa 1960, it's fitting that Mad Men's Emmy-winning credit sequence would be reminiscent of Saul Bass's remarkable work on films such as Hitchcock's North By Northwest and Vertigo. The sequence shows the black-and-white silhouette of a businessman arriving at his office, which then implodes, dispatching him through a canyon of skyscrapers lined with advertising images.

Mad Men video

Six Feet Under

By now we all know how Alan Ball's show ended – a teary six-minute flash-forward foretelling the deaths of the extended Fisher family. Yet from its first moments back in 2001, Danny Yount's Emmy-winning title sequence provided a roadmap of that finale. Yount says he initially pictured a day in the life of a mortician after hearing Thomas Newman's lyrical score.

Six Feet Under video

The Sopranos

This sequence might not rate as the most inventive, but it marked a new departure for TV. Tony Soprano's journey from Manhattan to his home in New Jersey references everyday urban locales, the ordinariness of which is a brutal counterpoint to the messy deeds that unfold in the mob drama.

Sorpanos opening credits video

True Blood

This sequences begins and ends in a primeval swamp, quite literally; in between comes a feast of icky imagery featuring outcasts of the human and animal races; hungry reptiles, hooded klansmen, good ol' boys, religious zealouts. It's one-part Dracula, one-part southern gothic.

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