Top 11 TV Show Intros – Nostalgia Critic

Did your favorite show make the list? Find out as the Nostalgia Critic counts down the Top 11 TV Show Intros!

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


    • Excellent list, Doug and a lot of these are on my list as well.

      I had literally forgotten about Bucky O Hare until this video came along. Damn, that was a cool show even though I didn’t see much of it.

      I’m nearly pushing 40 and can still sing The Fresh Prince of Bell Air song word for word. XD

      Funny thing about #1, I actually saw the cartoon first far before the movie and surprisingly enjoyed the cartoon more for some reason.

      Great list and it brought back memories to the days of my generation (late 70’s-80’s) and the shows we had to watch before kids had their fancy Netflix 😛

  1. Heart-Lightning

    And yet none of them will compare to an average anime opening. Just saying. =P

    • Hey now, the X-Men opening is quite awesome!

      *looks at Japanese version*

      Ok, fuck it, you’re right. XD

      • You might also want to compare the German intro of the Ruby-Spears Mega Man to its American version. The German one is more simplistic but so much better in my opinion.

    • Not true. There are some anime openings which aren’t very good. You have to think of the what he said: Audio, effort, visuals and atmosphere play a role. If an opening can’t get you interested, it’s a failure. It’s a law that both the west and the east follow. I know you said ‘average’, but when something is average, it’s not good nor bad. It’s in the middle; so not much thought will be drawn to it.

      • Three Degrees of Bacon

        Point of order: Heart-Lightning was comparing average anime opening to average Western opening. It is possible to compare the average of two different sets and claim one is superior.

      • Three Degrees of Bacon

        Are you going to do a top 11 anime openings then? Because you set up for it? And I tried thinking up my own list, and I was like, “No, that’s anime. That’s anime too.” The first ones that came to my mind? Zoids: Chaotic Century. This one is just clips from the show, so you would have discounted it anyway. (At least, the American release does that. The Japanese does a completely different opening). But let me paint a picture for you. A computer screen lights up with one word: ALERT. Then we see a military base blow up, and from the smoking ruins a mecha saber-toothed tiger emerges, though still shrouded by shadow. We then flash to various scenes of giant robot animals fighting. All the while we get a sick guitar solo and just one word being shouted: ZOIDS! Two words if you count “Ohh…..” building up to shouting “Zoids!”

        My second pick, again disqualified for anime, is Digimon. I know this isn’t your thing, and you probably won’t think too highly, seeing as you’ve heard it gutted in the “Digirap” opening for Digimon: the Movie. But just the image of 7 kids falling into letters composed of terrain… it rocks.

      • ShadowsTwilight

        Which is probably why he said “average anime opening” as opposed to “any anime opening”.

        • Question: Do all these “good” anime openings use the same idea as Thundercats? Are they ever different?

          All I ever see of anime are the light shows, ‘splosions, and lines indicating fast movement. I get bored seeing the same thing over and over.

          • sure compare death note to dragon ball to cowboy bebop.

          • there is this anime, i always tell people to go watch when they say anime is for children, called:

            Paranoia Agent

            its opening, is not only insane, but, it has alot of secrets of the series, there, for when you finish watching, and start noticing…

            besides this one, i would say, FMA has some very good ones,
            Naruto’s second opening is probably one of the most loved openings(but im not that fan of it to be honest), and Baccano!
            is also very fun.

    • I’d say many can compete with anime openings. While there’s a lot of cool intros for anime, the majority of them are usually just commercialized music videos for some J-Pop singer/band’s song that doesn’t have much relevance to what’s actually going on-screen. They’re mostly songs made completely disconnected from the franchise they’re used for, which is a bit of a cheat.

      I’m also not too big on how some of them are presented these days. Back then, they actually tried to sell what the story and tone of the show is, but these days every anime intro is storyboarded by people with the minds of pretentious teenage girls, trying to look “artsy” and “2deep4u” by making characters pose all melancholic like supermodels, people randomly falling from the sky, someone shedding sparkly tears, running on the spot, and random imagery that doesn’t really mean anything. It comes off as cheesy when they’re done like that, and it’s especially prevalent in today’s anime compared to older series.

    • Well, “average anime openings” are too fucking same. Like yeah, they look pretty cool and song are mostly awesome, but when you see same cliches again, againg and again… Yeah, not that original.
      Yes, we have a lot of animes with some unique intros with teir own unique style, like Samoorai Champloo opening, or third Blood+ opening, or weird SHAFT’s anime openings like Ef~ and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (some SZS openings is just TOO ARTSY) or… well more and more. But most of anime openings are “goodlooking but repititive”.
      Also, japanese openings sometimes contains a lot of spoilers (worst example – D.Gray-Man, when first opening shows even things which would happen in anime LONG AFTER THEY CHANGE OPENING TWISE) or just misguiding (like japanese opening for Transformers Animated)

      • thatchickwithlonghair

        It doesn’t matter that they’re repetitive; they just need to be good at what they do….and so many of them are brilliant at what they do: make you want to watch the series.

        • I agree. They aren’t bad, most of anime intros are wery good. But I just don’t think they are that better then non-japanede TV-shows intros. “Average anime opening” isn’t way better then most of intros in this NC Top. Hell, Thundercat’s intro look like kind of generic shounen anime’s opening.

      • Most anime openings pretty much look the same, with only a couple of exceptions.

  2. This is just terrible. Why is the quality of the video and audio constantly changing? And it keeps jumping to random part of the video while I watch it. It was like that with the JW review too, the hell is going on?

    • Seriously, I can barely get through the video, is it going to be like that all the time now?

    • Try out Blip. Like the page says, if you’ve got trouble with the new player (as I do, for example), the old option is still available through the link.

    • Yeah… It made it sound like Doug was talking through a tin can. Not exactly the best player for those of us on satellite net because it’s too variable. That’s why youtube has recently annoyed me too, though they at least seem to have gotten better about allowing you to pause and allow buffering so you can load the whole video before watching it instead of only loading a tiny piece at a time and forcing you to move through it to be able to load the next part.

  3. Great list! But I would’ve included The Magic School Bus intro in it. It’s so catchy, takes you on the best field trip ever and makes school and learning totally awesome.

    • Victoria Heckman

      Oh, my God, yes. That was a fun intro and a fun show.
      In retrospect I think what I like most about it is that it focused on science lessons, but the episodes themselves were very character-driven, so they also had lessons about compromising, not jumping to conclusions about others, acceptance, and all that good stuff.

    • It is really awesome! I always loved feel so much nostalgia whenever I hear the song and/or see the intro. 😀

    • sophronia_chaos

      Oh HELL yes! Surfin’ on the sound waves, swingin’ through the stars! Also, you know who sang the theme song? Little Richard. Little fucking Richard. How can that not make the cut? Maybe it’s too recent for Doug, since he’s in his 30s. Same with the intro to Bill Nye the Science Guy, which to this day makes me sing “BILL BILL BILL BILL BILL” out loud.

    • Maybe he wasn’t nostalgic about this show. If he was, he would reference the show on his reviews already.

  4. one day i think Steven Universe will be nostaglic enough to be on this list, cause that opening is definitely great and catchy! Especially the season 2 one.
    I really hope you’ll do a review of Escape from Tomorrowland soon!

  5. Victoria Heckman

    Excellent list.
    I was a little disappointed the “Heathcliff” opening didn’t make the list, but looking at the other competitors I can see why. I really like the “Heathcliff” intro more so because it just puts me in a really good mood; it’s probably not as adrenaline-inducing for others as it is for me.

    That said, I was expecting/hoping the “Beetlejuice” opening would make it to the #6 spot, but, Hallelujah to all things spooky and awesome, I’m glad it made it to #1.
    (I was also glad the “Tales from the Crypt” intro made it high on the list as well. Danny Elfman almost always puts me in the mood for some creepy and kooky escapism.)

  6. This may be Anime but I don’t care!


  7. Wow, talk about Nostalgia. I remember watching most of these shows, But the No. 1 completely forgot about. Odd, considering how memorable it looks.

  8. Critic From The Future

    I honestly think that the animation in that Beetlejuice intro probably outranks 90% of animated shows today (certainly in terms of effort). I mean, just look at an episode of Family Guy, which is basically just still images with a mouth tacked on, and look at this. Kinda makes me sad.

    • But Family Guy has no need to be well animated when most of the time is about characters talking to each other. Do you really need good animation for 2 characters standing and talking?

    • Not really sure why you’re comparing anything to Family Guy when it represents the current low-point of animation quality, with South Park being the only thing with worse animation. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against these shows, but the animation is horrible. Like the previous person said, though, it really doesn’t need to be great animation when most of its content is told through dialogue. Pretty much any cartoon that’s NOT “for adults” has pretty epic animation. Gravity Falls, Steven Universe, MLP (though, honestly, the intro has worse animation than the show itself in that example)…. Maybe you just need to watch better cartoons?

  9. hm…weird no A-Team intro i did like it or airwolf or Transformers G1? but heck prince of bell-air is in it and also johhny quest i accept it 😛

  10. thatgirlinthewheelchair

    Ummm…Doug this is great, as always, but didn’t you already do this? I remember watching a Top 11 Catchiest Theme Songs video a few years ago. Some of your choices are even the same? I mean, it’s still a great video but I just got the worst case of deja vu!

    • No, those were the top 11 songs played I the beginnings of shows. This is the top 11 beginning SEQUENCES. There is a difference.
      Now that I’m typing this down, I’m seeing how similar these two top 11 lists are the same.

  11. Does Doug not remember The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest? The opening shows Questworld, a virtual reality the Quests created from terrible mid-90s TV CGI.

    Questworld was only in a handful of episodes, but ALL of the marketing for the show was based around it.

    • stcerberusengel

      Going back looking at The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest, I cringe every time they go into Questworld. I know that the show had budgetary problems, but when compared to something like Transformers: Beast Wars or Reboot, it just looks terrible. Hell, as much as I love the movie, even The Lawnmower Man had better CGI!

      • It wasn’t just budgetary issues. One show-runner wanted to focus on the utilization of Questworld while the other just wanted to tell stories.

  12. Oh, Doug, you made me SO happy when you included not only Jonny Quest (I swear, I don’t remember anything of that show, but as a kid I always had good memories of it just because of that theme song and intro), but Bucky O’Hare. When I was a kid, I didn’t watch a lot of TV, but instead VHS’s of certain shows over and over, like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Talespin, Ducktales, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, and Bucky O’Hare. As someone who grew up watching three VHS’s of the show over and over and watched other episodes later, I will admit Bucky O’Hare isn’t for everybody — some of the storylines seem forced and things sometimes just get weird. But for me, it’s kind of the way you described Cowboys of Moo Mesa in your WTR? series — it’s a show that shouldn’t have had anything going for it for how weird the concept was (hell, it’s a green rabbit, a mutant duck, a psychic cat, a robot, an ape and a human boy genius from our world fighting an empire of toads in space) but ended up still being very entertaining. It’s just a shame it only lasted one season. Apparently it was based off a comic book series, and I haven’t read that, but I don’t think that series lasted too long either. I don’t know if it’ll be to your tastes, Doug, but give one or two episodes a watch — you might find something fun. I sure did! 🙂

  13. Emperor.Hampton

    I haven’t heard of a good half of these shows. Perhaps I’m just too young. My childhood shows were Avatar: The Last Airbender, Teen Titans (the original Cartoon Network show, not that… thing they have now), and Code Lyoko. So, a very well-told backstory and set-up for the series, an awesome but simple opening, and… wires and clips from the show. Yeah.

    • I will definitely give a shout-out to both Code Lyoko and Teen Titans (Teen Titans Go! can burn in hell) — their intros/theme songs were friggin’ awesome. And of course Avatar is a masterpiece. 🙂

      • sophronia_chaos

        The Code Lyoko theme was so delightfully over-the-top cheesy. And I also loved the Teen Titans theme, especially how Puffy AmiYumi sang the Japanese version before a screwball episode.

        • I never see anyone else talk about Code Lyoko! Then they made it live action for some reason, and, no, just no. Its also the best thing to come out of France since French bread (Insert Les Mis review reference here).

          Also, I just read IGN’s top 100 Animated Shows, and not only did they put Avatar at 38, below f*cking BEVIS AND BUTTHEAD at 5, this is a direct quote from A:TLA’s entry. “The Avatar phenomenon is sure to grow even more with the upcoming release of three live-action movies directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan.”

  14. Game of Thrones, Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Goosebumps – I’m honestly surprised you didn’t include nor even mention ANY of those. They have among the most amazing intros I have ever seen. Instead, you chose Pee-Wee’s Playhouse… and, some other forgettable shows as well. I only agreed with half of your list, barely.

    • The list is base on his personal taste and what he saw. He probably hasn’t watched those shows or even seen them, so that’s why they aren’t on the list.

      • He’s definitely watched Batman: The Animated Series and loves it. He probably had a hard time picking the choices that weren’t instantly obvious.

    • Also, no Twin Peaks?

    • Wait a second… Yeah! Where the hell is Batman: TAS intro?!

    • Game of Thrones, True Blood, M.A.S.H, Friends, Duck Tales, Gummy Bears, Mission Impossible, Airwolf, The A Team….
      Yeah it is like there is a second set of criteria he didn’t mention, like targeted age, or that they have to animated or puppets (except for Fresh Prince). He should probably just have removed Fresh Prince and said this was only for animated or puppet shows. Or perhaps even have dropped the puppets, because where is Fraggle Rock or Muppet show?

  15. Not ONE DC Animated Universe show?


    • Well Superman is knocked out for the clip show part of it. As is The Adventures of Batman & Robin.

      But the rest of the DCAU is golden. Even though the New Batman/ Superman Adventures opening has clips in it, I’d still put it worthy of the list since the majority was paired with great animation over it only for the intro. Heck listening to the commentary for the Batman Beyond DVD’s, the shot near the end of the Beyond intro with Batman surrounded by all the thugs is actually a statuette and kind of a panoramic shot of it

  16. Anticipating the obvious question: What about B:TAS?
    Providing obvious answer: Batman has been mentioned and praised plenty.

    This is my first brush with anticipointment.
    Jack of All Trades: Good show. Definitely full of the campy and humor you’d expect from the dynamic duo of Raimi and Campbell. I think it Spiderman killed it. Raimi went to direct and took most of the good people with him.

    Bucky O’Hare: The intro was the best part of the show. Like other TMNT clones, anthro-animals fight other anthro-animals who are goons.

    Danny Elfman: Sorry I know DW loves him. He just isn’t my bag. Beetlejuice and Crypt Keeper should get back in the line with Pee Wees Playhouse. 1 and 2 not so much.

    I’d add Superman the Animated Series. That was the best theme since the first movie. It had the soaring anthems and triumphant trumpets for a great heroic adventure.

  17. I’m kinda of surprised he didn’t put the intros to Animaniacs and Tiny Toons, on here, I was really expecting him to.

    however I do agree with #1, that intro was AMAZING!!! it’s one of the very VERY few early 90s cartoon I remember watching that wasn’t a Nickelodeon show.

    and…I’m sorry but I can’t be the only one who actually thinks the animation of those mid 90s Marvel comic shows was actuality kind of atrocious, can I? it was a little better in the intros, but the show itself the animation looks so choppy and rushed and very poorly choreographed. it’s almost as if they ripped the panels straight out of the comic and tried to use them as keyframes, which, as an animator myself I can confirm, yeah, NOT a good idea. I don’t know, I just always thought the animation of the 90s Marvel comicbook shows was awful.

  18. Huh. I’ve never seen any of these shows. Not one.
    I’m kind of surprised Batman: The Animated Series or Avatar: The Last Airbender didn’t make the list.

    • sophronia_chaos

      Possibly because neither really has much of a theme song? But both those intros are excellent, especially AtLA.

      • I don’t think the A:tLA opening is that good. Everything else in the show is gold, but the opening becomes boring really quick. It’s basically just backstory narration, and while it does a good job at explaining the backstory at the beginning, when you see it for the fourth time, it’s not interesting anymore.

        Unlike Batman:TAS…I’m really surprised that’s not on the list, especially seeing how much Doug praises the show usually. Probably that’s the reason why he left it out.

    • SailorRustyBacon

      I think Fresh Prince still airs on Nick at Night. You should give that a chance, at least. James Avery, the original voice of The Shredder, plays Will Smith’s uncle. That’s where us old fogies coined the nickname, “Uncle Shredder.”

  19. No “Game Of Thrones”-Intro? Seems like Doug has never seen GoT befor.

  20. X-Men is only seven? Okay… Also review Sonic Underground

  21. Doug, you have been doing a lot of show related stuff in between your reviews. Not that I’m complaining.

  22. I’ve got to agree with Mr. Walker here: How did I never hear about Jack of All Trades?!!?

  23. I can’t believe he didn’t put Batman: The Animated series on this. I seriously expecting it to be number one. And Freekazoid! How could those two not be on the list if not given some honorary mentions.

  24. The Pee-Wee’s Playhouse opening was really wacky.

  25. I guess it’s only mosty animated TV shows, because otherwise the Friends song would def make. Talk about a that everyone sings along too and does the tripe clap as well (sounds dirty).

    As fas as anime, DBZ, Gundam Wing, and Attack of the Titans.

  26. The Mysterious M

    Uh…didn’t he already do this? And if not, then what’s the difference between an Intro and a theme song?

    • The song itself is just a catchy earworm. But this is about how the whole damn intro (regardless how well the song accompanying it is) is just one big overwhelming spectacle of WOAH!!!

  27. i am surprised at the lack of Animaniacs & Batman: TAS in the list, granted they got more than enough praise but is still surprising

    An opening i would add there is the Thunderbirds/Thunderbirds are Go! openings, There’s problem & International Rescue is there to save the day, and the opening shows that with a catchy tune & a preview of the episode, also The Secret Saturdays: a good upgrade of Johnny Quest’s opening, & If you need help and you can locate them, maybe you can call the A-Team

  28. Think you should have done Goosebumps instead of Tales from the Crypt

    Please do a top 11 Anime Opening

  29. Wow very good top 11 but was truly let down with the top spot.


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