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Opening theme songs and TV/Cartoon shows

The most beloved (and not necessarily great) television/cartoon shows tend to have unforgettable, epic opening songs that have undeniably helped them attained cult statuses. But, more recently, due to strict runtime or creative choices, shows have distanced themselves from such practice, choosing instead very short intro music, for instance, Breaking Bad (20secs) as opposed to the more traditional 1-1:30min long intro.

Analyze how a great opening song can contribute to the popularity of a TV/cartoon show even if it is not of great quality or does not hold up in time. Are theme songs more than just accompaniment? With the market slowly being dominated by streaming, will the practice and culture of the opening songs still be relevant (especially when you can skip the intro)?

  • "5,4,3,2,1. Thunderbirds are Go!" In my opinion, probably the best ever intro to a children's tv series. Instantly recognisable. Unforgettable. It still brings a smile to my face even now. – Amyus 2 years ago
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  • Amyus - what's interesting is that I am more familiar with the theme song as opposed to the actual show! – kpfong83 2 years ago
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  • From my experience, some of my favorite anime first came to my attention by having really cool opening themes. So, they definitely make a big impression. It might help as well to draw a distinction between opening theme songs that are memorable and those that are "good" in a musical sense. – Debs 2 years ago
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  • Debs - I thought about anime openings as well but I think they deserve a whole topic on their own. The fact that they can recruit J-pop singers or well-known singers is astounding. I mean, some artists made a career out of anime songs. – kpfong83 2 years ago
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  • I think since the intro is (as the name implies) typically the first thing a viewer sees when they watch a show, there's a need to make as big an impression as possible right out of the gate. That's partially why many theme songs and openings are so flashy, so they can get your attention right away. They also need to set the tone of the show to give audiences an idea of what kind of show they're in for. – Daniel C. Hein 2 years ago
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  • I'm not sure where the opening to "The Flintstones" fits in here or "Underdog." Where is the cutoff between short and long? – Joseph Cernik 2 years ago
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  • I think theme songs are also useful for serving basic exposition, whether that be lyrically or visually. Off the top of my head, the lyrics of the Phineas and Ferb theme song and explain the plot pretty well, while BoJack Horseman's is instrumental but is expository in a more visual way. – haileyscomet 2 years ago
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  • Please mention Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go!, the difference in the theme songs really show the difference in the audiences, the tone of the show and the modernity of it coming back in this different format. – tingittens 2 years ago
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