Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Just for Starters

I generally try to keep this blog (about politics, culture, science, history, manifest buffoonery, etc.) separate from my other blog, The Rap Sheet, which is all about crime fiction. But I have been doing something over at The Rap Sheet for the last month that I think would appeal to readers of Limbo, as well. At least those with the same idiosyncratic interests that I possess.

In early July, I wrote:
I’ve been thinking about doing this for several months now. I almost put it together for The Rap Sheet’s second anniversary in May, but was just too busy with other editorial responsibilities at the time. My original thought was to post, in one mammoth feature, all of what I consider to be the 25 best main title sequences ever created in the American TV crime-drama field--a purely subjective shortlist, to be sure. But after giving it more thought, I decided that it made more sense to break up my list into weekly installments. So, from now until the end of 2008--and at the risk of stepping on Lee Goldberg’s toes--I’ll be posting an opening sequence from a new or dusty private eye, police, or spy drama every Wednesday.
Had I gone with my original idea, and posted about all of my favorite TV openers at once, the write-ups about each would likely have been fairly brief. But rolling this project out over six months leaves me more time to think about each of my favorites. Consequently, the posts are clocking in at 1,200 words long and longer. Plenty of room to remember some older shows, write fondly of their stars, and remark on the strengths and weaknesses of main title sequences.

So far, I’ve championed seven TV crime-drama openers. Counting down from 25, they are:

• 25. Police Woman (1974-1978)
• 24. Honey West (1965-1966)
• 23. Matt Helm (1975-1976)
• 22.
Veronica Mars (2004-2007)
• 21. The Equalizer (1985-1989)
• 20: Mannix (1967-1975)

And, of course, today’s selection:

• 19: Dexter (2006- )

I have of course embedded that distinguished last main title sequence at the top of this post.

This isn’t a definitive list. How could it be? There will undoubtedly be some TV viewers who disagree with my choices, and who would have picked show starters that I shall not. Furthermore, I’ve limited myself to American television series (with only one exception), since those are the ones I know best. So don’t be looking for me to choose the lead-in to The Persuaders or Randall and Hopkirk: Deceased. I’ll leave the British TV rundown for somebody else more qualified to compile.

Feel free to take a look through my whole “Best TV Crime Drama Openers” series, when you get a chance. Can’t you feel the nostalgia already?

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