THE SFX FACTOR: Greatest TV Title Sequences Round 7

The SFX Factor ROUND 7

Round seven, and first up, those eliminations. Now, something the judges didn’t notice yesterday when we announced there would be two shows ousted today was that that would leave 13 title sequences. And we’re a superstitious lot – we don’t like the idea of 13 left in the race. So instead, we’re going to eliminate three shows…

So 13 will truly be unlucky for one. And sadly it’s one that, if you’ve been following the competition, you’ll know is one of the judge’s favourites.

The three shows leaving today, then, are (hell let’s trash tradition and announce them in the of who got fewest votes first):

Blake’s Seven

Sapphire & Steel

Dead Like Me

Ah well, Dead Like Me had a good run. And two ’70s shows accompany it on the way not. Sapphire & Steel have not been assigned. Dodgy animation clearly isn’t in vogue with the voters.

So, once again all voting returns to zero, and round seven commences. Who will be next for the chop?

Another double elimination tomorrow. Which will leave the Top 10 . And then things will get very interesting as we announce a little change to the voting that will allow you to think tactically about your choices, should you so wish… More details tomorrow.

And remember, you can view all the remaining contenders on the following pages.

Doctor Who

Loads of our Facebook followers suggested Doctor Who for this SFX Factor , but the problem is, the show has had so many different versions over the years. Should we put them all up for the vote? Or lump them all in as one? In the end the expert panel decided to choose its own favourite – the second Pertwee opening title sequence – as a representative.

We love this one because the slit-can* time tunnel is so immediately iconic, and the haunting theme tune was arguably blessed with its best arrangement at this point. Tom Baker has a similar title for six series of his seven-series run, but this one just wins out for us because of the Doctor-shaped time tunnel effect.

* The same FX technique Stanley Kubrick used to create the star gate in 2001: A Space Odyssey .

Space: 1999

A lot of ’60 and ’70s shows incorporated clips from the upcoming episode – it was a less spoilerphobic age. Indeed, when the new Battlestar Galactica resurrected the idea, some fans would sit with their eyes closed during this bit. Space: 1999 was the zenith of the form, with the clips edited exquisitely to the music. These are the first season title with Barry Gray’s magnificent theme (Derek Wadsworth’s funky alternative for season two is okay in itself, but pales in comparison). The images of the Moon being blasted out of its orbit are gorgeous too, even if they are scientific bobbins.

The 10th Kingdom

Simply beautiful, and the version of “Wishing On A Star” chosen for the theme is spot on

Chuck

Chuck ’s snazzy opening titles are a jaunty mix of ’60s spy series imagery and techno-geekery. And we love the fact they barely changed over the entire run of the show, so that Chuck still had his fluffy hair long after Sarah had smartened him up in the actual show.

The Prisoner

This one has everything: memorable, and very quotable, voiceover; a cracking theme tune – bordering on a condensed four-movement symphony – from Ron Grainer ( Doctor Who , Steptoe And Son ) that’s every bit as brash and quirky as the show itself; a mini-storyline setting up the premise with visual panache and staccato editing; and a huge white balloon chasing a man across a beach. If this isn’t in the Top Five of SFX Factor, there’s something wrong with the universe (not that we want to influence your voting, of course…)

Thunderbirds

Another Anderson show; another work of genius. The countdown, Barry Gary’s jubilant military march, the silhouettes of the main characters, the sheer awesomeness of the Thunderbirds themselves and even the block font used for the “Supermarionation” credit all add up to a title sequence you can watch again, and again, and again…

True Blood

One of the longest title sequences on offer in this list. Good thing too, because you wouldn't want to cut off the theme song – “Bad Thing" by Jace Everett – too soon. The images are basically everything the Louisiana tourist board wouldn’t put in a video.

Red Dwarf

Specifically you’re voting for the opening title to the first two series here, before it stated using the more traditional clips approach. The version here is actually from the Remastered DVDs, but we didn’t think you’d mind it looking its best.

Fringe

Short but sweet, and worthy of inclusion here for (cleverly) being the ultimate adaptable title sequence, changing colour (and occasionally even imagery) to suite the tone of the show. To be fair to the other shows, we couldn’t really post all seven different versions so far in separate viewers, but we did find this handy compare and contrast vid of the first six above, while the latest addition to the roster can be seen here .

Game Of Thrones

Simply wonderful, and a refreshing divergence from the kind of clichéd sword’n’sorcery imagery we usually get with fantasy shows (see the Camelot titles, which are very classy looking, but exactly what you’d expect from this genre). They also brilliantly emphasise the sheer scope of the show, and new locations are added as they’re introduced into the show.

The Avengers

Class.

Babylon 5

Like Fringe, Babylon 5 ’s title sequence was built to be adaptable. The voiceover was altered slightly each year and given to a different narrator; in the final season, various characters had a line each.