Best TV Show Opening Narrations

I've written about best TV theme songs (Parts One and Two have been very popular, so Part Three will be on the way, and I'll also look at instrumental theme music someday soon), but now it's time to applaud those famous non-musical openings where spoken-word narration set the tone for the episode to follow.  Here are my choices for the greatest:

The Adventures of Superman - "Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! (Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!) Yes, it's Superman, strange visitor from another planet, who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men! Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way!"

The A-Team - "In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team."

Charlie's Angels - "Once upon a time there were three little girls who went to the police academy, (two in Los Angeles, one in San Francisco).  They were assigned very hazardous duties.  But I took them away from all that, and now they work for me.  My name is Charlie."

Dragnet - "(Ladies and gentlemen:) the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent."

Hart to Hart - "This is my boss, Jonathan Hart - a self-made millionaire. He's quite a guy. This is Mrs. H. She's gorgeous. She's one lady who knows how to take care of herself. By the way, my name is Max. I take care of both of them, which ain't easy; 'cause when they met... it was murder!"

The Incredible Hulk - "Dr. David Banner, physician/scientist, searching for a way to tap into the hidden strengths that all humans have. Then an accidental overdose of gamma radiation alters his body chemistry. And now, whenever he grows angry or outraged, a startling metamorphosis occurs. The creature is driven by rage and pursued by an investigative reporter. ("Mr. McGee, don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.") The creature is wanted for a murder he didn't commit.  Dr. Banner is believed to be dead, and he must let the world think that he is dead, until he can find a way to control the raging spirit that dwells within him."

Knight Rider - "Knight Rider, a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist. Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law."

The Odd Couple - "On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence; that request came from his wife. Deep down, he knew she was right, but he also knew that some day he would return to her. With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of his childhood friend, Oscar Madison. Several years earlier, Madison's wife had thrown him out, requesting that he never return. Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?"

The Outer Limits - "There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to — The Outer Limits."

Quantum Leap - "Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so, Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home."

The Six Million Dollar Man - "Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster."

Star Trek - "Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."

Tales from the Dark Side - "Man lives in the sunlit world of what he believes to be reality. But, there is, unseen by most, an underworld, a place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit... a Darkside."

The Twilight Zone - "You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone!"

What other shows do you love with great opening narrations?  Let me know.

Comments

V.R. LaForge said…
''"There are those who believe... that life here... began out there. Far across the universe. With tribes of humans... who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians... or the Toltecs... or the Mayans... that they may have been the architects of the Great Pyramids... or the lost civilizations of Lemuria... or Atlantis... Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man... who even now fight to survive... somewhere beyond the heavens"
Nick said…
D'oh! How could I have forgotten the original Battlestar Galactica? I guess I need to write Part Two.
Anonymous said…
How about a current show -- Person of Interest? Or Alcatraz?