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Extra-special credits! 15 classic TV openers

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Take a moment to think about The Simpsons, or Friends, or The Sopranos. Chances are, your first thoughts will have something to do with puffy clouds and a blue sky, people dancing in a fountain, or a New Jersey Turnpike tollbooth. Behold the power of a good opening credits sequence. When done right, these short intros will distill everything you need to know about the show in a tidy 30 or 60 seconds. The Brady Bunch? Three girls, three boys, two single parents — and Ann B. Davis as Alice. But some new series, like Heroes and Lost, have eschewed traditional openers in favor of fleeting and evocative intros. Is this the end of credit sequences? Probably not. Still, this might be a good time to remember some classic opening credits from years past. What follows are some personal favorites, from the early days of TV to the present. To start, let’s all settle in on the couch:

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