''Friends'' and ''Roseanne'' start a new trend — See how we rated the opening sequences of 7 popular TV series

By Bruce Fretts
Updated November 10, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

”Friends” and ”Roseanne” start a new trend

It was only last year that opening-credit sequences for TV series looked as if they were going the way of rabbit-ear antennae. The conventional wisdom said that simply superimposing titles over an episode’s first scene (à la Frasier) gave viewers less time to flip channels. Then along came a little show called Friends, which kicked off each week with its easy-on-the-eyes cast frolicking to its hard-to-resist theme song. Suddenly, new openings — like Roseanne‘s computer-generated eyepopper — are cropping up all over the tube:

Murder One: As Mike Post’s pounding music perfectly sets the classy but ominous tone, the actors’ faces float on shards of stone, slyly suggesting the L.A. justice system has shattered. The flashy montage culminates eerily in a (blood?) bath of red light. A

Ellen: Here’s a funny idea: Let’s pretend the opening sequence isn’t ready yet, and have Ellen DeGeneres offer a lame new excuse every week…Nah, never mind. C

The Single Guy: Inexplicably, salsa music introduces this vanilla sitcom. Jonathan Silverman watches a couple stroll by, then chases a black-clad babe who’s walking a dog. Too bad that’s one of the show’s sharper gags. C-

American Gothic: Two sequences bookend the opening scenes: The first sets up the premise with deliciously evil lines from Gary Cole’s sheriff (”Never let you conscience be your guide”). The second boasts creepy sights (”Someone’s at the door” written in blood) and the most terrifying image of all: ”Created by Shaun Cassidy.” A-

Partners: The charm of Tate Donovan, Jon Cryer, and Maria Pitillo radiates as they goof around San Francisco. But the neo-folkie theme sounds like a Lisa Loeb outtake. B-

Hudson Street: Tony Danza croons off-key (yet endearingly) over beautiful black-and-white shots of Hoboken. One question: Are we supposed to believe those smooching stand-ins are Danza and Lori Loughlin? B

Central Park West: A woman moans pseudo-orgasmically while the cast tries its damnedest to look sexy. As overheated and undercooked as CPW itself, but earns extra credit for putting the umlaut in Madchen Amick. D+