Top 10 First Scenes in TV Shows

Script written by Nick Spake. When it comes to these television programs: so far, so good. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 first scenes in TV shows. For this list, we’re taking a look at small screen shows that immediately hooked us with their captivating opening sequences. Whether it's a bloody massacre or a tantalizing speech, these TV shows intros will leave you begging for more. Be sure to also check out our list of the top 10 TV shows cancelled too soon. Special thanks to our users kenn1987, TotallyEpicHD and Zovok for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Nick Spake.

Top 10 First Scenes in TV Shows


When it comes to these television programs: so far, so good. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 first scenes in TV shows.

For this list, we’re taking a look at small screen shows that immediately hooked us with their captivating opening sequences.

#10: Murder on the Beach
“Revenge” (2011-)

In this flash-forward to season one’s midpoint, the characters we’ll come to know gather for a “fire and ice”-themed engagement party on a moonlit night. The celebration takes a turn for the worse as gunshots are fired and a body is discovered on the beach. In the spirit of any addictive soap opera, this mysterious setup sinks its teeth into the audience, guaranteeing that they’ll be sticking around to learn who got shot. With great imagery and foreshadowing, “Revenge” certainly started off with a bang.

#9: Frozen Fry
“Futurama” (1999-2013)

Most cartoons take about a season to perfect their animation style and humor. “Futurama,” on the other hand, came right out of the gate looking pretty promising. The opening sequence wonderfully sets the mood with a reference to “Star Trek,” followed by loser pizza delivery boy Fry getting cryogenically frozen. Over the course of 1000 years, aliens destroy man, man rebuilds, aliens destroy man again, and Fry wakes up in a stunning future where aliens and man co-exist. It’s a bright new day and a second chance for Fry.

#8: See Frank Kill Dog
“House of Cards” (2013-)

Sometimes you’ve got to get your hands dirty for the greater good. Francis Underwood makes his philosophy clear in the opening of “House of Cards” as a car hits a dog. Rather than letting nature take its course, Francis puts the dog out of its misery. All the while, he hauntingly explains to the audience why America needs more people like him to handle the unpleasant things in life. We’re given a small glimpse of what Francis is capable of and what he’s willing to do for “the greater good.”

#7: Will on America
“The Newsroom” (2012-14)

Nobody writes energizing speeches better than Aaron Sorkin. The opening to “The Newsroom” contains some of his best dialogue ever as Will McAvoy is pushed to say what makes America the world’s greatest country. Finally, Will unleashes a three-minute monologue on why American isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Deep down, we all know America isn’t perfect and Will relentlessly dishes out all the things other journalists would be too afraid to say. The impact of this masterfully written scene alone was enough to earn Jeff Daniels an Emmy.

#6: Laura Palmer’s Body Is Discovered
“Twin Peaks” (1990-91)

Nowadays, audiences are used to most television episodes feeling like mini movies. In the early ‘90s, however, there was a clear distinction between movie drama and TV drama. Director David Lynch defied that distinction by bringing a genuine cinematic tone to the pilot of “Twin Peaks.” The firstscene immerses the audience in a filmic world as a fisherman discovers Laura Palmer’s dead body. The alluring atmosphere, music, and cinematography prepare us for a grand experience unlike anything we’ve ever seen on television.

#5: A Cop That Doesn’t Play by the Rules
“Luther” (2010-13)

Filmed from mesmerizing angles and set to a heart-pounding score, this scene drops us right into the middle of an intense chase as DCI John Luther pursues a serial killer named Henry Madsen. The chase takes them to the top of a building under construction. On a catwalk, the two have a standoff that leaves Henry dangling over a deep drop. Luther uses this opportunity to interrogate the killer. While he gets his answer and the victim is found alive, Luther still elects himself Henry’s judge, jury, and executioner.

#4: Plane Crash
“Lost” (2004-10)

The first episode of “Lost” is like the “Titanic” of TV pilots. It was the most expensive pilot ever made and nobody knew what to expect. J.J. Abrams proved from the opening shot, though, that this was a worthwhile investment guaranteed to suck viewers in. “Lost” plays its best hand upfront as a group of survivors flee from an exceptionally filmed plane crash. You don’t know who these people are, what happened to them, or where they are now, but the opening leaves you desperately wanting to find out more.

#3: White Walkers
“Game of Thrones” (2011-)

Speaking of risky pilots, nobody was sure if HBO could do justice to George R. R. Martin’s acclaimed fantasy novels. If the astounding title sequence didn’t immediately convince you “Game of Thrones” was going to be an amazing show, the first scene certainly did. The Night’s Watch venture into a snowy, heartless terrain littered with icy corpses. Suddenly, the rangers are ambushed and learn the hard way that winter is coming. Full of unforgettable visuals and tension, this is an exquisite appetizer of even greater things to come.

#2: Walter White’s Video Tape
“Breaking Bad” (2008-13)

Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, a pair of trousers goes flying through the air as an RV crashes. Out of the vehicle emerges the dad from “Malcolm in the Middle.” In his underwear and armed with a gun, he makes a goodbye video for his family. Police sirens go off in the distance and the lone man known as Walter White prepares for a showdown. What can you say except, “WTF! I hope the rest of the show is this wild and unpredictable.” Lucky for you, “Breaking Bad” was.

Before we come to a close with our top opening scene, here are a few honorable mentions:

- Dexter’s First Kill
“Dexter” (2006-13)
- Vampire at Convenience Store
“True Blood” (2008-14)
- Michael Decides to Leave His Family Forever
“Arrested Development” (2003-06; 2013)
- Larry Has a Pants Tent
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2000-)
- Looking Back on Childhood
“The Wonder Years” (1988-93)
- Airplane Outbreak
“Fringe” (2008-13)

#1: Rick Kills Little Zombie Girl
“The Walking Dead” (2010-)

A police car drives down a seemingly run-of-the-mill street. As the sheriff gets out of his car, however, we discover that the road is actually paved with carnage. It becomes clear to the audience that this is the end of days. We soon find out exactly what caused the epidemic as a little zombie girl shows her face to the sheriff. Epic, while also being subtle and quiet, this opening to “The Walking Dead” introduces us to a grim world where hope, innocence, and humanity will inevitably be forsaken.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite first scene in a TV show? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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