- Some TV shows use their opening credits to reveal hidden details and spoilers for the series.
- True Detective and American Horror Story are examples of shows that include hints and clues in their opening credits.
- Anime shows, like Sword Art Online and One Piece, often use their opening themes to foreshadow major events and character arcs.
For most TV shows, the opening titles feature a montage of things that tie in with the series, or just interesting visuals and a catchy tune, but some opening themes reveal hidden details to come for the series. An opening theme is a good way to set the tone for a show with the theme song reflecting the mood of the series, and the major credits for the series displayed. Some shows use this to great effect, establishing the premise of the series, as seen in shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Other shows choose to include hints and details that point to major events in the series in their opening credits, which usually go unnoticed until viewers watch the show back. These details can be subtly included to avoid creating major spoilers. While some shows try to reveal the details quietly, others have details for eagle-eyed fans to spot and tease where the show is heading. The practice of revealing major spoilers for a show also appears to be more common in anime shows, with some opening credits giving away massive spoilers for the series.
10 True Detective
Credits Crammed With Clues
True Detective is an anthology series that follows a similar pattern to American Horror Story in that each season is a self-contained story. Being a crime drama series, the show revolves around different teams of detectives as they work tirelessly to investigate serial killers, missing children, and more. Each season has an opening scene that offers up clues to what will appear in the rest of the season, which become more obvious and connected as viewers watch the show.
9 American Horror Story
Heavy Hints For The Horror Series
American Horror Story depicts a new story full of terrifying supernatural events, monsters, and murders with each new season. Despite each season revolving around mystery, American Horror Story is keen to spoil the ending in the opening credits, with several seasons featuring major hints in the opening credits. Season 1 features three skeletons in a closet, hinting at the family all ending up dead, and season 3 displays symbols of each witch that detail a part of their character, with Sarah Paulson’s displaying an image of Santa Muerte, or the Lady of Seven Powers, a huge spoiler for that season.
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8 Game of Thrones
A Clever Use Of Maps To Recap
Game of Thrones has unique opening credits that feature minor differences between each episode to depict the journey up to that point and where the current episode takes place. The details are revealed in a visually stunning way as the camera zooms over a 3D map with buildings rising and falling. The beauty of this sequence is the subtlety, so attentive viewers can pick up on the details and be reminded of where the story has gone up to that point, but new viewers will not have anything spoiled.
7 The White Lotus
The Devil In The Details
This dark comedy series, which is again an anthology show, reveals plenty of details about the events of the show in the opening titles in spectacular fashion. Season 2 especially had several references to the characters and how the events would play out in the series through its implementation of different renaissance artwork. Everything from relationships, deaths, betrayals, and more are revealed in subtle detail through the artwork that is displayed alongside the opening theme.
6 Sword Art Online
Not So Subtle Hinting At The Villain’s Identity
As with many other anime shows, the opening theme is designed to reveal parts of the story and expressly describe what is happening with its music and visuals. Sword Art Online includes details in the opening credits about the true identity of major antagonists in season 2. While the mystery was still bigger than what was shown in the titles, the fact that the face of Shinkawa, and then Death Gun’s mask are shown one after the other in the same position foreshadows the reveal.
The Formation And Lineup Of Every Team
In one of the opening titles for Bleach, every team that is formed in the show is revealed with considerable detail. Members who are yet to join the series or who take time to change sides have their final positions revealed in the title as they all appear in their final teams, spoiling any potential for characters to end up anywhere else. The fact that these reveals are made plain could be because of the anime being adapted from a manga, and so the story is already technically out there, but spoiling it in the titles feels unwarranted for viewers unfamiliar with the books.
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4 BoJack Horseman
The End Was Foreshadowed From The Beginning
BoJack Horseman took things a step further with their opening credits spoiling the entire show from the start. While the credits change each season and feature many details that reflect each individual season, the final part of the theme shows BoJack falling under the water, potentially indicating he could drown with friends Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter looking down at him from above. The finale of the show does lean into the foreshadowing with BoJack drowning in a pool, and even sees Diane and Mr. Peanutbutter, who he then reaches out to when he survives his near death experience.
The Final Gate Shattered
The fourth opening theme for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood drops a massive spoiler just as the 90-second theme ends with the Elric brothers standing on a Transmutation Circle, before cutting to the Portal, which then shatters. For attentive viewers, this is a clear indication that Edward finds a way to perform the Alchemy needed to return Alphonse to his human body once again. It could be easily pieced together, but just as easily, viewers could struggle to place greater meaning on this clip until the final events play out, but it is a big spoiler.
2 Happy Valley
The Explosive Finale Is Revealed At The Start Of Season 3
The BBC crime drama, Happy Valley, wrapped up its final season in 2023 after almost 10 years on the air. In the opening credits for the final season, two major details which were central to the series finale appeared before each and every episode, but subtly enough that fans were unaware of what they were seeing. Tommy Lee Royce can be seen picking up a petrol can briefly, and again in a brief look at his death scene. While these scenes are revealed up top, it’s done with just enough detail to avoid giving the whole story away.
1 One Piece
Revealing Villain Redemption Arcs Early
One Piece is another anime series notorious for spoiling the show in the opening themes. Considering the show has been running since 1999 and has more than 1100 episodes under its belt, fans would be forgiven for assuming the show had learned not to spoil the show in the titles, but as the latest One Piece intro reveals, it hasn’t. From revealing major villains changing sides, like Nico Robin, 15 episodes before the character joins the crew. The series continues to hint at major events in each arc with each new theme, with many appearing more subtly than this one.