A short monologue at the beginning of a show (usually during the Title Sequence
) that briefly explains the show's premise. These are typically vague and prosaic, sometimes falling into Fauxlosophic Narration
, and are delivered either by a lead character, or by a Narrator
. The content is similar to the expository type of theme tune
Usually, these monologues do not change much over the course of a series, though some shows do revise them from season to season.
Probably an artifact from the days of radio, when, lacking title graphics, shows needed a memorable speech at the beginning to identify themselves to listeners.
Sometimes, a show's first episode will start with a Cold Opening
, and in every episode thereafter the Opening Narration
will take its place. This will only happen if said episode is a Welcome Episode
or an Everyone Meets Everyone Premiere
Also becoming increasingly common in Animes is to use a clip montage of the respective episode with the show's main character(s) explaining the plot of the episode.
Especially common for Speculative Fiction
; often because the assumption that Viewers Are Morons
Also known as a prologue or a "saga sell". Not to be confused with Opening Monologue
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Best Student Council: "At Miyagami Private Academy, there is a group of beautiful girls, who have power and authority on par with the faculty members. Miyagami Academy Maximum Authority-Wielding Best Student Council. Or for short: Best Student Council!"
- Shugo Chara!: "All kids hold an egg in their soul...the egg of our hearts...our would-be selves...yet, unseen..."
- Early episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! had the "Long ago, when the pyramids were still young" speech in the dub, and the "History of Gaming" speech in the original version (based on the opening "narration" of the first manga chapter).
- Outlaw Star has a different Opening Narration before each episode which is used to deliver background information, set the theme for the following episode, or even introduce themes for the series in general.
- The English dub of the first season of Sailor Moon used them... spoiling half the series in the process.
- The original version had a short summary of the episode at the start, as well as a more typical narration after the opening — Usagi explaining the plot of the series. The latter segment was upgraded at least once, with the addition of Mercury and Mars.
- Hayate the Combat Butler: "A butler is one who serves..."
- Shakugan no Shana: "Infinite time stopped beating its heart, and humans burnt away without making any noise..."
- Yakitate!! Japan: "There's German bread, English bread, French bread, but there's no Japanese bread, or Ja-pan. Which means there's nothing to do except to invent it..."
- Fullmetal Alchemist: "Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost: that is alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world's one and only truth."
- In episode 37, a variant of this monologue is delivered by Riza Hawkeye in place of the ordinary pre-credits sequence.
- In the final stretch of the series, it changes to: "The Philosopher's Stone: those who possess it no longer bound by the laws of equivalent exchange in alchemy. They gain without sacrifice, create without equal exchange; we searched for it, and we found it."
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood had one of these for the first dozen or so episodes, where the narrator explained how alchemy is a science, not magic and how human transmutation is taboo.
- Berserk begins every episode with: "In this world, is the destiny of mankind controlled by some transcendental entity or law? Is it like the hand of God hovering above? At least it is true that man has no control, even over his own will." It is only revealed in the final episodes that the ominous voice that gives this monologue is Void, the de facto leader of the Godhand.
- The dub outtakes feature the narrator screwing up the intro repeatedly, including a Beavis And Butthead style intro and one where he talks about "tiny red objects", letting you know that he wasn't given much background on the actual series, but then getting really into his part as Void and starts demanding that the voice director can't make him go away even though the series is over.
- In Detective Conan, all of the movies have Conan explaining the basic plot of the series. All of the Japanese episodes state that he's an adult trapped in a child's body.
- Played with in Code Geass which would use sort of a cross between this and Opening Monologue to explain the universe of the series. Played with in that more than one character delivered this, and sometimes (e.g. at least one of the Suzaku examples) unreliable narration was in play
- The first few episodes of Vision of Escaflowne began with Hitomi narrating: "Sore wa yume? Soredemo maboroshi? (Is it a dream? Or an illusion?)" while the episode title was shown. It stopped about halfway through, though.
- The first few episodes of Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou have Fuji-hime explaining the show's premise. In the first episode, this intro continues into the actual beginning of the explained events before finally showing the opening sequence.
- "A healthy soul resides in a healthy mind and a healthy body" - a translation of Maka's opening narration on Soul Eater
- The dub uses, "A sound mind dwells within sound mind and sound body".
- One Piece changed this up each season. The first season's is by far the most famous: "Wealth. Fame. Power. Gold Roger, the King of the Pirates had seemingly attained everything the world has to offer..."
- All the ones after season one were subversions:
- Season Two opened each episode with Gold Roger's last words, where he talks about the nature of freedom.
- Season Three starts with Gold Roger making a speech about the reasons pirates travel the seas.
- Season Four starts with Luffy telling us the premise, and getting all worked up over how awesome this week's adventure is going to be.
- From Season Five on, the show dropped the opening narration altogether. Strangely, this resulted in the intro sequence getting longer.
- The start of the New World Saga (which marks the series' halfway point) sees the return of the original narration.
- "In matters relating to the world of the dead, there is an institution that judges the sins of the deceased, the Ministry of Hades. The Summons Section of the Judgment Bureau comprises a group supporting the ministry's operating functions by guiding the lost souls that wander the mortal world; they are also known as the Guardians of Deathâ€¦" Yami No Matsuei
- Tokyo Mew Mew "The Earth, an exquisite, blue planet with more than a million species living on it..."
- Transformers Armada had three. The first, lasting until about episode 15, was Rad explaining the situation to the viewer. After that, a proper narrator took over, giving a more cosmic description of the premise with some variation from episode to episode. In about episode 40, this narrator switched to a third, Unicron-centric, spoileriffic monologue.
- In the second and third season of Ranma ½ after the opening themes, there is quick narration of Ranma's arranged marriage to Akane and an explanation of Ranma's curse
- Asobi Ni Iku Yo!, rather than having one of its own, starts borrowing and slightly modifying other shows' narrations from episode three onward.
- Macross Frontier has a few different ones in the first half dozen or so episodes which would usually touch on the basic premise, then go into different aspects of the setting as necessary for the episode in question.
- "This is the story...of the super force...of space explorers. Specially trained and sent by the alliance to bring back ...Voltron, defender of the universe." (Both Lion and Vehicle versions)
- Humanoid Monster Bem tells the origins of the trio.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena begins with the shadow play girls narrating a fairy tale about the girl (Utena) who was inspired to become a Prince.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: "This is the story of a man who has yet to realize his own destiny."
- Slayers: Particularly the first season does this, but also the fourth and fifth. (The one from the first season is actually at the top of the show's page.)
- Pani Poni Dash! didn't always do it, but when they did it would go along the lines of "Rebecca Miyamoto. Born of an American father and a Japanese mother. Graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the youngest graduate in the school's history. She then returned to Japan to become a high school teacher. However... she was only 10 years old at the time!"
- Digimon Xros Wars implemented one of these in a franchise which hasn't used the trope before - Taiki delivered the narration for the first half, wherein it varied slightly in every episode, and a single stock monologue was delivered by an unnamed narrator in the second half. In the sequel, Tagiru delivers a single unchanging narration.
- Gao Gai Gar "This is the story of the brave men and women who protect the Earth."
- The Firesign Theatre parodied this trope, along with the entirety of dramatic radio, to devastating effect with their classic "The Further Adventures Of Nick Danger", from the album How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All?:
Narrator: Los Angeles: He walks again by night! Relentlessly...Ruthlessly...
Narrator: Doggedly...(dog barks)...towards his weekly meeting with the unknown. At Fourth and Drucker he turns left. At Drucker and Fourth he turns right. He crosses Mac Arthur Park and walks into a great sandstone building.
Nick Danger: Ow, my nose!
Narrator: Groping for the door, he steps inside (phone starts ringing)...Climbs the thirteen steps to his office (ring)...He walks in (ring)...He's ready for mystery (ring)...He's ready for excitement (ring)...He's ready for anything (ring)...He's...
Nick Danger: (picking up phone) Nick Danger, Third Eye.
Caller: I want to order a pizza to go and no anchovies.
Nick Danger: No anchovies? You've got the wrong man. I spell my name...Danger! (hangs up phone)
- Stan Freberg parodied the opening narration of the TV Show Dragnet in his hit audio sketch Saint George and the Dragonet.
Narrator: The legend you are about to hear is true. Only the needle should be changed to protect the record.
- Marvel Comics does the written version of this trope in the first page of its books:
- The main example: "And there came a day when Earth's mightiest heroes found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, The Avengers were born - to fight the foes no single super-hero could withstand!"
- Also usually combined with a Previously On.
- Modern-day DC Comics do this too, usually with a stylized caption on the title page of each story.
- "I made a vow on my parents' graves to rid this city of the evil that took their lives. By day, I am Bruce Wayne, billionaire philanthropist. By night, criminals, a superstitious and cowardly lot, call me...BATMAN."
- Books featuring superhero teams will often include a "team lineup" at the start of every issue. It usually involves headshots of each member, along with their name and a brief description of their powers.
- Every novel in The Wheel of Time opens with an introductory passage saying: The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend Fades to Myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.
- "It began....in the future..." . Time Trax
- Alias Smith and Jones: "Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. The two most successful outlaws in the history of the West..."
- The Andromeda opening narration changed with each season as the show's format and production team changed radically. The first-season narration by Kevin Sorbo spelled out the original scenario: "The Long Night has come," galactic civilization has fallen, and the Andromeda and her crew have vowed to restore it. "Hope lives again." This was replaced in the second season by a generic narrator explaining the same basic premise but playing up Sorbo's character Dylan Hunt as the primary hero. Subsequent seasons abandoned this story arc and replaced the narration with a more generic one again narrated by Sorbo: "The universe is a dangerous place" and Dylan Hunt and his crew "fight to make it safe."
- "Now the story of a wealthy family who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together. It's Arrested Development."
- The DVD version of the Veronica Mars pilot opens with the words: “I’m never getting married. You want an absolute? Well, there it is.” The use of voice-over narration continues regularly on and off throughout the show.
- GARO: "Where there is light, shadows lurk and fear reigns. Yet by the blade of Knights, mankind was given hope..."
- The A-Team: "Ten years ago, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit..." From the second season onwards, "In 1972" was used instead of "Ten years ago".
- Then dropped entirely for the final season.
- The American screenings of the Emma Peel episodes of The Avengers began with a specially shot narration: "Extraordinary crimes against the people and the state have to be avenged by agents extraordinary. Two such people are John Steed, top professional, and his partner Emma Peel, talented amateur - otherwise known as... The Avengers."
- Babylon 5 used a different narration each season, usually ending with, "The year is 22XX...the name of the place is..."
- The original Battlestar Galactica used bookending narrations. The 2000s version has a title crawl that is not spoken aloud.
"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. Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man who even now fight to survive somewhere beyond the heavens."
"Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica, leads a rag-tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest — a shining planet, known as Earth."
- Buck Rogers: "The year is 1987. And NASA launches the last of America's deep space probes. In a freak mishap, Ranger 3 and its pilot, Captain William "Buck" Rogers......"
- The first and second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, first by a generic narrator and later by Anthony Stewart Head: "In every generation, there is a chosen one..."
- Burn Notice: "My name is Michael Westen. I used to be a spy, until..."
- "Hi. I'm Chuck Bartowski. And here are a few things you should know....".
- "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives..."
- Firefly used two versions, one narrated by lead character Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), the other by Shepherd Book (Ron Glass). It was abandoned for the DVD release, since it had been added at network insistence rather than by creator Joss Whedon's choice. The Opening Narration was shown during a montage before The Teaser and Title Sequence.
- Certainly the most famous is the "Space, the final frontier" speech from Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek The Animated Series, and its minor variations in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Sapphire And Steel, disregarding the abuse of the term "elements" in the cause of sounding mysterious:
"All irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension. Transuranic heavy elements may not be used where there is life. Medium atomic weights are available: Gold, Lead, Copper, Jet, Diamond, Radium, Sapphire, Silver and Steel. Sapphire and Steel have been assigned."
- "In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups...", Law & Order. This narration is slightly modified for the spin-off shows Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Law & Order: Trial by Jury.
- Interestingly, they make it seem that the Police are Law and the Prosecutors are Order, when the reverse is really more accurate.
- "I am the Lexx. I am the most powerful weapon of destruction in the two universes," Lexx, dropped for the final season, because after Mantrid was through, there weren't two universes anymore.
- "There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture... 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".
- The Twilight Zone had several openings during its run, each narrated by Rod Serling.
- Season 1: "There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone."
- Season 2: "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."
- Season 3: "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. Your next stop: The Twilight Zone."
- Seasons 4-5: "You unlock this door with a key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension. A dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into The Twilight Zone."
- Tales From The Darkside has one of the creepiest openings ever:
"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."
- "Knight Rider: a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist..." Knight Rider also featured a corresponding closing narration for its first season.
- Hardcastle and McCormick had one in the early episodes: "Milton C. Hardcastle is a retired judge of the California Superior Court..."
- War of the Worlds used a straightforward description of the show's premise in the first season. The second season replaced this with a vague and frightened news report intentionally reminiscent of the style of the Radio Drama of the same title (and, by proxy, the famous radio report on the Hindenburg disaster).
- Orson Welles' radio adaptation opened with a variation on the book's unforgettable "No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that this world was Being Watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's", as did the Dark Horse Comics adaptation, the Jeff Wayne musical, and the big-budget 2005 film adaptation.
- After a short introduction and a disclaimer, the radio WOTW goes into a musical Big Band Ballroom show which was very popular at the time. Many people who tuned in late were unaware this was a drama, so when the announcer starts breaking in with news of the invasion, it sounds completely plausible.
- Highlander: The Series: "He is immortal, born in the Highlands of Scotland four hundred years ago..."
- Season one's opener was first person, done by Adrian Paul himself, then there was a generic narrator, then Jim Byrnes took over as Joe Dawson.
- Stargate Universe: "Destiny. The design is clearly ancient. Launched hundreds of thousands of years ago." - features lines of different characters, but still makes sense as a single expository monologue. The second half of the first season changed this montage and it doesn't resemble coherent narration anymore.
- Seven Days (in its later seasons)
- Sliders, with minor changes until a permanent version was settled upon in season three. The final season had Rembrandt saying it instead of Quinn, who'd been Put on a Bus.
- "The story you are about to hear is true. Names have been changed to protect the innocent." Dragnet.
- Parodied in Mathnet on Square One TV: "The story you are about to see is a fib, but it's short. The names are made up, but the problems are real."
- Also parodied more humorously in the 1987 Dragnet film: "Ladies and gentlemen, the story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. For example, George Baker is now called...Sylvia Wiss."
- The Prisoner has a particularly lengthy dialogue during its Title Sequence. While the lines remain the same, in each episode, the current Number Two delivers that half of the exchange.
- Except in episodes where the identity of Number Two is hidden (or on at least one occasion where the actor playing Number Two didn't record the lines), in which case a generic voice is used for Number Two.
- NUMB3RS. For the second season, the narration remained more or less the same, but the narration changed from a monologue to isolated lines within the Theme Tune.
- "Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Samuel Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator — and vanished."
- In Season 1 of Remington Steele, Laura explained how her fake detective came to be played by a real person.
- Heroes begins and ends with a voiceover of Mohinder attempting to sound profound (and not always succeeding). Also, every single Previously On starts with "Ordinary people around the world discover extraordinary abilities..."
- "Torchwood. Outside the government, beyond the police..."
- "13 Bannerman Road is where Sarah Jane Smith lives, and it's home to things WAY beyond your imagination..."
- And starting with series 6 when aired on BBC America, Doctor Who suddenly has an opening narration explaining how Amy met the Doctor and that she travels with him.
- For those not fortunate enough to get their DW through BBCA:
When I was a little girl, I had an imaginary friend. And when I grew up, he came back. He’s called the Doctor. He comes from somewhere else. He’s got a box called the TARDIS that’s bigger on the inside and can travel anywhere in time and space. I ran away with him, and we’ve been running ever since.
- They're using it on Netflix, too.
- 24: "The following takes place between 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM..."
- The first season included, "...I'm Federal Agent Jack Bauer. And this...is the longest day of my life."
- The Pretender: "There are Pretenders among us..."
- Subsequent episodes of Brimstone started with a truncated version of Zeke's confession from the pilot.
- Red Dwarf began every episode of the first two seasons, except for the pilot, this way, with Holly broadcasting a distress call. The wording of his message was always the same, except for throwaway gags at the end.
- The Odd Couple: "On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his wife..."
- Life On Mars: "My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident and woke up in 1973. Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time?..." To answer, Sam, yes, yes, and not really.
- Ashes to Ashes: "My name is Alex Drake. I've been shot and that bullet's taken me back in time..."
- "In a middle school full of bullies, insane teachers and gross school lunches, Ned Bigby -that's me- and my two best friends try to do the impossible- create a guide to help YOU survive school...(theme tune) Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide (* Your Results May Vary)"
- Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad 
- Charlie's Angels ('This is the story of three special girls...')
- "Who are the MythBusters ?......"
- "The Invaders - alien beings from a dying planet. Their destination: the Earth. Their purpose: to make it their world...."
- Dirty Jobs: "Hi, I'm Mike Rowe, and this is my job..."
- "The Fugitive! A QM Production. Starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, an innocent victim of blind justice...."
- Or, in the first season: "The name - Dr. Richard Kimble. The destination - Death row, state prison. The irony - Richard Kimble is innocent..."
- A few of the recent Super Sentai series have some opening narration, dating back to Choushinsei Flashman. Examples:
- Choushinsei Flashman: "One day, five children from Earth were taken to the far reaches of space. And twenty years later..."
- Hikari Sentai Maskman: "Inside a human body, a mysterious power is hidden. With training and discipline, this infinite power can be obtained."
- Choujuu Sentai Liveman: "My friends! Why have you sold your souls to the devil?"
- Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger: "From hundreds of millions of years ago, in the age of the dinosaurs, 5 warriors revive in the present time!"
- Chouriki Sentai Ohranger: "Only those who have learned the power of the Super-Civilization will be able to save humanity from its greatest crisis: Baranoia, the Machine Empire, which plans to invade the Earth!"
- Seijuu Sentai Gingaman: "The Starbeasts: They are mysterious animals who fight for the sake of defending harmony in the Milky Way!"
- Mirai Sentai Timeranger: "People from the future in the year 3000 AD and one man have met by chance, for the sake of marking a new passage of time…!"
- Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger (after the Title Scream): "S.P.D.: Special Police Dekaranger. Five detectives who fight with cool, yet burning, hearts. Their mission: To combat space criminals who have invaded Earth. They will protect the peace and safety of all humanity!"
- Mahou Sentai Magiranger: ""Magic, it's a sacred power! Magic, it`s an adventure to the unknown! Magic, and it`s a proof of courage!"
- Go Go Sentai Boukenger: "Even today, there are those who risk their lives to adventure. They overcome all troubles to secretly protect dangerous treasures. Adventurers!"
- Juken Sentai Gekiranger: "A martial art which grants the power of beasts through sensing one's own feral spirit; Juken. Juken is split into two opposing styles. One, Juken of justice: Geki Juken Beast Arts! The other, Juken of evil: Rin Juken Akugata! As martial artists destined to fight, Every day they aim for the top, Learning, and changing."
- Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger: "On a search for adventure and excitement, these youths went on a journey through the universe. They faced the Space Empire Zangyack and took the title of 'pirates'."
- In some episodes: "The thirty-four Super Sentai who have defended the Earth and the happiness of its people! In the face of invasion by the Zangyack Space Empire, an uncanny group has inherited that power!"
- Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters: "In the year 2012 Anno Novi, urban life is supported by the powerful energy source known as Enetron. Vagras is a group determined to steal and use Enetron to attack humanity. The Go-Busters are young men and women who undertake special missions to defend humanity."
- Naturally, Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger lampshades this in its first episode:
"It's still the first episode so the premise isn't really established yet, but this is probably the story of Akihabara's three-man Sentai team!"
- Series proper (except ep. 11): "A tiny paradise amidst a sea of skyscrapers: Akihabara. There we find three warriors who believe that "pain is power", who fight battles that exist entirely within their heads. They are..." (cue Title Scream)
- The first season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers had it. Well, it isn't quite narration, but serves the same purpose.
Rita Repulsa: Aaah! After ten thousand years, I'm free! It's time to conquer - Earth!
- From Power Rangers Ninja Storm: "Deep in the mountains, secret ninja academies train our future protectors. Ancient scrolls told of three who would be chosen above the others, three who would become..."
- Power Rangers RPM also uses one: "A computer virus has built armies of robotic soldiers and taken control of our world. But there is still one place we can be safe: the domed city of Corinth. And the only hope we have left is..."
- Not joined to the opening credits, but a narration nonetheless: "Three hundred years ago in Japan, the evil Nighlok monsters invaded. Only five had the power to stand against them. They are the Power Rangers Samurai.
- It occasionally uses a longer version: "Centuries ago in Japan, Nighlok monsters invaded our world. But samurai warriors defeated them with Power Symbols, passed down from parent to child. Today, the evil Nighlok have risen once again and plan to flood the Earth. Luckily, a new generation of heroes stand in their way. They are the Power Rangers Samurai."
- There is nothing wrong at Blake Holsey High! What, at all? That must be a good school.
- "This is the story of a time long ago, a time of myth and legend. When the ancient gods were petty and cruel, and they plagued mankind with suffering. Only one man dared to challenge their power: Hercules!"
- "In a time of ancient gods, warlords, and kings, a land in turmoil cried out for a hero. She was Xena, a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle...."
- Forever Knight: "He was brought across in 1228; preyed on humans for their blood. Now he wants to be mortal again..."
- La Femme Nikita: "...one night I was taken from my cell to a place called Section One, the most covert antiterrorist group on the planet. Their ends are just, but their means are ruthless. If I don't play by their rules, I die."
- The Invisible Man: "There once was a story about a man that could turn invisible. I thought it was only a story—until it happened to me."
- The Incredible Hulk: "Doctor David Banner, physician, scientist, searching for a way to tap into the hidden strengths that all humans have..."
- "Their creed: to protect all life. Their promise: to end Lord Dread's rule. Their name: Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future!"
- Soap. "This is the story of two sisters..."
- This was preceded by a recap of the previous episode, followed by, "Confused? Well, you won't be after this week's episode of Soap>"
- "In the jungles of Peru, the fight for survival heightened his senses. Now, Detective James Ellison is a Sentinel in the fight for justice..."
- Farscape had an opening narration from John Crichton, which remained the same throughout the first two seasons, but was updated in the third and fourth to reflect changes to the status quo. This is the final version:
"My name is John Crichton... an astronaut. Three years ago I got shot through a wormhole. I'm in a distant part of the universe aboard this living ship of escaped prisoners, my friends. I've made enemies. Powerful. Dangerous. Now all I want is to find a way home, to warn Earth. Look upward, and share... the wonders I have seen. "
- The Sarah Connor Chronicles. "In the future my son will lead mankind in a war against Skynet..."
- The second season uses a narrator, and gives a very long summary of the backstory and introduction of the major characters.
- Sea Quest DSV. "...for beneath the surface, lies the future."
- The 4400 featured an opening explanation on title cards intercut with very brief, usually wordless, clips from previous episodes.
- Porridge: "Norman Stanley Fletcher, you have pleaded guilty to the charges brought by this court, and it is now my duty to pass sentence. You are an habitual criminal, who accepts arrest as an occupational hazard, and presumably accepts imprisonment in the same casual manner. We therefore feel constrained to commit you to the maximum term allowed for these offences—you will go to prison for five years", played over stark shots of prison doors being closed and locked.
- Ironically, the Judge's narration is performed by Ronnie Barker - who also played Norman Stanley Fletcher.
- "He was a cop, and good at his job, but he committed the ultimate sin and testified against other cops gone bad. Cops that tried to kill him but got the woman he loved instead. Framed for murder, now he prowls the badlands, an outlaw hunting outlaws, a bounty hunter, a Renegade."
- Robot Wars used this to give a preview of the upcoming episode during the 6th and 7th seasons (the 6th would often give out major spoilers).
- Kung Fu: "Your tread must be light and sure, as though your path were upon rice paper. It is said a Shaolin priest can walk through walls. Looked for, he can not be seen. Listened for, he can not be heard. Touched, he can not be felt. This rice paper is the test. Fragile as the wings of the dragon fly, clinging as the cocoon of the silk worm. When you can walk its length and leave no trace, you will have learned."
- Kung Fu: The Legend Continues: "The grandson of Kwai Chang Caine walks out of the past..."
- The original Kamen Rider: "Kamen Rider, Takeshi Hongo, is an modified human. He was altered by Shocker, an evil secret society with aspirations for world domination. Kamen Rider fights against Shocker for the sake of human freedom!" Some other Showa Kamen Riders such as X had similar opening narrations.
- Kamen Rider Den-O: "The train of time, DenLiner. Will its next stop be the past or the future?"
- Nightmare Cafe: "Now that I've got your attention, here's the deal: See those two people? That's Frank, and that's Faye. Strangers when they met, turns out they've got a lot in common..."
- Rhoda: "My name is Rhoda Morgenstern. I was born in the Bronx, New York, in December 1941. I've always felt responsible for World War II..."
- "What you are witnessing is real. The participants are not actors. They are actual litigants with a case pending in a California municipal court. Both parties have agreed to dismiss their court cases and have their disputes settled here, in our forum: The People's Court."
- The current version is set "in a New York metropolitan area court".
- JAG featured one read by Don LaFontaine for its second and third seasons explaining main character Harmon Rabb's backstory for viewers who may have missed the first year on NBC. It was dropped after the fourth season.
- "Now, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, starring Pete, Pete's brother Pete, and me, Ellen. Today's adventure...[insert episode title here]."
- Monkey (the English-language dub of the late-70s Japanese adaption of Journey to the West) features extended introductory narration explaining Monkey's origins in what is probably intentionally tongue-in-cheek fauxlosophic style that might or might not be present in the Japanese original.
- Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport
The thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat
The human drama of athletic competition
This is ABC's Wide World of Sports!
- ....."Gentlemen.....we can rebuild him..."
- "Five years ago, a man's fantasy became reality... in a form never seen before: 'Kitchen Stadium,' A giant cooking arena."
- Castle: "There are two kinds of folk who sit around and think about how to kill people - psychopaths and mystery writers. I'm the kind that pays better."
- Later seasons of Mutant X had Adam explaining the basic premise of the show, replacing the first season's "random words superimposed over the credits" approach.
- The first season of Alias. "My name is Sydney Bristow. Seven years ago I was recruited by a secret branch of the CIA called SD-6..."
- Except the episode 'Q&A' as the episode itself contained Sydney explaining everything usually in the opening narration to a character played by Terry O'Quinn.
- Hart To Hart opened with the title characters being introduced by their butler, Max.
MAX: By the way, my name is Max. I take care of both of 'em. Which ain't easy. 'Cause when they met, it was murder.
- Space: Above and Beyond added one about halfway through its only season, narrated by Colonel T. C. Mc Queen.
- "And who am I? That's one secret I'll never tell. You know you love me. XOXO, Gossip Girl."
- At the Cold Opening: "Gossip Girl here. Your one and only source into the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite."
- You really can't have a Game Show without one of these. Here are just a few:
- "Today, these three players are after hiiiigh stakes/biiiig bucks, but they'll have to avoid the Whammy, as they play the most exciting game of their lives! From Television City in Hollywood, it's time to Press Your Luck! And now, here's your host, the STAR of Press Your Luck, Peter Tomarken!" In a Double Whammy (no pun intended) of tropes, most episodes started with a "Previously on" montage of past contestants before announcer Rod Roddy went into the phrase.
- "This...is... Jeopardy! Now entering the studio are today's contestants..."
- It isn't used any more, but Wheel of Fortune used to open thusly: "Look at this studio, filled with glamorous prizes! Fabulous and exciting merchandise! (insert the descriptions of three prizes) Over $— thousand dollars, just waiting to be won on... ."
- During the show's first 11 months on the air – January to the last program before the experimental "hour-long" programs in December 1975, a different introdcution was used. The camera showed four or five prizes, with announcer Charlie O'Donnell reading them off (e.g., "A brass bed! An TV/stereo console! A trip to Japan! A brand new convertible! Or a luxurious mink coat!") followed by the obligatory, "Just some of the many prizes available today. Over (dollar amount) just waiting to be won on Wheeeeeeel of Fortune!"
- The introduction was again changed starting in December 1975, and went until sometime later (likely, 1977): "Just look at this studio, filled with beautiful and imaginative gifts" – with close ups of several of the bigger-ticket prizes – "which can be purchased today on Wheel of Fortune! Total retail value of all these prizes: more than (amount)! Now, let's meet the host of Wheel of Fortune: Chuck Woolery!"
- Pyramid: During the 1980s daytime run, a "Previously On"-type montage was played prior to the announcer exclaiming, "From Television City in Hollywood, this is The (New) $25,000 Pyramid. Today's special guests are (insert celebrities here). And now, here's your host, Dick Clark!" Differences in other versions:
- 1973 daytime: During the first few months of the "$10,000 Pyramid," the opening line was much different. Starting with a camera shot on the Winner's Circle, the announcer began, "Keep your eye on this spot. You are about to see one celebrity and one contestant step into this circle for the chance to win $10,000 in less than a minute. Ladies and gentlemen...this is The $10,000 Pyramid!" Following that would be introduction of celebrities and Dick Clark.
- 1973-1980 daytime and 1974-1979 syndicated: Starting in the mid-summer of 1973, and continuing through the rest of the run, the familiar "previously on" clips were played, followed by the announcer saying, "This is The ($10,000/$20,000/$25,000) Pyramid!"
- 1981 syndicated: No opening clips; the open simply went into "This is The $50,000 Pyramid!"
- 1985-1988 syndicated: No opening clips were played; the announcer simply said, "From Television City in Hollywood ... ."
- 1991: An opening shot of the Winner's Circle, followed by the announcer saying, "This is the Winner's Circle. This is where someone is guaranteed to win $100,000. From Television City in Hollywood, this is The $100,000 Pyramid!"
- 2002-04: (Insert names of celebrities), Today on Pyramid. And now, here's the host of Pyramid, Donny Osmond!
- 2012: Similar to 1985-88 syndicated intro, but begins with "From Studio City, California, this is The Pyramid!"
- "From (Television City in) Hollywood, it's America's game of strategy, knowledge and fun, it's Tic-Tac-Dough!"
- Or, in the critically derided 1990 version: "In a moment, the game that intrigued a nation. In a moment, the game of strategy, knowledge & fun. In a moment, Tic Tac Dough! And now, our host, who will guide us through the next 30 minutes of Tic Tac Dough, Patrick Wayne!"
- "It's time for the Family Feud. Introducing the (insert last name here) Family (insert individual names here), ready for action! And the (opposing team) Family (followed by their individual names). On your marks, let's start...the Family Feud! With the star of Family Feud, Richard Dawson!
- The Ray Combs version had a similar into, but began with "Let's meet the ("last name") Family", and continued with "Playing against the ("opposing team") Family.
- "You're about to see these two teams/families battle it out, for $10,000/$20,000 in cash! 'Cause it's time to plaaaaaay... the Family FEUUUUUUD!
- "It's time to play Family Feud! This is Joey Fatone from Universal Orlando Resort in sunny Florida! And now, here's the star of our show, give it up for STEVE HARVEY!!!"
- "These people, dressed as they are, come from all over the United States to make deals, here in the marketplace of America — Let's! Make! A Deal! And now, here's America's top trader, TV's biiiig dealer, Monty Hall!"
- Hello, I'm Ben Stein, and today, I'm going to make history. I'm putting up $5,000 that says I know more than you. So, if you're fast enough, smart enough, and you've got the guts, you can Win Ben Stein's Money!"
- "Here it comes! From the Bob Barker Studio at CBS in Hollywood! Television's most exciting hour of fantastic prizes! The fabulous 60 minute Price Is Right! (Four contestants are introduced followed by "Come on down!") You are the first four contestants on The Price Is Right. And now, here is the star of The Price is Right, Bob........Barker!" (Today, it's now Drew Carey.)
- The "Bob Barker Studio" reference was only added after the 5,000th episode in 1998. Also, in 2009, the two sentences that followed that reference were changed to simply "It's The Price is Right!", and Drew's intro was changed to "Here's your host..."
- Prior to the mid-1970s on the daytime show, and throughout the 1972 and 1985 syndicated runs, the introduction was different: "A fortune in fabulous/fantastic/luxurious prizes could go to these people today/tonight if they know when The Price is Right!"
- The openings of the original Price (with Bill Cullen) were shorter but were drawn out with the inclusion of who the show's sponsors were.
- "Get set, America! It's time to come on down!"
- "Get ready to match the stars..."
- "Who will be...The Weakest Link?"
- The classic British example is the localized Sale of the Century: "From Norwich, it's the quiz of the week!". Always amusing since Norwich was never anybody's idea of a glittering showbiz town, which was kind of the point: Anglia TV, based in Norwich, was punching way above its weight with this show, and was keen to make sure everyone knew it.
- On the American version of Sale, the opening spiel usually began with the announcer introducing the returning champion and his winnings. During the series' "Shopping Era," the announcer advised the viewer to stay tuned as the contestant was playing for the next big-ticket item ("Stay tuned, as (name) plays for a cash jackpot worth $83,000!"). After the champion was introduced, the announcer would name off several of the big-ticket items available. Originally, it was: "Today, on America's biggest bargain sale, we're offering (insert names of prizes and values), on sale today for (amount) ... . Two of the incredible bargains today on 'Sale of the Century'!" During the Winners Board and Winners Big Money Game eras, the introduction was shortened to introduce the champion and his accumulated winnings, followed by the announcer announcing (usually) four prizes available, followed by the car and the $50,000 cash jackpot.
- "Tonight, we're playing the games you love to play with your family in a whole new way! [games for that week's episode are announced] The games are bigger, the stakes are higher, and moments are priceless, right now on Family Game Night! And now, here's your host, Todd.............NEWTON!"
- "From the Chuck Barris stages in Hollywood, California... here come the newlyweds!"
- "From Universal Studios in Hollywood...the Samuel Goldwyn company presents...American Gladiators.
- The original 1978 intro of Card Sharks went as follows: "Ace is high/Deuce is low/Call it right/And win the dough! Onnnnn... Card Sharks! And here's the host of Card Sharks, Jim Perry!"
- This quickly gave way to different four-line poems on every episode, and eventually to poems submitted by viewers.
- My Name Is Earl
- ''Shameless' uses this to introduce the Gallagher family.
- Police, Camera, Action!: "Cameras, a vital tool in the fight against crime, we bring you the best and worst of what they capture... Start moving now!", then mid-series it became "Cameras, a vital tool in the fight against crime, we bring you the best and worst of what they capture... Take him out please, take him out!". For the new 2010 series, it is unknown what this will be.
- "COPS is filmed on location with the men and women of law enforcement. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."
- The first season of The Fall Guy had this opening narration from Lee Majors:
"This is the story of one of America's great unsung heroes. I mean, you've seen him but you never knew who he was. You've cheered for him and cried for him and women have wanted to die for him. But did he ever get any credit, or the girl? No! He's what we call the "stuntman" and the reason I'm talking so fondly about him is, well, because it's me, Colt Seaver. Anyway, picture work isn't wall-to-wall employment, so maybe you wonder how a guy keeps his head together. Well, one way is to wait by the phone...and wait...and wait. The other is to take an occasional job with the court system of the United States of America, where a man is considered innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, sometimes a lot of these people get out of jail on what we call bail. Then they run like hell. And that's where I come in. I sometimes pick up rent money trying to find them and bring them back to justice...and that reminds me of a very interesting case..."
- Cleopatra 2525 has one, just before it goes into that hideous Real Song Theme Tune
- In the first season of The Amazing Race, host Phil Keoghan provided a detailed one throughout the opening theme music. This was dropped in future installments.
- We travel through time to help history along; give it a push where it's needed. (Jeff: Bogg!) When the Omni's red, it means history's wrong. Our job is to get everything back on track ("Ding"; Bogg: Green light, kid! We did it!).
- The 1966-7 TV adaptation of The Green Hornet featured an Opening Narration voiced by series producer William Dozier. In addition to setting up the premise for modern viewers who may not have been familiar with the character, it also served as an homage to the original radio series, which also began with an opening narration.
Another challenge for the Green Hornet, his aide Kato, and their rolling arsenal, the Black Beauty. On police records a wanted criminal, the Green Hornet is really Britt Reid, owner-publisher of the Daily Sentinel, his dual identity known only to his secretary and to the district attorney. And now, to protect the rights and lives of decent citizens, rides THE GREEN HORNET.
- Beauty and the Beast has paired voiceovers from Vincent and Catherine describing their love for each other.
- Until Catherine is killed, after which Vincent gives a solo voiceover.
- Bob Cumming Show/Love that Bob: "Hold it! I think you're going to like this picture."
- "KELLOGGS, the greatest name in cereals presents: 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!
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 might 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!
And now another exciting episode in THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN!!!
- The third and fourth seasons of The Adventures of Superboy featured narration during the opening sequence: "Rocketed from a distant planet to a bold new destiny on earth, found by a Kansas family and raised as Clark Kent, he learned he possessed the strength of steel, the speed of light, and the desire to help all mankind. He is...Superboy!"
- Merlin: "In a land of myth, and a time of magic..."
- In series 1-3 Merlin is described as a young boy. It's not until series 4 that he's finally called a young man, leaving the audience to ponder whether he was ever an old boy inbetween.
- Street Hawk: "This is Jesse Mach, an ex-motorcycle cop, injured in the line of duty. Now a police troubleshooter, he's been recruited for a top secret government mission to ride Street Hawk—an all-terrain attack motorcycle designed to fight urban crime, capable of incredible speeds up to three hundred miles an hour...and immense firepower. Only one man, federal agent Norman Tuttle, knows Jesse Mach's true identity. The man...the machine...Street Hawk."
- The eponymous main character of Nikita has a pretty Bad Ass one that changes throughout the first season as events change.
- -> "My name is Nikita. Six years ago I was taken out of prison and forced by a covert unit of the government to be an assassin. Three years ago I escaped, and have been hunted ever since. I was the first recruit to get out... I'm going to make certain I'm not the last."
- "It's Saturday Night Live! Featuring/Starring [current cast], Lenny Pickett and the Saturday Night Live band! Musical guest, [name of musical guest], and your host [the guest host for that week]! Ladies and gentleman, [the aforementioned guest host]!"
- Later versions has the same format, but omits "Lenny Pickett and the Saturday Night Live band!"
- For a while it was "... G.E. Smith and the Saturday Night Live Band..."
- "From New York/Hollywood, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, (featuring [names of guests]). And now, here's.......................JOHNNY!
- Ghost Adventures: "My name is Zac Bagans. I never believed in ghosts until I came face-to-face with one..."
- Ultra Q: "(expository information on what is about to occur) During the next 30 minutes your soul will leave your body and will enter this mysterious dimension..."
- Beginning with the second season, Bosom Buddies had an opening narration prefixed to the opening credits proper. So the premise was explained (and somewhat defensively justified) twice each and every week, once in voiceover and once in flashback clips under the theme song.
Henry: When we first moved to New York we found a great apartment that was dirt cheap.
Kip: And we found out why it was so cheap. [wrecking ball gag]
Henry: Our friend Amy said there was a great apartment in her building —
Kip: — dirt cheap! But it was a hotel for women. Okay, we made one adjustment.
Henry: Now these other ladies know us as Buffy and Hildegard.
Kip: But they also know us a Kip and Henry, Buffy and Hildy's "brothers." I'm crazy about the blonde.
Henry: This experience is going to make a great book.
Kip: You see, it's all perfectly normal...
- "Some people hustle pool, some people hustle cars, but have you ever heard about the man who hustles stars? Jack Horkheimer: Star Hustler, director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium."*
- In Grimm, the opining narration comes in the form of a quote from the fairy tale the villain of the week comes from.
- K-tai Investigator 7: "Fighting cyber crimes, the walking cellphone Seven. This is the reality of tomorrow."
- The first two-thirds of season one of Nikita used one, altering it when Alex was promoted to field agent. For the last four or five episodes, it was dropped in favor of Previously On.
- Person of Interest: "You are being watched. The government has a secret system, a Machine that spies on you every hour of every day. ..."
- Unforgettable: "My name is Carrie Wells. Only a few people in the world have the ability to remember everything. I'm one of them."
- "The rich and powerful take what they want; we steal it back for you. We provide... Leverage."
- 1000 Ways to Die: "Death is everywhere. Most people try to avoid it; others can't get out of its way..."
- El Chavo del ocho had three slightly different ones, although all of them announce the cast for that episode.
- Tracker, every ep after "The Miracle". "This is Cirron, my home. One of six planets in the Migar federation. There was a prison break. 216 of the most violent criminals have disappeared into the city of Chicago. Finding them won't be easy. They aren't human. Luckily for Earth, neither am I".
- "This program is about Unsolved Mysteries. Whenever possible, actual family members and police officials have participated in recreating the events. What you are about to see is not a news broadcast".
- Earth: Final Conflict had several different opening narrations because of the cast changing over time.
- "In the criminal justice system, the People are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys who prosecute offenders. These are their stories." *chung chung*
- "Soul Train! (Television's longest running music program, and) the hippest trip in America. (Sid McCoy then goes on to announce the musical guests and/or any special events for that week), and the Soul Train dancers. And now, here's your host, Don Cornelius!"
- "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"
- On radio, each episode of Yours Truly Johnny Dollar began with the announcer declaring "Time now for...", followed by a telephone ring that would be answered by the leading man saying "Johnny Dollar". This was used to great effect following a Cliff Hanger in which Dollar had been shot: the phone rings several times before a heavily medicated Dollar answers the phone from a hospital bed. The first season included an extended opening narration afterward, noting that, "When it comes to insurance investigations, he's simply an expert; when it comes to padding his expense reports, he's an outright genius."
- The Lone Ranger - "Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear..."
- It wasn't always the first line though. Usually, it was: "A fiery horse with a speed of light, a cloud of dust, and hearty 'Hi-o Silver!' (The Lone Ranger rides again!)".
- "The man in the saddle is angular and long-legged. His skin is sun-dyed brown. The gun in his holster is gray steel and rainbow mother-of-pearl, its handle unmarked. People call them both The Six Shooter".
- The radio version of Gunsmoke had a real classic:
Announcer: Around Dodge City and in the territory out west, there's just one way to handle the killers and the spoilers, and that's with a U.S. Marshal and the smell of...Gunsmoke! (theme music starts) Gunsmoke, starring William Conrad. The story of the violence that moved west with young America, and the story of a man who moved with it.
William Conrad: I'm that man. Matt Dillon, United States Marshal. The first man they look for and the last they want to meet. It's a chancy job, and it makes a man watchful...and a little lonely.
- "From approximately coast to coast, Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding present the CBS Radio Network."
- "Lights Out brings you stories of the supernatural and the supernormal, dramatizing the fantasies and the mysteries of the unknown. We tell you this frankly, so if you wish to avoid the excitement and tension of these imaginative plays, we urge you calmly - but sincerely - to turn off your radio...now."
- "And now, another tale well-calculated to keep you in...Suspense!"
- "Tired of the everyday routine? Ever dream of a life of romantic adventure? Want to get away from it all? We offer you... Escape!"
- "From the far horizons of the unknown come transcribed tales of new dimensions in time and space. These are stories of the future, adventures in which you'll live in a million could-be years on a thousand may-be worlds. The National Broadcasting Company, in cooperation with Street & Smith, publishers of Astounding Science Fiction Magazine, present... X...Minus...One!"
- "Welcome to Just A Minute!"
- The Guy Noir sketch on A Prairie Home Companion: "A dark night, in a city that knows how to keep its secrets. But on the twelfth floor of the ACME building, one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions. Guy Noir... Private Eye."
- (sung) J-E-L-L-O! Don Wilson: The Jell-O Program, starring Jack Benny, with Mary Livingston, Rochester, Dennis Day, Phil Harris and his orchestra, and yours truly, Don Wilson! The orchestra opens the program with (song title)!
- You Bet Your Life (Groucho Marx's radio comedy quiz series)
George Fenneman: Ladies and gentlemen, don't tell a soul, but the secret word tonight is <word>. W-O-R-D.
Groucho Marx: Really?!
- "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)!"
- The radio show was the origin of this famous intro, and was later carried over to at least three other adaptations.
- The radio version of Dragnet would open with a similar disclaimer to the one used on TV ("The story you are about to hear is true"). Then, announcer Hal Gibney would intone:
Dragnet, the documented drama of an actual crime. For the next thirty minutes, in cooperation with state, federal and local authorities, you will travel step-by-step on the side of the law through an actual case history, transcribed from official police files. From beginning to end, from crime to punishment, Dragnet is the story of your police force in action.
- The original radio series The Green Hornet:
He hunts the biggest of all game: public enemies who try to destroy our America... With his faithful valet Kato, Britt Reid, daring young publisher, matches wits with the Underworld, risking his life so that criminals and racketeers within the law may feel its weight by the sting of the Green Hornet!... Ride with Britt Reid as he races toward another thrilling adventure! The Green Hornet strikes again!
- Early versions of the narration had it as "He hunts the biggest of all game: public enemies even the G-men can't touch..." Legend has it that was changed at the behest of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who did not like the implication that there were any public enemies that his Special Agents (the "G-men") couldn't apprehend.
- "In the Grim Darkness of the far future, there is only war." Enough said.
- The novels have their own longer variation:
"It is the 41st milennium. For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the master of mankind by the will of the gods, and master of a million worlds by the might of his inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with power from the Dark Age of Technology. He is the Carrion Lord of the Imperium for whom a thousand souls are sacrificed every day, so that he may never truly die."
"Yet even in his deathless state, the Emperor continues his eternal vigilance. Mighty battlefleets cross the daemon-infested miasma of the Warp, the only route between distant stars, their way lit by the Astronomicon, the psychic manifestation of the Emperor's will. Vast armies give battle in His name on uncounted worlds. His soldiers are the Adeptus Astartes, the Space Marines, bio-engineered super-warriors. Their comrades in arms are legion: the Imperial Guard and countless planetary defense forces, the ever-vigilant Inquisition and the tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus to name only a few. But for all of their multitudes, they are barely enough to hold off the ever-present threat from aliens, heretics, mutants - and worse."
"To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. It is to live in the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable. These are the tales of those times. Forget the power of technology and science, for so much has been forgotten, never to be re-learned. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the Grim Dark
future there is only war. There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods."
- All the in-game movies in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri are a CG animation or montage, with a background voice reciting something, usually a fictional quote from the faction leaders, sometimes a passage from a book. Also, the opening sequence also features a montage with a narrator at the end, explaining the events that happened before the game.
- The famous opening text from Civilization became an Opening Narration in Civ 4 thanks to Leonard Nimoy.
- The creators of Total Annihilation didn't have enough money for much of a story, but what little story (and money) they had was put into an opening video with some narration.
"What began as a conflict over the transfer of consciousness from flesh to machines escalated into a war which has decimated a million worlds. The Core and the Arm have all but exhausted the resources of a galaxy in their struggle for domination. Both sides now crippled beyond repair, the remnants of their armies continue on ravaged planets, their hatred fuelled by over 4,000 years of total war. This is a fight to the death. For each side the only acceptable outcome is the complete elimination of the other."
- Super Metroid: "The last Metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace." Then a log entry by Samus, and the game begins.
- The PAL and subsequent versions of Metroid Prime open with a narration about Samus.
- The opening speech by Kratos, in Tales Of Symphonia.
- Eternal Darkness begins with a narration by Dr. Edward Roivas, whose narrations also precede all in-game chapters save one.
- "Dragon's Lair, the fantasy adventure where you become a valiant knight..."
- "Space Ace, defender of truth, justice and the planet Earth..."
- "War. War never changes..." from Fallout
- "In the year 2291, in an attempt to control violence among deep-space miners, the New Earth Government legalized no-holds-barred fighting. The Liandri Mining Corporation, working with the NEG, established a series of leagues and bloody public exhibitions. The fight's popularity grew with their brutality. Soon, Liandri discovered that the public matches were their most profitable enterprise. The professional league was formed: a cabal of the most violent and skilled warriors in known space, selected to fight in a Grand Tournament. Now it is 2341. Fifty years have passed since the founding of Deathmatch. Profits from the tournament number in the hundreds of billions."
- Prince Of Persia The Sands Of Time. "Most people think Time is like a river, that flows swift and sure in one direction. They are wrong. Sit down and I will tell you a tale like none that you have ever heard."
- Modern Warfare: "Fifty thousand people used to live here...now it's a ghost town."
- Mega Man Legends has one that starts with "In a land covered with endless water..."
- Bayonetta has the most awesome opening narration sequence ever. The naration is going while the player is fighting off a horde of angels on pieces of a destroyed clocktower that's plummeting down the side of a cliff. And the game only gets more awesome.
- Most RPGs by Square in the 80s and 90s opened with a legend. The most famous are the blue screens in Final Fantasy with Prelude playing. However World of Mana and SaGa also featured this with their themes of "Morning Sun", "Fear of the Angels" and the "Legacy" for SaGa.
- In AD 2101 War Was Beginning...
- Rise and shine Mr. Freeman, rise and shine...
- Star Fox 64: "Corneria, fourth planet of the Lylat System. The evil Andross turned this once thriving system into a wasteland of near extinction. General Pepper of the Cornerian Army was successful in banishing this maniacal scientist to the deserted, barren planet, Venom....
- Nier begins with Kaine giving Grimoire Weiss a piece of her mind about his helping the Shadowlord . In the form of a screaming, obscenity-laden rant.
Kainé: Weiss, you dumbass! Start making sense, you rotten book, or you're gonna be sorry! Maybe I'll rip your pages out one by one, or maybe I'll put you in the goddamn furnace! How can someone with such a big, smart brain get brainwashed like a little bitch, huh? "Oh, Shadowlord, I love you, Shadowlord! Come over her and give Weiss a big, sloppy kiss, Shadowlord!" Now pull your head out of your goddamn ass and START FUCKING HELPING US!
- "What was the start of all this? // When did the cogs of fate begin to turn? // Perhaps it is impossible to grasp that answer now, // From deep within the flow of time... // But, for a certainty, back then, // We loved so many, yet hated so much, // We hurt others and were hurt ourselves... // Yet even then we ran like the wind // Whilst our laughter echoed, // Under cerulean skies..."
- World of Warcraft has an opening narration when you create a new character specific to race. They were updated after the revamp of the old world during Cataclysm; even the races whose starting areas and quests, the Blood Elves and Draenei, were not radically changed got a new version.
- Badlands uses this in Buck's case:
Buck: Badlands. We were living a quiet life, when one day, for no reason, my wife and my children were killed in cold blood! And I was wounded, unable to help. Why this? Why us? Why? I won't let them get away with it! I'll get every last one of them!
- Homeworld has a rather epic one.
- X3: Terran Conflict: "Almost a millennium has passed since the last great plague of human kind had been wiped out from the solar system and its precious blue pearl planet Earth."
- Its predecessor X3: Reunion set the narration up as a news bulletin. Watch it here.
- Dragon Age: Origins has a narration and montage explaining the origins of the darkspawn and the Grey Wardens, followed by a narration specific to your character's origin story.
- Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir doesn't start with this; first you build your party aboard the Vigilant. When you go belowdecks, Volothamp Geddarm narrates an opening montage.
- The game adaptation of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream (but not the original short story) opens with AM's rant about how much he HATES, HATES, HATES humanity, performed with maximum ham by Harlan Ellison himself.
- Played with in that it's not opening narrations but Previews of the next episodes, but this is done in Asura's Wrath for those previews.
- Space Pirates And Zombies has a fairly long one, narrated by The Cynical Brit.
- Heroes of Might and Magic II's premise is explained in the intro by an unidentified narrator — "The troubles all began three years ago, with the passing of the old king, Lord Ironfist...".
- Parodied in the first episode of Everyday Heroes.
- The second and third Electric Wonderland stories begin with an explanation describing the comic's futuristic Cyberspace setting and (vaguely) the four main characters. In the third story, characters' word balloons obscure large parts of the opening narration, and it is never used again.
- The first Level 30 Psychiatry comic has a narration that turns out to be Roll reading aloud a flyer for the titular business.
- LG15: the resistance: "The fountain of youth is real, and it's in the blood of dozens of girls across the world..." This is shown over a montage of all the natural trait positive characters to appear in lonelygirl15 and KateModern.
- Doom House:
My name is Reginald P. Linux, and ever since my wife died I've been very depressed. This is why I've been searching for the house of my dreams, but as a philosopher once said, "Be careful what you dream for because you JUST... MIGHT... GET IT."
- "...We are defenders of the night! We are Gargoyles!"
- Though it's notable that this narration wasn't added until the second season, along with a change in the clips, adding in second-season material.
- Sky Commanders is another series that didn't add an opening narration until its later episodes.
- Avatar The Last Airbender features a brief description of the world, bending, the Avatar, and the War with the Fire Nation by Katara, with a longer version in the first episode.
- Aeon Flux ran the opening titles under a dialogue between the two lead characters.
- Reboot: "I come from the Net - through systems, peoples, and cities - to this place, Mainframe..."
- This one changed several times according to various plot developments, although kept the same basic scheme.
- Samurai Jack: "...and undo the future that is Aku!"
- The Powerpuff Girls: "Sugar, spice, and everything nice. These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect little girls..."
- "He has become the ultimate supercop—RoboCop!" From the 1988 Animated Adaptation.
- "...And so, the battle continues in a new place and time with Dino-Riders!"
- "We used to be four ordinary teenagers—until one day, we met some new friends from out of town. They were called —Dinosaucers!"
- "...The honor-bound protector of the innocent! Rambo— the Force of Freedom!" From the 1986 Animated Adaptation.
- "I am Adam, Prince of Eternia..." from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. The Revival series subverted this by having Adam begin this narration only to be interrupted by an enemy attack and the theme song.
- Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons: "The Mysterons: sworn enemies of Earth... leading the fight, one man whom fate has made indestructible! His name: Captain Scarlet."
- "The alien world of Mer is being devoured by dark water! Only Ren, a young prince, can stop it, by finding the Lost Thirteen Treasures of Rule! At his side is an unlikely but loyal crew of misfits; at his back, the evil pirate lord Bloth, who will stop at nothing to get the treasures for himself. It's high adventure with... The Pirates Of Dark Water!"
- The first episode of The Transformers opens with a narration to introduce us to the eponymous machines.
- Three Delivery has one, narrated by the Titular Trio, Tobey, Sue, and Sid: "Years ago, our Nana was trained in the ways of magic..."
- "...Whatever the challenge, they are ready — the Centurions!"
- Adventures Of The Galaxy Rangers combines Opening Narration with an Expository Theme Tune.
- The Sunbow G.I. Joe series as well — "its purpose: to defend human freedom against COBRA, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world!"
- And the Conan The Adventurer animated series.
- Before either of the above shows, Filmation's Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids did the same thing:
"This is Bill Cosby
coming at you with music and fun, and if you're not careful, you'll learn something before it's done. (So let's get ready, okay?) Hey, hey, hey!*
- Count Duckula had one of these and an Expository Theme Tune, oddly enough.
- El Tigre: "Miracle City! A spicy cesspool of crime and villainy..."
- The Wild Thornberrys: "This is me, Eliza Thornberry, part of your average family. I've got a dad, a mom, and a sister. There is Donny..."
- Beast Machines: "This is Optimus Primal, and he has returned to Cybertron. With no memory of how he got back, and none of his friends the Maximals to be seen, he is attacked by a new enemy - the strange Vehicons. Whilst on the run he manages to find his fellow Maximals. Deep in the heart of Cybertron they find the Oracle computer, which transformers them into a new kind of Transformer. But they still have a lot to learn about their new bodies...and who is out to get them?"
- Transformers Cybertron: "Our worlds are in danger. To save them and the galaxy, we must find the four Cyber Planet Keys before the Decepticons can use them for evil. It is our mission. Hot Shot! Jetfire! Vector Prime! Landmine! Scattorshot! Optimus Prime! Transform and roll out."
- The Trap Door: "Somewhere in the dark and nasty regions where nobody goes stands an ancient castle..."
- "In the great hall of the Justice League, there are assembled 4 of the world's greatest heroes, created from the cosmic legends of the universe: Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, and...those three junior Super Friends, Wendy, Marvin, and Wonderdog! Their mission: to fight injustice, to right that which is wrong, and to serve all mankind!"
- Subsequent seasons later had different ones.
- Laff-a-Lympics: "Heavens to hilarity, this is it, sports fans! Participants, even!..."
- Captain Planet And The Planeteers: "Our world is in peril! Gaia, the spirit of the earth, can no longer stand the terrible destruction plaguing our planet..."
- "Somewhere out in space live The Herculoids ..."
- Tugs explained to us that "The tugboat, for its size, is the most powerful craft afloat. And the Star Tugs are the power behind the docks and waterways that make up the Bigg City Port. This... is Tugs."
- "Ever since the late Stone Age, there have been unique individuals who solve problems. This is the story of three such heroes: Alfe, Roba, Horace, The Problem Solverz!"
- "And now, here they are...the most daredevil group of daffy drivers to ever whirl their wheels in the Wacky Races, competing for the title of the World's Wackiest Racer."
- The first season episodes of Exo Squad started with JT Marsh's narration that summed up the backstory of the show and about a half of said season (golden age of mankind, creation of Neosapiens, their rebellion, fall of the Homeworlds) and ended with a Title Drop.
- "But one man bursts his bonds to fight for justice! With his companions Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel, he pits his strength, his courage, and his fabulous Sunsword against the forces of evil! He is Thundarr The Barbarian!"
- "And there came a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, they became The Avengers!" (used only in season 2)
- Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! has Chiro retelling the story of himself coming across the Super Robot and becoming leader of the Monkey Team. It eventually leads to a Title Drop of the series' Wham Episode.
Chiro: "...the Robot Monkeys were awakened, and I, Chiro, made their leader. On a quest to save Shuggazoom City from the evils of the Skeleton King
- "From now on, like your parents were, you are the secret force of Pole Position!" Subverted in that it was spoken by Uncle Zachary to Dan and Tess themselves.
- "I have a very special secret. I'm the only one who knows about tiny people living in our walls called The Littles." This was replaced in seasons two and three by an Expository Theme Tune, which differed between the two seasons.
- "A thunder of jets in an open sky, a streak of gray and a cheerful 'Hi'! A loop, a whirl and a vertical climb and once again you know it's time for Rocky And His Friends!" (Changed to "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends" for the DVD releases)
- Fantastic Four cartoons from both 1967 and 1978 begin with a narrator listing off the names and powers of each member.