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Title Sequence Replacement

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It's been three and a half weeks since they announced that your favorite canceled show is gonna receive reruns. They just gotta bring back the theme song, you think to yourself over and over, that's part of its identity. Come the golden hour, you press the power button and flick your way to the appropriate channel for the cascade of memories to pour upon you... only to find the theme song isn't quite the way you remember it all those years ago.

Maybe they took out an insignificant word from a verse, maybe they used a different tune altogether, or perhaps they tacked on an instrumental melody in place of what used to be a lyric-based song. Heck, they might have taken one of the already-existing theme songs endemic to just one season, and applied it to episodes from every other season. In some cases, the change might not even be the music, but rather an alteration of visuals. Whatever the business, your prime-time herald of onscreen goodness has been thrown in the gutter in favor of a revised, bootstrapped, or entirely new idea.


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  • Intro/Outro sequences are shorter in North America than in Japan to make room for more commercials. Many anime shows are shown with different and shorter opening and ending sequences on American broadcast television, even when they were dubbed uncut, though the home video releases usually have the original Japanese sequences.

  • Dragon Ball originally used two opening animations and four ending animations, but the English dub and DVDs only use opening 1 and ending 2. This is apparently because Toei only gave them a single clean opening and ending, and have not given any foreign dubs the other versions at all. Despite this, intro 2 is used in the obscure Harmony Gold dub.
  • A variation: During the [adult swim] run of the 2003 anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist, only two of the series' four opening sequences were shown, because the bands that performed those songs made a deal with Cartoon Network in order to try and branch out into the North American market.
  • Inverted with Hamtaro. The second-season opening was only shown once due to an error on Cartoon Network's end in North America. Other times the second season opening was replaced with first-season opening, even though some fans thought the second-season song was better. Outside the continent, the second-season theme was aired properly.
  • Due to music rights and cost issues, Funimation's DVD release of the first half of Kodocha used the second opening sequence for all episodes. And taking things one step further, they were forced to excise or change references to the song and the band, to the point of completely muting the audio in some scenes (like the one in the first 16 episodes) where the song or some remix thereof was used. This only affected the Japanese audio track.
  • Speed Racer, when it aired in the 90s, had a much more stylized logo than the one used in the original 1960s run. The Funimation Blu-Ray version uses the 1960s logo in the intro whereas the box art and marketing material use the more familiar 1990s logo.
  • Sunrise usually has a few openings for each show (usually four per 50 episode series), but decided to have just two openings in the English version of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, the second and fourth.
  • One of the One Piece endings was skipped for the North American version and replaced with the ending that followed it due to music rights issues.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Many early sitcoms worked a sponsor into the open credits; these are cut short to remove the plug or (as in I Love Lucy below) replaced entirely.

  • Reruns of 3-2-1 Contact's first season replaced the original title sequence with the 1983-1986 version. The show's recut, Classroom Contact, used an edited version of the Season 6 & 7 sequence.
  • The Bionic Woman (1976-1978). The main title for the second season was markedly superior to that of the first season, so in reruns they went back and changed the first season's episodes' main titles to those of the second season.
  • When Boy Meets World aired in syndication, and on Disney Channel, the season four opener was used in place of the old intros used in those previous three seasons, though, oddly, the season two and three openers are each much shorter than season four's. The sequences used in seasons 5-7 were kept intact for those respective seasons.
  • One rerun of the Doctor Who episode "Genesis of the Daleks" used the Seventh Doctor's opening credits, with the Fourth Doctor's face superimposed over the Seventh's.
  • The Drew Carey Show uses only the "Cleveland Rocks" opening on syndication.
  • TBS uses an Awesome Music-robbing alternate opening when rerunning The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
  • Lucille Ball's follow-up sitcom The Lucy Show had a new opening sequence practically every season during its original run. Season 1 had stick-figure cartoon caricatures of Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance, reminiscent of the original I Love Lucy openings; season 2 had a montage of publicity stills; season 3 had a compilation of footage from the previous 2 seasons, and season 4 introduced the famous "kaleidoscope" opening. Season 5 began with a whimsical cartoon bouncing ball opening, with Lucy's head popping out of a jack-in-a-box, but Lucille reportedly did not care for it and the series reverted back to the kaleidoscope intro for the remainder of its run (albeit with re-orchestrated theme music underscoring it). The kaleidoscope intro was commonly used for every episode in syndication, with Vivian Vance's name cut-in instead of Gale Gordon's for the first 3 seasons.
  • The Monkees' two openings are similar, but the second season version mixes newer episode clips with older ones. The second season version is the only one used in syndication.
  • Phil of the Future: Since Season 2, reruns of Season 1 have the first opening removed and replaced with the second.
  • Reruns of Quantum Leap use the third season credits sequence exclusively, most noticeably replacing the fifth season's rearranged theme.
  • Reading Rainbow did this, to the disappointment of those who fondly remember the trippiness of the original intro. This resulted in some pretty awkward transitions, with the newer title sequences from 1999 and 2000 cutting to episodes from as early as 1983.
  • Red Dwarf, when The BBC re-edited it to add more special effects (à la the Star Wars reissues), added a new title sequence for all the seasons.
  • When the junior high episodes of Saved by the Bell are rerun, they show an intro similar to the rest of the show. The junior high years were originally aired as Good Morning Miss Bliss and had entirely different music.
  • When pre-season 25 Sesame Street episodes were repackaged as part of later seasons, the original opening and closing credits (among other things) were replaced. Also, when recurring segments such as "Sesame Street News Flash" and "Monsterpiece Theater" had their title sequences updated, the newer openings often got applied to older segments.
    • In between seasons 30 and 31, some season 29 episodes were reran with the then-current opening replacing the season 24 opening.
  • Some syndication packages for Space: 1999 dubbed the 2nd-season theme music over the opening credits for the 1st-season episodes, even though the 2nd-season theme didn't mesh at all well with the jump-cut credit sequences which were originally cut to fit Barry Grey's original theme. A few packages even replaced the entire opening-credit sequence, despite the fact that there were several significant cast changes between the two seasons. (Barry Morse [Professor Bergman], featured in the first-season credits, had left the show, while Tony Anholt [Tony Verdeschi] and Catherine Schell [Maya], both prominently featured in the 2nd-season credits, were never seen or even mentioned in the first season.)
  • Stargate SG-1's original opening sequence consisted of the camera panning around an Ancient Egyptian statue while the credits displayed (this is Stock Footage from the credits of the Stargate movie). This was used for the entirety of its run on Showtime, with the exception of Season 3. Since moving to the Sci-Fi Channel, all subsequent re-airings of Season 1-5 episodes use the Season 3 opening. Oddly, the DVDs use the Season 3 opening for Seasons 1-3, but the Egyptian statue opening for Seasons 4-5.
  • For the two-hour series premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a version of the titles is used which lists the actors names without also listing who they play, as in every other episode of the show. This was intended to evoke a theatrical movie feel, but when the two-hour was split into separate episodes for syndication, the regular title sequence is used instead for both parts.
  • Viewers might not realize that That's So Raven had four seasons, since the opening for the second season was mysteriously deleted and that of the third took its place. Disney+ put it back, though.
  • When you watch a syndicated rerun of a first-season episode of The Twilight Zone (1959), the odds are 50-50 that the original title sequence (with the Bernard Herrmann music) will be replaced by the second season opening (the first one to use Marius Constant's more familiar theme).
  • The pilot of Yes, Minister had a different title sequence from the other episodes, which was replaced by the normal one in reruns.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the 1990s, there was an alternative opening to Joe 90, which was almost identical to the original but inexplicably replaced the original animated logo with an inferior non-animated version.
  • Reruns of Season One of The Muppet Show often used the second season's title sequence, where all the characters appear in arches, and Gonzo sticks his head out of the "O" playing a trumpet, rather than the actual title sequence, in which a handful of characters appear in rows, and then on a pyramid, and Gonzo bangs the "O" like a gong.

    Western Animation 
  • The broadcast syndicated reruns of American Dad! from seasons 1 to 4 replace the changing newspaper headline Couch Gag to the opening where Roger appears in Stan's car and has on a different costume [i.e., his hockey player costume from "Return of the Bling", his Sassy Black Woman character from "Oedipal Panties", his Francine costume from "Best Little Horror House in Langley Falls", etc.] The TBS and [adult swim] airings have the original openings for both the early episodes and the new ones.
  • An unusual case for The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes: episodes 20-26 broadcast overseas before airing in North America, and boasted the same opening used in preceding episodes. However, Disney XD decided to tack recaps onto the beginning of their broadcasts, which resulted in the theme song becoming replaced by a short expository speech (which doubles as a promo for the Marvel Cinematic Universe). When the show became available for legal download, streaming, and home video purchase, the recaps and expository speeches got removed to make room for the original theme song.
  • The Beatles changed their opening titles in each of its three first-run seasons as well as the song for it. "Can't Buy Me Love" was season one, "Help!" for season two and "And Your Bird Can Sing" for season three. When the cartoons were screened on Disney Channel, they were screened sans openings, closing and bumpers. When it ran on MTV, they applied the season three opening.
  • Darkwing Duck had a different opening sequence when it originally ran on the Disney Channel, but the opening was changed when it went into syndication as part of The Disney Afternoon. The syndication opening is what's been used in airings since, as well as on the DVDs.
  • Dora the Explorer:
    • Later remastered airings of Season 2 episodes "Whose Birthday is It" and "Super Spies", as well as all home media releases, used the Season 3-4 intro (with the Explorer Stars and Diego) in place of the original one, leading them to be confused as part of a newer season.
    • The first two Season 3 episodes, "Dora Had a Little Lamb" and "The Lost City", opened with the Season 1-2 intro on their DVD releases, while TV airings had them open with the Season 3-4 intro.
  • Some reruns of The Fantastic Four (1967) remove the Opening Narration, which details the names and powers of each Fantastic Four member.
  • The Flintstones' original title sequence (featuring entirely different animation and a different, Instrumental Theme Tune) was replaced with the now-familiar "Meet the Flintstones" opening in the show's third season, and was rarely seen until Cartoon Network came along.
  • The original intro sequence to Garfield and Friends, used only in the show's first two seasons, was replaced in syndication by the second intro sequence from seasons 3-5. It then inverted the trope on the DVDs, when the third intro sequence was replaced by the second (the later seasons, which had the third intro sequence, were never syndicated), but kept the first intro sequence intact.
  • When Jay Ward's Hoppity Hooper went into syndication as ''Uncle Waldo's Cartoon Show," it opened with a still shot of the title card with Uncle Waldo (one of the characters on the show) thrusting his cane like a fencing foil while the original HH theme ("Fight Fierce, Young Teddy!") plays. It was spliced onto the original title animation of the O's in Hoppity's name turning into Hoppity, Waldo and Fillmore.
  • To match the '80s revival, The Jetsons' first season lost not only its original opening, but also its original end credits and Laugh Track, until Cartoon Network restored them.
  • When Season 1 episodes of Jimmy Two-Shoes were reran on Teletoon separately as opposed to their original Two Shorts format, the original intro and closing credits were replaced with the ones from Season 2.
  • When Teletoon aired the first season of Johnny Test, which they normally don't have the rights to, in November 2013, the original theme song was replaced with the then-current one. Despite this, they had uploaded a video of the original intro to the Cartoon Network Canada website.
  • When the original Jonny Quest series and the 1986 revival were syndicated together on The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera, the original show's title sequence was replaced with the revival's. Even the Episode Title Cards were redone in the new series' style, with the writers' names added.
  • North America's Disney airings of Madeline all had its original "I'm Madeline" opening replaced with the "Hats Off to Madeline" used in The New Adventures of Madeline. Inverted with Disney Asia's airing of the second season of The New Adventures of Madeline though, in which they replaced the third opening, "Oh, Madeline", with "Hats Off to Madeline".
  • When CBS brought Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! back in repeats in 1974 after a two-year breather, in mid-season they replaced the ending credits sequence with an edited celebrity-less and vocal-less sequence from The New Scooby-Doo Movies but with the credit list of Where Are You! over a static picture of Scooby. The "we'll be right back" bumpers from Movies replaced the original bumper from Where Are You! The opening titles for season two were different from the season one openings.
  • The debut show of the Punky Brewster cartoon had a scene where after Glomer lands on Punky and she hugs him, he leaps out of Punky's arms as the rainbow gateway to his home is disappearing. The frames of him leaping out of Punky's arms were cut in the 12 other shows of the first season then restored throughout season two.
  • The Simpsons episodes from seasons 1 to around 6 replaced the original Couch Gags with the couch gag from the season five episode "Rosebud" note  where The Simpsons rush to the couch, only to find clones of themselves on the couch (unless the episode was a Treehouse of Horror episode, in which the original couch gag or opening is shown intact). When more episodes were put into syndication, the original couch gags were kept in (except for the season eight episode "The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show". In the original airing, the couch gag was a repeat of the one from "Bart After Dark"note  where The Simpsons are part of a Simpsonized version of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album. In syndication, the Simpsons' Sgt. Pepper album couch gag is replaced with the one from "Kamp Krusty" in which The Simpsons rush to the couch and meet The Flintstones. The reason behind this change was because "The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show" is the episode that broke The Flintstones' record for longest-running animated prime-time show.)
  • The syndicated version of The Smurfs (1981), known as Smurfs Adventures, uses a shortened version of the original show's Season 4 intro sequence, though with no Smurf hopping onto a mushroom at the end when the show's title (modified to read SMURFS ADVENTURES with the "created by Peyo" byline added) is displayed. However, two episodes from Season 6 use the original Season 6 intro instead.
    • For seasons 1 through 4, the Season 4 closing theme is also used for the closing credits, instead of the original respective NBC version arrangements. For season 1, the closing theme was shortened to match, while in seasons 2-4, the longer version of Season 4's closing theme was used. Starting with season 5, the original NBC closing themes are used, although the intro sequence above remains the same.
  • South Park has a syndication-only version of the opening for seasons 1-9.
  • During SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron' original run, some first-season reruns used the second-season opening.
  • Beetlejuice had two different title sequences—one for the ABC show Saturday mornings and the other for the weekday series on Fox (which ran concurrently with the ABC show during the 1991-92 season).
  • When the Sci-Fi Channel reran The Transformers in the mid-90s, a new title sequence was crafted using the animation for the season 2 intro combined with the theme song used for seasons 3 and 4.