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Among those TV shows that actually have an opening credits sequence, it's quite common for it to feature a car driving around whichever town the show is set in. This is probably because it's a visually dynamic way of introducing the setting, and isn't that expensive. Driving a Desk may be involved. There are variations with other vehicles such as skateboards and spaceships, but the common element is that the vehicle explores the setting of the show. An opening where the setting is the vehicle, as in many science fiction shows, is a different idea. Product Placement may or may not be involved.

Examples of Automobile Opening include:


Live Action TV

  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia features a car driving around the eponymous city.
  • Police Squad!'s title sequence began with a shot of the flashing light on a police cruiser. In The Movie, The Naked Gun, this was expanded to show the police cruiser driving around downtown L.A., driving off the roads, driving through buildings, driving into jungles, driving down waterslides, driving down the Death Star trench...
  • For its first 13 years, the opening title sequence of The Bill featured the area car (updated to a new one every few years or so) driving down a busy street in London.
  • The Sopranos features Tony driving from New York to his home in New Jersey. His route is deliberately inefficient to provide more interesting visuals.
  • Joey had the title character driving around Los Angeles.
  • Star Trek Voyager had the ship travelling through different astronomical settings, making it fit this trope.
  • Taxi had, of course, a taxi driving around New York.
  • Newhart's Automobile Opening was locally infamous in Vermont for 1) Showing the car cruising otherwise-empty backroads at the height of leaf-peeper season, and 2) Featuring a 1972 Oldsmobile long after everything that age on the state's heavily-salted roads in Real Life had rusted to oblivion.
  • Maude
  • Showa era Kamen Rider series, with the exception of Kamen Rider Amazon, do this with a motorcycle rather than a car. Kamen Rider V 3 does it with a motorcycle and a BBC Quarry that explodes randomly and pointlessly.
    • Especially Kamen Rider Black and Kamen Rider Black RX, whose opening consists of literally nothing but the hero riding his motorcycle(s) down a road.
    • Both openings of Kamen Rider Agito, especially the second one, was around 80% motorcycle riding and 20% everything else.
  • LA Law opened with a trunk of a Mercedes-Benz being slammed, showing a California personalized plate with this as the tag number. The opening scene had to be redone in the second season (and every year after), because the year sticker on the plate had expired.
    • Since California has front plates but not stickers, they could've avoided that by using a rear-engine car with the trunk in front, most likely a Porsche 911 since it was the only one that wouldn't qualify as an Alleged Car.
  • Another Steven Bochco series, Hill Street Blues had an opening montage showing police cars rolling out of the station-house.
  • Another Police Procedural, this one by Jack Webb, was Adam-12, which opened with a dispatcher calling the unit to investigate an armed mob, and showing it rolling off, lights and siren full blast.
  • Police Camera Action, although that's pretty much obvious for a show which focuses mainly on motoring dangers.
  • That 70s Show features various cast members rotating into the car singing along with Cheap Trick's In the Street.
  • A big chunk of The Prisoner's expository opening sequence has Patrick McGoohan driving around in the actor's own Lotus 7.
  • Mash did a flying version, showing the camp from overhead as choppers full of wounded are coming in for a landing.
  • The Jeffersons has the main characters in a cab.
  • The first season opening credits of The Mary Tyler Moore Show showed Mary driving herself into Minneapolis.
  • The title sequences of Starsky and Hutch changed over its run, but they always opened with a shot of Starsky's trademark Torino tearing around a corner, tires squealing.

Western Animation

  • The Flintstones, particularly the (once) rarely seen first opening sequence.
  • The Jetsons had George busing his family around on his flying car.
    • Back to The Future The Animated Series had a variant of this, with Doc Brown getting into his DeLorean and picking up Marty from 2015, Jules and Verne from the Stone Age, and Clara from 1885. His dog, Einstein, had the Time Train for the day.
  • The Simpsons features two cars and Bart's skateboard.
  • Postman Pat features Pat driving around Greendale, picking up the mail from the post office and delivering it, while all the villagers wave as he goes past.
  • A large part of the opening of Make Way For Noddy features Noddy traveling through ToyTown in his car, making deliveries.
  • The Mr. Magoo made-for-tv cartoons opened with him blithely driving his jalopy on a railroad track, through a barn, mowing down a hydrant, into a construction site, a roller-coaster track, finally into an electric substation and a fire of sparks.
  • The Pink Panther Show featured a live action sequence of (intercut with segments of the Pink Panther cartoons and random stock footage) known as the Panthermobile. At the end of the sequence the car drops off the Pink Panther and the Inspector at a cinema.
  • Family Guy had a Police Squad! style opening for one of its episodes, in which Stewie is riding his tricycle, culminating in him crashing into Homer in the garage.

  Peter: Hey Stewie! ...who the hell is that?

Video Games

  • Several Late to the Party PC adventure games open with a driving scene of your character's journey to the game's location, often using Real Life highway footage rather than CGI. Examples include Barrow Hill, Rhiannon, Dire Grove, and Baron Wittard.
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