Q: What TV series has had the longest opening sequence?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

These sorts of questions are always a little disappointing, either because the "winner" is a show no one has heard of or because there is no clear winner at all. In this case, both are true.

It appears that the award for longest TV show intro goes to an Iranian drama called "Zire Tigh" (the title translates as "Under the Blade"). It was a prime-time, soap-style family saga, and its credits ran a whopping three minutes and 21 seconds.

That news is probably a little disappointing because it's unlikely many people reading this will have seen an episode of "Zire Tigh." Our hearts, of course, go out to the Iranians who had to sit through that slogging intro, but the fact just doesn't hit home. (It should be said that "Zire Tigh" was a landmark hit in Iran, so perhaps the credits weren't that much of a drag.)

In terms of shows that have been broadcast in North America, it's even less clear, but it seems "The Prisoner" had the longest opening sequence. (Yes, it's a British show, but it was rerun heavily over on this side of the Atlantic.)

The extended version of the credits ran for three minutes (almost exactly). I say "extended version" because it varied a little over the course of the season -- shorter credits aired in later episodes.

If you're still thinking, "OK, but people from the rest of the world have more time on their hands -- surely North American shows are snappier," then I have two words for you: "Twin Peaks."

The full opening sequence for that oddball classic ran for a still-lengthy two minutes and 40 seconds. They individually listed the name of every member of the enormous cast, with a tune by Angelo Badalamenti that seems to move slower than the accompanying footage of a lazy river flowing toward a waterfall.

Again, though, that's the extended version -- a shorter one (a minute, 40) was produced later.

That's a minute and a half longer than the opening credits for, say, the sitcom "Last Man Standing," led by Tim Allen ("Home Improvement"), in which a pair of boots drops onto the screen with the title, taking all of about six seconds.


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