Title Sequences

Some TV shows have little or no title sequence. The first one I remember doing this was Lost. Just a spooky noise, and then on with the show. There are others with really minimal titles, though none pop into mind at the moment. I love the approach – I obviously know what I’m watching.

Hannibal’s is a little longer, but at least it’s got suitable creepifying music, is graphically interesting, and is still pretty short.

There are others, though, that have just gone nuts. Game of Thrones and House of Cards spring to mind. Both of them have some cool music, which is fine and everything, but who needs to sit through two minutes or more of the same thing every week? Both sequences were cool the first time, but after that, who needs them? Maybe do the full one once, and then do the 10-15 second version after that.

I can understand having title sequences back in the day, when who played the second kid from the left might have been of interest, and there was no other way to get that information. But now, what with IMDB and everything, you can find out who the grip’s cousin was with a little type-and-click. All the title sequences provide is motivation to grab the mouse/remote/whatever and skip them.

I guess the other function would have been to give people time to get settled, and to let Aunt Maude finish up in the bathroom, and get little Jimmy his glass of milk or whatever. But I don’t know anybody who watches TV “live” anymore, unless they have no choice. And then they do (because it’s a game or an awards ceremony or something where the perception is that something important in being revealed in real time) it quickly becomes obvious just how annoying commercials really are. Especially when you have the privilege of seeing the same one several times during the same show – I have several times caught the same one twice in a row! Definitely enough to get that company on my never-buy list. Anyhow, the “get in here, Dallas is starting” motivation has largely disappeared, and even back in the day it only mattered to somebody who couldn’t read a clock.

It’s actually even more impressive that House of Cards has gone this direction, given that they’re all-online and it’s got to be pretty obvious that whoever’s watching it is doing so digitally and with the ability to jump around in the file, not to mention starting it whenever they want.

Similarly, it’s annoying to sit through the little Dreamworks (or whatever) mini-film at the beginning of a movie (usually for two or three or more companies these days) , and then to sit through the text versions as well. Whose bright idea was that? As if, having just seen a kid run and jump into a lake followed by a logo, I need to see the name in plain text in order to figure out who I’m supposed to be feeling grateful to. Does anybody even care about this stuff? I’ve never heard anybody say “Oh, I thought this was a Dreamworks picture. I’m out of here!” Not to pick on Dreamworks – they just popped into mind (ironically, because of their logo). But that’s not a positive connotation, unless it’s still “any advertising is good advertising”.

The same could obviously be said for credits at the end of the show or movie. Seriously, this can only matter to people actually being listed, and maybe their grandparents or somebody. And if you do care, it’s easy to find the info online. Given that we’re already down to 40 minutes of actual show per hour (commercials don’t count), why not claw back a few minutes for real content instead of all the dead space?

I’ve seen a few networks that do the preview of another show (or next week’s show, or whatever) split-screen with the credits; the credits are then much too small to read, but given that nobody cares about them, this doesn’t really matter. Now, granted, I don’t care about the previews either, but at least this puts the credits in their place. Sometimes, these credits are even rolled at super-speed.

Putting additional movie content during or after the credits is particularly interesting – now we’re rewarding people for sitting through an otherwise singularly unrewarding 10 minutes of scrolling names of people they (very probably) don’t know and never will.

Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way. Now that we can jump around in the shows/movies, not to speak of watching them whenever we want, maybe I should just be glad I never need to sit through a title or credit sequence again. Those fond memories of just drumming my fingers while waiting for the real show (or waiting for the next one) are over.