Are Opening Credits A Thing of the Past?

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Whatever happened to opening credits? What used to be routine for every new show is now becoming a rarity. Apparently opening titles are totally five minutes ago, and anyone who’s anyone has one of those 3-5 second title cards instead. Studio 60 is one of these shows, and while watching last night’s episode, I kept wondering which characters I was supposed to be getting to know.I’m four episodes into the new series, and am still uncertain who the regulars are. Yeah, I could always just look at the text that runs across the bottom of the screen…but there is something stylish about opening titles that pulls me in. Sorkin got it right with The West Wing, and I’m thinking if there was any new show that could use them, Studio 60 would be it.

The Office benefits from its quirky opening and I’m definitely digging the new one Veronica Mars is sporting. Don’t get me wrong; a lot of shows are better off without them. I can’t imagine Lost having a title sequence featuring all 148 characters, and Ugly Betty’s snappy five-second title card was definitely the right way to go. Plus, who honestly doesn’t hit the fast-forward on their TiVo before that lengthy Desperate Housewives cartoon can get to Teri Hatcher’s name? Both Grey’s Anatomy and ER’s intros have been absent this season. The Grey’s opening just didn’t fit, but ER? It was classic! I can understand realizing it was too time-consuming ten years ago, but now? That’s just breaking tradition.

Designing an opening title sequence is most definitely an art. Brothers & Sisters is one that doesn’t feel in need of titles, although they worked well for Six Feet Under…and they are both shows about the father of a family dying, consequently bringing a family together, including an estranged sibling, a crazy mom, a gay brother, and Rachel Griffiths. Heroes on the other hand, could gain from a snazzy intro. It’s a series that needs a bit of explaining for first time viewers and there is a bundle of characters we have to know. If they did it in complete graphic novel style, it could really work well. It isn’t easy keeping up with so many new serial shows that maybe going back to the days of opening credits wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

By Intern Gordie Steiner

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