CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

In the age of streaming TV, who needs title sequences?

The Verge: Until Tony Soprano took viewers on a strange journey over the New Jersey Turnpike for the very first time in 1999, television title sequences were mostly straightforward affairs.

There was an establishing shot: a barrel wave off the coast of Hawaii, or choppers carrying wounded vets over a mountain in Korea. Then a theme song swelled, an earworm that would echo in your brain like an advertising jingle: “Here’s the story, of a lovely lady…” Some names appeared alongside corresponding actors, who often turned to smile — or brood, depending on their character — in a weirdly stagey way. The audience was told the central premise in no uncertain terms.

1 comment:

Nicholas Cialone said...

I think that opening sequences are a great way to pull the audience into a show, whether it's with a very emotional score under-toning it, or extremely impressive visuals. However, I also understand the argument that once you have seen the first few episodes in a row, and are binge watching it, seeing the same title sequence over and over again, no matter how impressive it is, can become tiring. I think that changing the title sequence every once and a while can help, but still, some people just want to watch the show, and don't care about the title. There are a few shows that I will still watch the title sequence every time I see an episode, namely Game of Thrones. One reason is that the theme song is fun to sing along to, but also because the sequence is "modular", it changes based on events in the show, and I think this is an element of title sequences that other shows should adopt in some form or another