No matter how artfully and creatively shot a show like Breaking Bad or Mad Men or Silicon Valley is, a strong opening title sequence is still the most immediate visual identity of the show. It sets or reinforces the tone of the program and gets you hyped for the ensuing minutes. Still, there are plenty of bad or non-memorable title sequences out there, so how do the good ones pull it off? That’s what the latest video from Screen Smart, above, does a nice job at explaining.
In the clip, Ryan Hollinger explains that the title sequence serves as a sort of “opening act” to the show itself: “Title sequences, in theory, serve a tonal purpose, in which to awaken the show both emotionally and aesthetically to make the proceeding narrative more engaging from the outset.” This works even if the show uses a cold open, because the title sequence still furthers our desire to keep going through the use of appropriate music and visuals that may not be found in the show itself, but still reflect its tone.
The sequence can also relay significant plot information, like those of Twin Peaks, The Sopranos, and True Blood, all of which place a heavy emphasis on the setting because the locations plays a significant part in plot of these shows. The video cites many more examples like these that show just how these minute-long sequences can hook us into a show or be what we remember about it most.
Check it out above and let us know in the comments what your favorite opening title sequence. There’s a recent one we’re particularly fond of…
Featured image: AMC