Peebles is truly fortunate to have a team of creative people who not only find joy in coming into the office each day to help our clients tell their story, but who also appreciate creativity found outside of the office. With the Olympics officially behind us, suddenly leaving a void in our evenings (who needs sleep?), we are getting excited for the return of Fall television!
For those of us who geek out on creative things, we have found ourselves increasingly intrigued by the evolution of the title sequence in television. With the introduction of DVRs, TiVo and on-demand services like Netflix and Hulu, television shows are cutting to the chase when it comes to the title sequence. Gone are the long, jingle filled, actor-centric title sequences of The Brady Bunch and Friends. While these introductions may have changed over the years, they are still incredibly important.
With the recent wave of Netflix Original shows and HBO hits upping the ante in the broadcast world, series producers have proved that branding each show with a unique and memorable title sequence can help bolster a show’s success. Think of them as a type of short story that sets the tone of a show. Nothing elicits the excited emotional response quite like hearing the first few notes or seeing the first few frames of your favorite show’s title sequence as you prepare to finally settle in and see what happens next! Shows enlist the help of creative directors, graphic artists, musicians and cinematographers to make their title sequences unique and unforgettable.
So, what makes a great title sequence?
The visuals in a title sequence start the story. They are often an abstract take on the show itself, setting the tone for the characters, setting and story. Whether sitting down every week to watch your favorite show, or planting yourself for a weekend-long binge, the visuals of the title sequence get you ready.
We especially like the title sequence from the Netflix original series Marco Polo. Taking inspiration from ancient Chinese parchment paintings, the sequence features the hypnotizing movement of dark watercolor ink as it bleeds across parchment, transforming into images that transport you back in time to Kublai Khan’s ancient Mongol empire.
What kind of agency would we be without talking about the iconic opening sequence to AMC’s hit series, Mad Men? The silhouette of a man enters a high-rise New York office and his world crumbles around him as he topples through space, passing his life’s work on the way down. This sequence takes an abstract approach to setting the stage of the high-pressure, opulent world of the 1950’s Madison Avenue advertising industry. Talk about unforgettable, the final image of Don Draper on the couch with cigarette in hand has become an instantly recognizable snapshot for the series.
You can keep your Times New Roman and Calibri – around here, we have a thing for type. We consider type as an art element in-and-of-itself, something that can be utilized way beyond simply crediting the players in a series.
In the Showtime hit series Dexter, the type pairs perfectly with the uncomfortably up-close morning ritual of our favorite serial killer, Dexter Morgan. The typography immediately creates a befitting sense of panicked, cringe-worthy menace.
AMC’s Breaking Bad is another example that masterfully uses the periodic table as a typographic design to skillfully set the scene for this cleverly dark series’ “celebration of science”.
In a world of visuals, lest we forget music is its own art form, and one that has the incredible power to elicit an emotional response. From the moving to the catchy, picking the right tune has become a vital component to many successful title sequences.
Ever heard of a little show made by HBO called, Game of Thrones? This series harnesses the power of a full string orchestra and deep percussion-filled beat that speeds any heart rate. It is instantly recognizable by loyal fans and non-watchers alike (are there any?). In addition to being played with record frequency each time it wins an Emmy, this title sequence itself won a Creative Arts Emmy Award in 2011.
There’s nothing better to get a viewer thinking about a show long after the credits have rolled than through a catchy jingle that they can’t stop humming, singing, or whistling days later. You won’t find a catchier song than the one used in the breakout Netflix hit, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. This song isn’t just stuck-in-my-head-for-days great; it mirrors some of the real life ‘auto-tuned news’ satirical videos that pop up all over social media. Accompanied by vibrant colors and sparkling typography, this intro is as upbeat as Kimmy herself, making this title sequence “Strong as Hell!”
So next time you settle in to watch your favorite show, before you pick up that remote to zip through the opening sequence, we hope you to take a moment to appreciate the artistry, and creative people behind it.