PBS has recently begun the second season of its web series Off Book, and this week’s episode, focuses on our favorite things: movie and TV title design! Ahhh!

Ahhh! Don’t you just wish we hadn’t already talked about our personal favorite movie and TV opening titles, so we could talk about them NEW, ALL OVER AGAIN? If you didn’t talk about them last time, you should talk about them now. What’s your favorite?! It is weird that Off Book didn’t mention the Pee-Wee’s Playhouse opening credit sequence specifically, though. You guys awake over there at PBS? Helloooo? (Via TWBE.)

Comments (34)
  1. I don’t know if it counts, but the way Psych will occasionally tweak their theme song to fit the episode is pure brilliance.

    • This season was so great. I mean it’s always great, but man oh man this season was super great.

      • That’s because they got both Buffy and a Frog Brother to be in their vampire episode. That alone made the whole season an A+.

        • I seriously FREAKED OUT when I saw that. FREAKED OUT. Best show for cameos, hands down. And they usually make a joke about the guest star about 2-3 episodes before they appear. I notice stuff, just like Shawn Spencer.

          Seriously, I want this show to go on forever. They’re in their 6th season and it’s actually just getting better.

    • that really is one of the best things about psych. i don’t know why more shows don’t do that.

      • Because most shows can’t effortlessly recruit Boyz II Men to sing their theme song for one week only. Psych can apparently get any guests they want.

    • Their Twin Peaks homage was perfect.

    • Fringe does a cool thing such that the opening sequence is slightly different depending on which universe or timeline is featured in each episode. So a different color alerts you to the focus of the episode.

  2. Game of Thrones title sequence. Game over.

    • Oh, see I don’t like that one! I don’t think I get the context of the gears/steampunk-iness in a show that’s pretty solidly medieval in setting.

      • It’s the gears of war, betrayal and turmoil, Babs. They’re symbolic.

        • Yeah, but there are other symbols of war, betrayal, and turmoil. Like swords.

          • I don’t think swords convey the same symbolism of complex plotting and conspiring. There aren’t a lot of machinations within a sword.

            In the ‘Art of the Title Sequence’ interview with the Game of Thrones guys, the actual quote they use is “Cities and towns rise from the terrain, their mechanical growth driven by the gears of politics and the cogs of war.”
            http://www.artofthetitle.com/2011/05/12/game-of-thrones/

            Gears and cogs aren’t exclusive to the very Victorian and steam-powered steampunk genre, and neither is the problem you have with the opening, as others have also expressed confusion as to what genre of show it is based on the opening.

            While I agree the show itself doesn’t have a lot of gears in it, it also doesn’t have a crazy ‘fiery astrolabe’ for a sun either. The whole map is artificial and is presented solely to familiarize the viewer, and the manner in which it is constructed is symbolic of the themes within the show (along with a little history of the 4 houses included on the bands of the astrolabe, as I mentioned last week I think).

    • The way that each episodes opening titles are customized! The delight of seeing new cities added to the map! And last week, the quick flyover the astrolabe! Fantastic.

  3. Opening television title sequences I enjoy:
    Dexter, Game of Thrones, The Wire, The Sopranos, Cowboy Bebop, Louie, Archer, Parks & Recreation, Samurai Jack, Colbert Report, Friday Night Lights, etc.

    I can’t think of any more right now, but I’m sure I will later.

    • I am with you on Dexter if for no other reason than it exposed my family to blood oranges. We had no idea! It’s zany.

    • I think the Dexter one is perhaps the best title sequence for any show ever. It’s amazing film-making even on its own. Making breakfast sinister and threatening is no small feat.

      • And since we’re doing this, my favorite titles on TV currently: Dexter, Justified, Mad Men, The Simpsons

        Also, United States of Tara’s titles deserve some love. Dark whimsy is hard to do.

  4. I’ve always loved the conceit of the Fight Club opening credits sequence, where the camera follows the chain reaction of a synapse firing from the fear center of the brain.

  5. HIII! I’m the director and it would be really great if you could post the YouTube video. That’s the one we are trying to spread around. Thanks SOOO much for the post! It’s awesome to be on Video Gum!!! :) http://youtu.be/qbhi-JICKKI

  6. even though roughly half their shows are the absolute worst*, i think pretty much all of the shows on amc have great title sequences. justified’s title sequence is pretty great too, OF COURSE, nothing about justified isn’t the best. and i loved terrier’s title sequence, AND it had one of the best theme songs in recent memory.

    *remember when amc first started having original programming and it was just mad men and breaking bad and everyone kept talking about how they were the best network on cable with a flawless track record and now they have the walking dead and the killing and csi miami reruns? KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, AMC!

  7. Does it get better than this intro?

  8. oh blue valentine…it’s still too soon.

  9. i love love love the opening credits for homicide: life on the street: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeZLSomwuLw

  10. Alan Ball shows always have great title sequences. Six Feet Under is probably my all-time favorite. True Blood is excellent too (despite the show being terrible garbage).

  11. Batman: The Animated Series is a good one. When I was younger it always got me pumped up.

  12. I’ve always thought the opening sequence for the Japanese film ‘All About Lily Chou-Chou’ has been particularly haunting. It manages to set the uneasy tone of the film perfectly. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcrgQ67MYEM

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