For me, the title sequence of a movie or TV series is just as important as the film or show as a whole. It is almost like the first few sentences of a book – it sets the mood and tone for what you are about to see. In some cases, it can sum up a character, a setting, or a story in its entirety if you watch closely enough. I also think a title sequence is an art in its own right. Companies and motion graphics artists are hired, separate from the rest of the post-production crew, to concept and design only a title sequence for a show or movie. So while an editor is working away at assembling an episode of a TV serial show or a feature length film, there is another team, working away for months, to design only a title sequence. That’s how important an opening is to a movie or show.
So here are some of my favorites. For the most part, they are all based on books or graphic novels.
Of course, this list would not exist without the True Blood title sequence by Digital Kitchen. Who does not love this one? Southern Gothic is the tone it sets. It highlights the creepiness and violence beneath the southern gentility. I find the show to be a little more unsettling and a little more violent in ways that the books on which it is based are not. This title sequence, with its darkness and confusion and creepy undertones, lets you know right away that this is something different. And the music is perfect.
Okay, so I cheated here. This one is not based on a book but it was too good not to include. When this movie came out, everyone was talking about the opening credits. I love how the text is part of the environment. I love the sense of humor in it. It’s gory, bloody, and gross. And it still makes you laugh at how crazy over the top it is. Just like the movie.
GAME OF THRONES
I am a big fan of the books this series is based on. What I love about this title sequence is that it attempts to set you in the world right away. Based on the maps found in the books themselves, this opening brings to life the complicated Westeros, taking you through the land, its strongholds and family sigils, all of the different factions who are at war. For every episode that adds a new city or stronghold, the map in the opening changes. For example, the first episode of season two introduced Stannis Baratheon and so the map in the open changed to include Dragonstone, Stannis’ castle. Brilliant.
This is a seemingly simple open. But really, when you think about it, it is brilliant. Kubrick uses sweeping landscapes, dramatic camera moves, and a car moving slowly through the landscape, to underline the absolute isolation that he is about to introduce you to. I think this is a brilliant open.
THE WALKING DEAD
I am about to out myself here. I have never watched this show. Not even one episode. I also have not read the graphic novels on which the show is based. Yikes! Don’t judge me. But I do love this fan made opening title sequence. It is just cool. For fans of the show, what is the actual title sequence being used?
Tell me about a title sequence you love!