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Some Great Opening Title Sequences (For Not-So-Great Shows)

Posted: 06/08/2012 5:30 pm

The title sequence for films and television series has been a hot topic of discussion of late, thanks largely to this short documentary from PBS's Off Book that explores how they're made, and websites like Art of the Title that celebrate the craft.

At least since The Sopranos, the title sequence on television has re-emerged as an art form unto itself, essential to setting the tone every week for a given series. Sometimes, though, the opening sequence outshines the main product. Here's a short list of current and recent shows whose opening titles make us expect something great, even if we're ultimately let down (and some notes on a few excellent series with underwhelming titles).

Have other suggestions? Leave them in the comments.

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Tune into the American adaptation of Shameless, and the opening titles tell you almost everything you need to know about how the show's major players live, all from a single camera angle inside the Gallagher family's bathroom. The sequence rolls along in a very tight minute, sharply edited to the tune of "The Luck You Got" by Detroit indie band The High Strung. The song is ever so slightly off beat, and its disjointed rhythm works well as an introduction to the Gallaghers, who play fast and loose with a lot of rules themselves. But the episodes that follow seldom match the pace and the goofy intensity of the opening, often leading the characters (who are all fairly well-drawn in the abstract) through convoluted hijinks and dramatic moments that, more often than not, feel unearned.
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