The Best and Worst Credit Sequences of the 2012-2013 TV Season: Thursday Shows

By Tim Surette

Feb 07, 2013

It's been a long time since The Rembrandts promised they would be there for us in the theme song to Friends, one of the most memorable and catchy openings to a Thursday show in recent history. You'll find no such love in this crop of new Thursday series, as things have all of a sudden gotten serious. But there's some sharp creativity here, both subtle and obvious. There's also Snooki & JWOWW, as if they needed an introduction.

We'll be back tomorrow to look at Friday's sequences, then we're off for a day and will wrap things up Sunday's offerings on... Sunday.

Last Resort

Everyone knows that Last Resort is actually a cable show, so it makes sense that it would want to do away with long credits and use the extra time to show Daniel Lissing without his shirt on. The meaning behind the image of an American flag underwater is twofold: The nuclear sub holds as much strength as the world's superpower, and the integrity of the American government is drowning. Throw the show's title over that stark image and you have yourself a winner. But part of me wishes the show had done a modern-day version of the opening of CBS's old comedy The Last Resort. Grade: B+

1600 Penn

The rolling drums and chanting give off a Lion King vibe, and that's not helped by the way things start with Bill Pullman's character holding up his kid like Simba. From there, the credits hit each character's major note. Skip has his face in the toilet, Emily is holding it together in support of her husband, Becca is a celebrated student, Marshall is doing all the real work, Marigold is apparently a hippie (we still don't really know her), Xander is a geek, and the Prez is the president. The font and display of the show's title must have been a big debate behind the scenes, because for some reason they didn't choose the normal show logo and went with a transparent street-sign sort of thing that doesn't really take a stance either way. It's just sort of there. Grade: C

Beauty and the Beast

This is a tough one, because like its leading man—who can go from hunky underwear salesman to a rageaholic with a hot bod—you never what you're going to get when you start an episode of Beauty and the Beast. Sometimes the expository chat about the show's premise is there, sometimes it's not. Sometimes it goes from the premise straight into the "Previously on...." But the splash (the final eight seconds in the video above) is consistent, so let's examine that. It looks magnificent, a collision of Art Deco and Gothic sensibilities, and it doesn't choose the well-worn path and spell out "Beauty" in a soft, feminine font and "Beast" in a gruff, masculine font, which would be the obvious choice for amateur typographers. In fact, the transformational animation of the show's title perfectly captures the fragmented and disrupted nature of Vincent's "man versus lab-created beast" struggle, and calls out the show's critical element: Vincent and Cat's troubled romance as lovers torn by uncontrollable circumstances. The organic and natural movement of the title echoes both the power of nature and the desire to control it, and reveals that those two things exist in a false sense of harmony that fractures everything in its path. As the show's title comes into focus, a decorative swirl is consumed by the first "B" to represent the series' surprising lack of unnecessary frills, and the pitch-black background accentuates the inherent darkness intended to shatter viewers' preconceptions that Beauty and the Beast is simply teenage fodder so common elsewhere on The CW. This, my fellow scholars, is a work of magnificent art. It's just too bad it uses an ampersand instead of spelling out the "and," which is how the show is officially listed. Duh. Grade: B


Don't look now, guys, but a new network show actually put some effort into making an opening credits sequence. This beautiful intro presents a Rube Goldberg machine powered by a simple (some might say ELEMENTARY) marble as it fires guns, smashes busts, captures statuettes, and rolls through a murder scene. The result is simple and effective, but the process is not. Much like Sherlock's mind. Grade: A


It looks like we've got characters in the lettering of the show title and an image of the White House in "created by Shonda Rhimes," but that's about it for one of the shortest credit sequences of the bunch. There's really not much to go on here, so I can't tell if it works in the show's favor or doesn't. And when you don't know if it works, it doesn't work. (Note: Scandal was a midseason show that launched in early 2012 and missed our last roundup, so that's why I included it here.) Grade: C-

Snooki & Jwoww

Oh yeah, theme song? Well *I* don't care, I HATE IT! So there! But then again, what else would anyone expect from this show? Grade: C-

Which new Thursday-night credit sequences do you like best?

  • Comments (42)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • wiggle47 Feb 27, 2013

    SCANDAL is the best for me!!!
    EleMentary best 2nd
    last resort 3rd

  • brandydan Feb 10, 2013


  • TomWayne Feb 09, 2013

    Elementary totally--love it every time (and get disappointed by the short version--let it play out), as it's a complete homage to what matters most about the story--Holmes' mind, both a visual representation (as Tim noted above) AND an auditory one (the music is violin-driven, the violin being Holmes' instrument in the Doyle stories, and making a cameo or two in early episodes of the show).

  • Inigo_Montoya Feb 09, 2013

    ELEMENTARY!!!!!!!! Great show, it deserves this opener. :)

  • PhantomDragon16 Feb 09, 2013

    I vote for Elementary because they actually bothered to make a title sequence that wasn't less than 10 seconds long and it looks pretty good too. I hate that shows nowadays don't really have opening themes, just give you the title on the screen in fancy lettering for 5-10 seconds and that's it. What I really hate, are titles like Beauty and the Beast and Arrow (both of which are doing the exact same thing with their titles so I'm sensing a pattern), in which they give you some kind of monologue, the exact same monologue, every episode, aside from the "pre-viously on" recap. For those who have seen the show, WE DON'T NEED TO HEAR THE SAME D*MN THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN!! And for those who need to refresh their memory, that's what the "previously on..." recap is for. What ever happened to theme songs? I miss theme songs... (not stupid monologues!)

  • PatDevitt Feb 08, 2013

    Where is sunday and saturday

  • rye06p Feb 08, 2013

    I hate Scandal's opening sequence!

  • JT_Kirk Feb 08, 2013

    I've been with you the whole way Tim, but B+ for that Last Resort opening title? It barely even looks underwatery.

    1600 Penn's opening titles are trying so hard to feel important that it's embarrassing how they thought that'd attract viewers to that slug of a sitcom.

    And then you give a high grade to Beauty and the Beast's opening titles. Man, I think the naysayers on Monday & Tuesday got into your brain.

    Elementary's is fun to watch but utterly a lie. Every episode I've seen is the same thing except the superbowl one, it's generally the first person Holmes meets after he gets to the crimescene, he Houses his way through the diagnosis: murder (1 or 2 wrong answers then a right, all while insulting people), and his solutions to capturing the criminals are never terribly clever.

    Scandal's modified shutter sound was a mistake, they should have gone with a bunch of unmodified shutter and flash sounds. Also a full credit sequence. I fear your including Scandal here will drive the naysayers mad this time around, bud.

    MTV's latest abomination of a "reality" show has credits that tell you everything you need to know about this series: it's awful and loud and it doesn't care about being entertaining. Grade: B.

    I picked Elementary because it says something about what the show wishes it were and tells a little story in an engaging manner. But it's still a really low threshold for me.

  • docspector Feb 08, 2013

    Community has a new title sequence today (October 19).

  • AndyDwyer Feb 08, 2013

    Community is invalid for rather obvious reasons - well, as WayneTunks suggests below, it is obvious if you have read any of these articles :p

  • docspector Feb 10, 2013

    And, had you read the rest of them, you'd have noticed that Fringe and The Walking Dead were included, despite Fringe being even older than Community.

  • AndyDwyer Feb 10, 2013

    Notice that I posted this prior to the bias/hypocrisy introduced later. It's not like all the articles were released on the same day so don't try and alter the historical course of events, lol. If AHS is invalid then community is invalid.

  • AndyDwyer Feb 08, 2013

    And, having unfortunately just watched the episode, I might add it was hardly a new credit sequence for the series anyway. It would be a stretch to include something episode specific.

  • WayneTunks Feb 08, 2013

    I do laugh that every day people are angry or upset that an older show isn't on the list. They seem to not read the parts, mentioned a few times, that these are new shows. You even say it in the Scandal write up. And you're right Tim, Elementary is the winner for today - by a long way!

  • docspector Feb 10, 2013

    This would be a much more meaningful complaint if some old shows weren't included with the new ones.

  • See More Comments (14)