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

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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



Elementary

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



Scandal

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?



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