The following post was originally published on my old blog on June 28, 2009.
Lately, the trend regarding opening titles has been to make them as short as possible. Gone are the days of ones lasting a minute-and-a-half. And rapidly going are the days of ones lasting thirty seconds. For example, both Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives once had excellent sequences—a satirical look of the representation of women in art, and a clever montage of love lives and professional lives intermingling. But both sequences have been replaced by mere title cards lasting five seconds, tops.
That’s why I was so pleased to see that A&E bucked the trend starting with the second-season premiere of The Cleaner. This was a show that used to display a simple title card. But now, it has been granted a luxuriously long—and damn good-looking—title sequence, which you can view here (so long as YouTube doesn’t yank the video). The imagery is stunning: oblique glances at Los Angeles locales captured in reflections from broken glass and drug paraphernalia, all culminating in a shot of William Banks approaching a soon-to-be interventionee’s car. And now we can hear more than just a snatch of the theme song, Sharon Little’s “Follow That Sound.”
Maybe this upgrade was only possible because cable shows have more latitude than networks ones, but all producers should take note: quality shows deserve quality introductions.