Monday, March 30, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
So me and my nerdy friends were sitting around the other day, lamenting the fact that most TV shows nowadays have CRAPPY opening title sequences. In fact, such things are non-existent on many TV shows (and that includes shows I love!). LOST? Yes, I love that show... but since when does four letters moving slowly over a completely black background constitute a title sequence? They're, by far, the worst offender of a show that I truly love...
Credit HBO with jumpstarting a movement for interesting opening credit sequences (I'm thinking about SIX FEET UNDER here). But their opening style for their programming was more about setting a mood. Folks, when I'm watching the first five minutes of a TV show, I don't want mood. It's too damn subtle. I need to be HOOKED. I want to know what the TV show I'm about to watch is all about. Period. End of story. And tell me a story in the opening credits, if possible, too!
Yes, some of this moody crap in title sequences (BIG LOVE, anyone?) is just too confusing, or worse... BORING.
Mind you, shows can be brilliant and have boring titles. (Again, see LOST and BIG LOVE). But I want my cake and I want to eat it too.
The other thing that's gotten lost in the mix of "no title sequences" are THEME SONGS. You know them... those catchy tunes that you can sing along to, because you know all the words. Or at least a ridiculously memorable hook or riff that--when coupled with cool opening images from a show--make for an instantly recognizable (and sometimes iconic) signpost that quality TV viewing is up ahead...
Well, this debate lead to an inevitable question: "What is the greatest opening TV title sequence of all time?" The winner must have unforgettable or badassed imagery and a cool theme song (lyrics/singing is optional). And you know what we came up with? All the best theme songs are for sitcoms, specifically those from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Admit it... you know the words to "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Gilligan's Island." But you also know "The Brady Bunch," "Happy Days," and "Cheers." Yes, when it comes to theme songs for opening credits, comedy has it down pat.
But what comedy show can you name today that has a truly brilliant memorable theme song or--at the very least--SUPER COOL opening credits? Folks, "The Office" and "30 Rock," the two best comedies on TV--have crappy openings. OK... I do actually like the theme song from "The Office," but the images that accompany it are kinda average. My votes for best comedy opening credits these days?
Now I have no idea who wrote that "little boxes, little boxes..." song. Maybe it's a real song from the past that I don't know about. Maybe not. Who cares? All I know is that when coupled with some very clever opening images, it makes for a truly memorable opening. And the fact that someone different sings the same song every week?
Check out one version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiemKqQUbH8
But you know which comedy actually gets my top vote for Most Memorable and Enjoyable Opening Credits Overall for a Comedy Currently On Air? (Hmmm... should this be an Emmy category? Is it already?!)
I LOVE the credits for CHUCK. I love that catchy tune, and I love the animated bullet holes (which remind me of the opening titles for Woody Allen's BANANAS just a bit), and I love that the creators of that show spend 20-30 seconds SHOWING THE AUDIENCE how fun their show is going to be via their opening. It definitely makes a difference in making me stick around.
Check 'em out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0nJGRnobXE
Now that's comedy. But what about drama?
After much debate, my friends and I came to the conclusion that SCIENCE FICTION SHOWS have the best opening titles, by far, when it comes to dramatic shows. Think about it. Beginning in the 1950s with THE TWILIGHT ZONE, then STAR TREK's unforgettable opening in 1960s, through the fun Glen A. Larsen openings of the 1970s--THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN, BUCK ROGERS (God, I love that opening!!!)--into the 1980s with the original KNIGHT RIDER, then the masterpiece credits of THE X-FILES in the 90s. I'm telling you, sci-fi knows how to introduce a show, tell a story, AND set a definite mood in 30 seconds or less!
And no, sci-fi opening title sequences are definitely not subtle...
Now there was much debate when it came to discussing what was the GREATEST opening titles ever. And while, yes, STAR TREK and THE TWILIGHT ZONE were pretty much everyone's top choice, I argued for another. A show that I loved soooo much during childhood, I even had a lunch box from the program. A show that--at the time--gave "Star Trek" a run for its money as The Greatest Sci-Fi Show Ever (at least in it's first season). A show who opening credits still send a rush of excitement through my body any time I see them. Yes, folks... I'm talking about...
Sure, some of you might think I'm crazy. Others have probably never even heard of this show. But man, I'm telling you, check out the title sequence people and tell me it doesn't make you wanna watch!
Oh, and for the record, UFO was another close second choice. Turns out GERRY ANDERSON really understood the power of captivating an audience with a KICK ASS opening title sequence. 21st TV shows take note... perhaps we could all learn something from the lack of subtlety a bitching Gerry Anderson opening provides.
And now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go have a SPACE: 1999 marathon.
Monday, March 16, 2009
THE GOON... my favorite comedic horror comic book is coming to a theatre near all of us soon, produced by DAVID FINCHER no less. Needless to say I can't wait. My only concern was the look of the movie -- will they get it right or will they screw with creator Eric Powell's Kirby-esque style? Well, as you can see from the image above (the FIRST to be released), all is well in Goon's ville.
For more info on THE GOON movie, go to web address below:
Now if they'll just announce a release date. Until then I'll have to keep playing with my ZOMBIE PRIEST doll atop my writing desk.
Monday, March 9, 2009
As I've mentioned before, I watch a LOT of TV. I sometimes use the excuse, "Hey, it's my job... I have to watch everything." But the truth is... I LOVE TELEVISION. Always have.
Now a lot of folks don't like procedurals. You know, shows with a "mystery of the week" (or three) that gets solved in 42 minutes and has characters which don't always go through as much growth as their counterparts on serialized shows like LOST or HEROES. Well, I LOVE PROCEDURALS. Yes, I'm hooked on BONES, BURN NOTICE, LEVERAGE, THE CLOSER, ELEVENTH HOUR, and yes, CSI.
I've been watching CSI since Season One and this year's addition of Laurence Fishburne to the cast has been great! Finally... a BLACK MAN is the lead (or is that co-lead?) in TV's #1 show. When was the last time that happened? 1986 with MIAMI VICE? (Yes, I'm giving a shout out and some 80s love to Philip Michael Thomas!).
Anyway, if that wasn't cool enough... CSI is going to have a BATTLESTAR GALACTICA crossover.
Go to the web address below for details:
The short version is that the April 16th episode of CSI will take place at a sci-fi convention. Written by BSG alum Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, the episode will have cameos from Kate Vernon and (gulp!) RON MOORE. Set your TiVos, people!
This I gotta see...
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Hey, folks... if you want to know even more on my next project for DC Comics, "FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH: INK," go to the web address below for an interview with me on the ultra-cool website, NEWSARAMA.COM.
Issue #1 of 6 hits stands May 27th... which means I better get back to work!!!