Created By: DBAce9AuraJune 20, 2011 Last Edited By: DBAce9AuraOctober 22, 2013

Symbolic Intro Sequence

An intro sequence that's made on Rule Of Symbolism

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A group of writers decide to take a break from the usual material they whip up and decide to make a more deeper, provocative show that is actually about something for once. Of course, there's no way that the audience will buy the show's artistic merit if it just has a typical intro sequence found in about a thousand other shows. So what does an intro sequence need to be in order to accommodate such a series? Simple, symbolic imagery of pretty much any kind. Ranging from fancy transitions that use white silhouettes to a group of people running in a field of flowers. Now that's definitely going to hook the viewers in for sure.

Examples

  • Very common in James Bond films.
  • Death Note's intro is chock full of symbols.
  • Everything by Studio SHAFT. Everything.
  • Dexter, the opening credits of which depict an everyday morning, but with every shot made to resemble a gruesome murder.
  • In The Pillars Of The Earth, the intro depicts many of the major events of the series, melting into each other in a grand, dramatic painterly style.
  • HBO dramas love this trope:
    • Rome takes the viewer on a journey through the city as graffiti comes to life.
    • The Game Of Thrones opening sequence lays out a complete map of the fantasy world, cities rising from the ground in Clock Punk style, interspersed with a spinning, nested rings on which is inscribed the history of the overthrow of "Mad King" Aerys Targaryen (using animal sigils to represent the noble houses).
    • Six Feet Under (family drama about undertakers) takes use through a series of images related to death. In addition to the literal ones (scenes from funerals and embalming studios), there are a lot of symbolic images as well: two hands letting go of each other, a lone tree on a hill, a raven that keeps showing up.
    • True Blood (HBO's vampire drama) gives us a series of images meant to invoke the American South (specifically Louisiana and all the associated voodoo creepiness) alongside images of religion, sex and decay. There is also a general transition from evening to morning.
    • Deadwood (western series Very Loosely Based On A True Story) is slightly more literal version, but along the same lines. We move slowly from images of wilderness and a running horse to images related to the camp town (gold, prostitutes bathing), which symbolizes the general theme of the series: the rise of civilization from chaos. In a nice little subversion, the horse in the opening turns out to be the horse that kills Seth Bullock's son. None of the other HBO dramas feature any actual characters from their series.
    • The intro for Carnivale shows tarot card illustrations metamorphosing in and out of various pieces of footage from the 1930's.
    • The Wire (HBO Police Procedural) follows the same basic pattern as most of the HBO shows (no main characters shown, lots of closeups of inanimate objects, etc., but it's a little more literal, since it shows wire-tapping equipment, locales from the show, etc. Not sure if it would count, it might be stretching a little. Then again, we've already got the theme going.
    • John From Cincinnati (HBO family drama involving surfing) is another good example. The opening is primarily closeups of bubbling water, 1960s era surfing Stock Footage and other grainy shots meant to evoke the Southern California setting (migrants jumping fences, Mexican wrestlers).
  • Metal Gear Solid 3 features one in the style of James Bond, complete with a theme song to match.
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • June 20, 2011
    jaytee
    Common in Bond films and HBO dramas.
  • June 20, 2011
    Nocturna
    Death Note's intro is chock full of symbols.
  • June 21, 2011
    goodtimesfreegrog
    Everything by Studio SHAFT. Everything.

    Also: Metal Gear Solid 3 features one in the style of James Bond, complete with a theme song to match.
  • June 21, 2011
    smilingsoprano
    To expand on the HBO dramas thing:

    • Rome takes the viewer on a journey through the city as graffiti comes to life.
    • The Game Of Thrones opening sequence lays out a complete map of the fantasy world, cities rising from the ground in Clock Punk style, interspersed with a spinning, nested rings on which is inscribed the history of the overthrow of "Mad King" Aerys Targaryen (using animal sigils to represent the noble houses).

    Also:

    • Dexter, the opening credits of which depict an everyday morning, but with every shot made to resemble a gruesome murder.
    • In Pillars Of The Earth, the intro depicts many of the major events of the series, melting into each other in a grand, dramatic painterly style.
  • June 21, 2011
    smilingsoprano
  • June 21, 2011
    ArtisticPlatypus
    I have to object to the laconic. Artsy and symbolic are in no way synonyms.
  • June 21, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^More HBO dramas:
    • Six Feet Under (family drama about undertakers) takes use through a series of images related to death. In addition to the literal ones (scenes from funerals and embalming studios), there are a lot of symbolic images as well: two hands letting go of each other, a lone tree on a hill, a raven that keeps showing up.
    • True Blood (HBO's vampire drama) gives us a series of images meant to invoke the American South (specifically Louisiana and all the associated voodoo creepiness) alongside images of religion, sex and decay. There is also a general transition from evening to morning.

    ...continued...
  • June 21, 2011
    jaytee
    ...and...

    • Deadwood (western series Very Loosely Based On A True Story) is slightly more literal version, but along the same lines. We move slowly from images of wilderness and a running horse to images related to the camp town (gold, prostitutes bathing), which symbolizes the general theme of the series: the rise of civilization from chaos. In a nice little subversion, the horse in the opening turns out to be the horse that kills Seth Bullock's son. None of the other HBO dramas feature any actual characters from their series.
  • June 21, 2011
    jaytee
    As far as the Bond films, it's probably much easier to list aversions (if they even exist).
  • June 21, 2011
    ArtisticPlatypus
    • The intro for Carnivale shows tarot card illustrations metamorphosing in and out of various pieces of footage from the 1930's.

    It's pretty awesome.
  • June 21, 2011
    jaytee
    Dexter and The Pillars Of The Earth are not HBO shows, although ^Carnivale is.

    The Wire (HBO Police Procedural) follows the same basic pattern as most of the HBO shows (no main characters shown, lots of closeups of inanimate objects, etc., but it's a little more literal, since it shows wire-tapping equipment, locales from the show, etc. Not sure if it would count, it might be stretching a little. Then again, we've already got the theme going.

    • John From Cincinnati (HBO family drama involving surfing) is another good example. The opening is primarily closeups of bubbling water, 1960s era surfing Stock Footage and other grainy shots meant to evoke the Southern California setting (migrants jumping fences, Mexican wrestlers).

    I think that covers most of them. I've never seen The Sopranos, so I can't cover that opening.
  • June 28, 2011
    DBAce9Aura
    Bump
  • March 21, 2012
    EmperorSteele
    You could probably add Haruhi Suzumiya to the list, as there's tons of obvious symbolism (Mikiru flying around on a clock) and some not-so-obvious (Yuki holding her hands out to feel snow fall on them). (For the uninitiated, Mikiru is a time traveler, and "Yuki" means "Snow"). The second season intro credits lacks most of this, sadly.
  • March 22, 2012
    Koveras
    • Revolutionary Girl Utena opening is choke full with symbolism of roses, knights, princesses, and what have you. But then again, so is the entire series.
  • October 22, 2013
    XFllo
    bump

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable