Episode Title Card
After the Title Sequence
, but before the first act, many shows will put in an intertitle displaying the episode's title. For some shows, the title will be animated and a character from the series will read the title to the audience (mostly prevalent in anime, while western cartoons that use this are usually aimed at preschoolers). On the other hand, some shows might have the title be on-screen text displayed with the opening credits over the beginning of the first act. It is also common for the title to never be shown
and the name of the episodes only found from episode guides.
These days, one tends to see episode titles only on non-primetime animated programming, although even then there are many exceptions to this. (For example, 4Kids
' Saturday morning block didn't use episode titles on screen at all, regardless of whether the original versions of the shows had them.) Most other kinds of programming eschew from explicitly titling the episode on screen, with most exceptions being hourlong
, Star Trek
, Doctor Who
) or (for some reason) the Aaron Sorkin
dramas The West Wing
, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
, and The Newsroom
- Sailor Moon Crystal's card has a reverse painted silhouette of The Hero Usagi accented by pastel roses, (two of which are in her hair) and pink ben-day dot ribbons. Her long pigtails frame the episode number and title at right.
- Police, Camera, Action!, a co-production of ITV and Optomen, had no title cards for the first two episodes Danger Drivers Ahead! (mid-1994) and the generically titled Police Camera Action (late 1994/early 1995), then a background of thermal-imaging camera footage with the episode title in BLOCK CAPITALS between 1995 and 1996. No episode title cards were used for the 1996 special The Man Who Shot O.J about the OJ Simpson trial. From 1997, the title cards were a blue background and white text, with text Like This (capitalised beginning of sentence).
- From 1999 onwards, a stylized background with BLOCK CAPITALS was used. The title cards were not used for the 2000 special episodes Crash Test Racers or Highway of Tomorrow. The background was changed in 2002 to police footage, and then again in 2007 for the new series presented by Alastair Stewart and Adrian Simpson. The 2008 special episode, listed as "Drink Driving Special" had no title card, but the new 2009-2010 season is likely to have them again.
- A subversion of the character reading it is usually done in Tokusatsu with the narrator reading it usually in a menacing voice. Toru Ohira is especially fond of this, being the voice of Darth Vader in the Japanese dub of Star Wars, he sometimes likes to read titles in a villain-like manner.
- The Simpsons did this only eight times in 25 years; the most notable of these instances was "Bart Gets Hit By A Car", and a second after the title dissolved, Bart got....hit by a car. Others are "The Telltale Head", "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" (celebrating six years), "22 Short Films About Springfield", "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase", "Behind the Laughter", "The Book Job" and "Homerland".
- The Treehouse of Horror specials as well. Each special's constituent shorts also have its own title card as well.
- Pokémon has a character reading the episode's title.
- Inuyasha also has a character reading the episode's title.
- Bleach has an interesting variant, the episode titles are only numbers. The episodes do have titles, but those titles are only found in outside sources. In the 15th opening, there is a montage of earlier title cards.
- Fushigi Yuugi begs to differ. White screen, black kanji and hiragana, music. That is all.
- The first two Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha series have her reading the episode title while it's shown on a red sphere (ostensibly her Raising Heart pearl), with the same music bed used in both seasons. StrikerS has a more dramatic music bed and no title read, presumably to reflect its more serious nature, with the title put over an i-ching pattern.
- All Nicktoons use this: Danny Phantom, My Life as a Teenage Robot, Spongebob Squarepants, The Fairly Oddparents, Rocko's Modern Life, The Angry Beavers, CatDog, etc.
- In fact, KaBlam!! has its title cards shown at the END of an episode (minus episode 8 and 29)
- Parodied in Police Squad!, where the Episode Title Card never agrees with the spoken episode title.
- Batman: The Animated Series had gorgeously painted ones for the first 85 episodes, often paired with the episode's villain's Leit Motif.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold made hilarious◊ use◊ of this trope in the episode "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure" Culminating with the image on this page.
- Arthur has been known for creative title cards featuring not only the titles of the stories but also the writer and storyboard artist, as well as a clever bit of animation. These have included D.W. interrupting Arthur in his bath and Arthur's dog, Pal, finding the title card circle empty and howling. Starting in the 5th season, fans lamented the appearance of the "slot machine" title card, in which the slots landed on a particular character's face. Since Follow the Bouncing Ball , there's now a short clip from the episode instead.
- Some other franchises give separate intertitles for each of various characters:
- Filmation had a number of series with title cards, including He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), She-Ra: Princess of Power, Bravestarr, Filmation's Ghostbusters, and Blackstar. These title cards were invariably accompanied by a particular musical snippet plucked from the in-series soundtrack.
- Similarly, Ruby-Spears used title cards in practically all of its series.
- Hanna-Barbera didn't use title cards for The Flintstones and The Jetsons when they aired in primetime, but when new episodes of The Jetsons were made for syndication in The '80s, cards were added to the original episodes as part of the syndication package. The Flintstones remains card-free, even after decades of syndicated repeats, although the subsequent Saturday morning and syndicated spin-offs have had title cards.
- Most, if not all, HB series since the late 1960s; Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, of note, featured the gang running in place beneath the episode title (except for the first two episodes, which had custom title cards).
- Heroes is well known for working in the titles in creative and sometimes bizarre ways.
- e.g. Sylar slicing the words 'I AM SYLAR' into his own arm.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia does this in every episode, as a hilarious transition from the Cold Open. It usually plays out either like this:
Charlie: We're gonna go America all over their asses!!
Frank: I'm just pallin' with the guys! How's anyone gonna get hurt?
Title card: Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire
Sweet Dee: We've got big dreams Mac, and we're gonna go follow them!
Mac: You guys have nothing without this bar.
Dennis: Don't worry about us Mac, we'll be just fine.
Dee: Cause Sweet Dee just beat the system.
Title card: Sweet Dee Gets Audited
- And a more recent but notable example:
Charlie: Who knows? I might even rule the world one day.
Title card: Charlie Rules the World
Mac: I'm gonna save my dad.
Title card: Mac Kills his Dad.
- Kamichama Karin has the episode title cards read by Shii-chan, complete with her Verbal Tics added to the title.
- In The West Wing, instead of coming after the title sequence, the title card comes right after Previously On. It is followed the The Teaser, then the Title Sequence.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender uses a white background with text reading "Book One:Water/Two:Earth/Three:Fire Chapter (Episode #):Title"
- The Australian drama love is a four letter word played with this as part of its style: we would begin with a cold open, which ended with a Whip Pan and fast zoom over to the word, which was (usually) four letters long. Other such pans in the series would have captions telling us that the word either was or was not a four-letter word.
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Has a short screen with the episode title in English, a secondary title in vertical Japanese, and a novel like description of whatever action happened right after that episodes opening scrolling up the left in (usually) decent English.
- In the first season, these title cards also mention whether the episode is "Stand Alone" or "Complex" (aka, part of the Myth Arc)
- The Venture Bros. has a title card show up at the end of the episode, right before the closing credits.
- Unusually for a talk show, Conan O'Brien's new show Conan has episode title cards, though they're fake titles ("Baa Baa Blackmail," "Murder, She Tweeted").
- In The Beiderbecke Trilogy the episode title is always the first line of dialogue, and appears on screen when the line is spoken.
- All Skins episodes are named after their featured character(s); the character featured in any given episode is always the very last person highlighted in the title sequence.
- Each episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion has two episode title cards: one with a Japanese title, usually shown near the beginning of the episode, and one with an English title, shown after the commercial break. This tradition has even carried over to the movies.
- Almost Naked Animals pairs this with Art Shift, using a highly-detailed art style to depict a random moment from the episode.
- Krypto the Superdog has an unusual one where Krypto announces not only the title of each episode, but also the writing and directing credits that follow with their own title card!
- Dan Vs. has this (paired with Episode Finishes the Title) after The Teaser, instead of a Title Sequence.
- Every episode of NCIS goes Cold Open, Title Sequence, then the action continues while the name of the episode is briefly displayed at the bottom of the screen.
- The very same format was used in just about every episode of JAG too, save for the Pilot and a few continuations of MultiPartEpisodes.
- Asura's Wrath has these, though they can be played around with in some instances. Thre First episode title appears at the the very end of the episode, and a lot of the other times, the episode title pops up during each episodes opening credits. The same is done for the name of Each set of episodes.
- Some web series like Linkara's Atop the Fourth Wall and The Nostalgia Chick use these.
- Tiny Toon Adventures uses title cards every episode. In the case of the Three Shorts episodes, they only apply to the shorts themselves — the episode as a whole has its own title that doesn't appear (such as "Henny Youngman Day", "You Asked For It, Part 2", and "Life in the 90's"), the one exception being "Best O' Plucky Duck Day".
- 101 Dalmatians: The Series used ones with the title on a spotted background. Most episodes alternated between blue and red spotted backgrounds, as well as lighter varients that included white spots as well. The Christmas Episode had an animated title card which was white with black spots.
- Wander over Yonder uniquely has the episode title appear about a minute in during an appropriate scene and freeze-framing for a few seconds, thus forming the title card in-series.
- Turned into a Running Gag in "The Matchmaker", where a new title card shows up every time Sylvia tries to distract Wander from his self-imposed mission to deliver a love letter from Lord Hater to Lord Dominator.
- Adventure Time has gorgeous title cards.
- The Outer Limits (1963) has very distinctive title cards; the episode title, and the names of the episode's stars, come right at the viewer, accompanied by the sine wave and (after the first few episodes) the piercing electronic whine from the Title Sequence.
- Doctor Who, as mentioned above. Notable incidents:
- Before and during "The Gunfighters", each episode would have an individual title, which led to some confusion later when the process was abandoned in favour of naming the current serial instead, usually after one of the episodes in the serial but occasionally arbitrarily. For instance, one serial was called "The Mutants" by the writer, and consisted of episodes called "The Dead Planet", "The Survivors", "The Escape", "The Ambush", "The Expedition", "The Ordeal" and "The Rescue", but the title used by the BBC today is... "The Daleks".
- A "Character Name and the Noun" Phrase title card got used accidentally, twice - "Dr. Who and the Savages" and "Dr. Who and the Silurians". This would not be odious if the character's name was "Dr. Who" (it's not.).
- Some late William Hartnell stories dealing with technology went through a phrase of using idiosyncratic title cards - notably "The War Machines" (which made the text flash line by line as if a computer was printing it out) and "The Tenth Planet" (which made the titles appear over bundles of Matrix Raining Code supposed to evoke listening stations).
- The DVD releases of some early Hartnell stories with individual episode titles have story title cards added at the beginning, due to BBFC rules demanding that the overall title of a work be prominently stated at the start. This was dropped after the introduction of audio-described menus for the blind to the DVD range, which included a loud audio announcement of the story title before the menu screen appeared.
- CODEGEASS has one at the start of each episode (called stages in R1 and turns in R2).
- Dark Angel didn't use title cards in season one but it did in season two.
- iCarly and Victorious rarely have title cards except for extended episodes (like the former's "iShock America" - or "iShock The World" depending where you are) or on rare occasions a regular-length episode (like the latter's "The Breakfast Bunch"). On the other hand, their joint spinoff Sam & Cat uses title cards on all its episodes except "#Pilot."
- While the popular Hub series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and Littlest Pet Shop (2012) don't have title cards in their main shows, the Littlest Pet Shop shorts and My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks theatrical shorts on one of Hasbro Studios' Youtube channels do use them.
- The series themselves use a variation, placing the title as part of the on-screen credits after the theme song, usually stating the writer underneath.
- ChalkZone is notably one of the only Nicktoons that changed the format of its' title cards in the middle of the series. During the original Oh Yeah! Cartoons shorts, the first two seasons and the first five episodes of season three, the title cards were (fittingly) the episode title written on a chalkboard, with a drawing next to the title that had to do with the episode (during the first season and the original shorts, the drawing may or may not disappear when the credits appear on the card). Starting with "Let's Twister Again", the title cards were done in the typical format for animated shows (a picture relating to the plot of the episode), similarly to fellow Oh Yeah! spin-off The Fairly OddParents.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer used title cards in two episodes. The Musical Episode "Once More, with Feeling" used it as part of its theme, while "Conversations with Dead People" used it for no particular reason.
- While the original Inspector Gadget series lacked title cards, the 2015 reboot series makes use of them, complete with a little animation.
- The first season of I Am Weasel featured title cards where an animated Weasel read the title and commented on the forthcoming plot. Starting with the second season, the series used still cards in the vein of its sister show Cow and Chicken.
- The Get Down graffitis its episode title onto one of the subway cars that rolls through frame during the Cold Open, and uses the appearance of the subway to cue the theme music.