Mitchell: Okay, for starters, I think you need a strong opening title sequence.A television program with a Title Only Opening has no Title Sequence. Instead, it has a title card bearing the program's name, and perhaps a creator credit. The remaining credits are superimposed over the first few minutes of program, just as is done with many theatrical films. (And many, if not most theatrical films produced in recent years also eschew title sequences, with actor and production credits usually only shown at the end.) In some cases, the title card is shown twice, once before the Teaser, and again several minutes into the program, after the credits. Other programs omit the title card altogether, and the program's name is superimposed over the program along with the credits. A program's original Title Sequence may be replaced with a Title Only Opening when it goes into syndication. It is becoming increasingly common for first-run network programs to have Title Only Openings, as well. Their popularity probably comes from the fact that they free up a minute or more of runtime, which can be used for the rest of the episode (due to less storytelling time being available due to the need for advertisements), or for additional commercials. The downside, in most TV viewers' eyes at least, is that it kills some of the excitement of the show since openings are meant to get you pumped up for the episode; also, title sequences and theme tunes are considered part of the cultural identity of a series. This is often seen as a personal preference, however, it is noted that as commercial TV moved away from title sequences, non-commercial broadcasters such as HBO and Netflix have embraced it, with openings for shows such as Game of Thrones becoming iconic. It is also common for a show with a Title Sequence to go Title Only Opening for two types of episodes:
Martin: Are you serious? Nobody does that anymore; you just throw up the title and get on with it.
Martin: Are you serious? Nobody does that anymore; you just throw up the title and get on with it.
- The first episode, in order to avert Spoiler Opening. Though in this case, the following episode's title sequence gets tacked on in reruns and/or video collections anyway, leading to Late-Arrival Spoiler, especially in cases with a First-Episode Spoiler.
- Those of a very serious nature that would have their tone thrown by a jaunty little title sequence.
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- Revolutionary Girl Utena's opening in the last episode is reduced to a stark logo with no audio, since it was essentially a part two to the fairly shocking previous episode.
- Likewise Fruits Basket skips its for dramatic mood during the final storyline with Kyo.
- Ditto with Cowboy Bebop's last episode.
- As well as Mai-HiME and Mai-Otome in their final episodes, instead merely superimposing the title on the footage for a few seconds. Though this didn't happen in the original runs, resulting in Soundtrack Dissonance.
- Similarly, the last two episodes of Prétear have the opening sequence replaced with a static card with the show's logo. Too bad the ending sequence in episode 12 is kept, still causing some amount of Mood Dissonance.
- The North American dub of InuYasha had a Cold Opening followed by only a Episode Title Card before the episode started. That was only the airing, though; the DVD uses the openings. There was one instance where an opening was used on the air, which made the fan community a little too optimistic.
- It wasn't uncommon for Cartoon Network to completely excise openings in this fashion, not to mention eyecatches and next episode teasers; ending credits typically fared only marginally better, either sped up, cut down or both. Of course, now all the anime on Cartoon Network find time to air full opening credits; Death Note is notable for also keeping its eyecatches and episode teasers for most of its run.
- The last episode of the Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou anime omits the opening sequence, only having the show's logo briefly appearing over an early scene. (The DVD version makes up for this by having the theme song accompany the series' ending credits, though.)
- Exactly the same thing happens in the related La Corda d'Oro - Primo Passo.
- And, apparently, in Neo Angelique - Abyss: Second Age as well. Seems to be one of the common tropes for the NeoRomance franchise...
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
- Done with the final episode. However, this was used in-context with the show, as major mecha that are featured had their descriptions and names show up during their introduction. Guess which mech showed up when the title card popped up?
- It also happens with episode 15, replacing the title theme with a Cold Opening showing the Dekabutsu awakening.
- The German dub of Cardcaptor Sakura where the title was cued over the episode card. And it's opening music? The episode card sting.
- From the New World has no opening sequence at all, making it fairly unique among anime.
- The first two episodes of Rumbling Hearts do this, as the opening would spoil the twist at the end of episode two if shown before that.
- The seventh episode of THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls opens with just the title on a black background. Just as well, as the usual pop song intro and sequence would clash with the drama-heavy mood of the episode.
- The Director's Cut version of Episode 22 of Neon Genesis Evangelion opts to use a simple, silent Eye Catch instead of the Title Sequence. This is rather appropriate seeing how it is A Day in the Limelight episode for Asuka, and the Title Sequence is quite centered around the main character, Shinji.
Films — Live-Action
- Black Hawk Down opens with several title cards describing the situation all building to the title card. Credits are saved for the end after a memorial roll of the soldiers who died during and after the mission and other post script information. This also includes the studio logos of Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Revelation Studios and Scott Free Productions.
- 24 does exactly this, having the eponymous number flash on the screen digital clock-style, then segueing directly into the "Previously On..." segment (except on the first episode of a season/"day", which skips directly to "The following takes place between [time] and [time]", then reminds the viewers that "Events occur in real time").
- Lost does not superimpose its title over a scene, but the entire title sequence is the name of the show flying toward the audience while an eerie sound effect plays. It occurs after The Teaser.
- Not as dramatic as Lost, but The Closer uses a simple black card with the title in white type. The credits are also displayed similarly.
- Brothers and Sisters
- The original version of the British soap Crossroads, until partway through the 70s.
- The first season of Drrt
- The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (in its syndicated run; the first run episodes used Artistic Titles)
- The newer seasons of Desperate Housewives.
- Like Grey's Anatomy, they both lost their opening theme songs (although Grey's seems to have lost the title card, too).
- NUMB3RS usually uses a title with Opening Narration over it, but in season 2's "Harvest" (the one with the Indian lady and the kidney-stealing stuff), the teaser ended with the titletype appearing on a blank black screen, with the credits shown over the first scene.
- Seinfeld has no title sequence, just the series name in the corner followed by the rest of the opening credits over a standup routine or cold opening. Exceptions are the clip shows, which do have title sequences, and some occasional oddness like the title-card version in the first episode.
- The first half of the ninth season of Stargate SG-1 used a considerably shortened version of the theme sequence, though not a true Title-Only Opening. The full theme was restored due to fan pressure. Lampshaded later, in the Who Would Want to Watch Us? episode, "200"; at the beginning, Mitchell suggests adding a "snazzy opening sequence" to the script, only to be told, "Nobody does that anymore! It's just, 'throw up the title and be done with it!'" On cue, an extremely shortened version of the theme song is aired.
- Stargate Universe does this.
- ER (last seasons)
- Later seasons of Wings
- Scrubs just shows the title X-ray when the Cold Opening runs long.
- The new Melrose Place.
- Third Watch's third season incorporated the 9/11 attacks into its storylines. The episodes dealing with the attacks omitted the title sequence and used a Title Only Opening.
- The Nanny: A Cold Opening saw Fran depressed at not being pregnant, so to avoid Soundtrack Dissonance with the cheerful opening, a still from it was shown instead.
- Two of the final three episodes of Arrested Development. In the original run, however, they were part of a four episode block, so it's understandable that the creators didn't bother to run the full Theme Tune; it's more jarring on DVD or cable reruns.
- A title-only version of the opening sequence also followed a Cold Opening on a handful of episodes, including the pilot.
- The final episode of Slings and Arrows omits the opening song in favor of this.
- Jericho used this too, along with a morse coded couch gag (often referring to the events of the episode).
- Gerry Anderson's UFO had a variation on this. Each episode began with an opening sequence that only incorporated brief flashes of the title. This was followed by a teaser, which would end with an animated version of the title being superimposed.
- Sports Night
- Kyle XY
- The New Normal
- 8 Simple Rules used both variants: during the first season, a short scene of the family staring one by one at someone at the front door, the pan to the doormat with the show's title. Sometimes, just the doormat. The cast is then listed during the first scene following the title sequence. During the remaining two seasons, there is no opening sequence at all, and the show's title appears in the first scene following the teaser, just before the cast is listed.
- Better Off Ted.
- Home and Away has been doing this since 2006, showing only the last few seconds of the opening title where the words "Home and Away" show up, skipping the full opening titles (the reason given for this was that more time was required for the episodes). Has now become a permanent feature since 2010.
- The majority of recent Kamen Rider seasons have eschewed their lengthy theme songs for the finale. Note that finale doesn't always mean last episode in Kamen Rider - it's not uncommon for the opening theme to be absent from the episode that represents the climax of the season, only to return for the last episode or two if they contain either an epilogue or crossover with the next rider.
- Also the finale of Juken Sentai Gekiranger, the first episode of Samurai Sentai Shinkenger (to avoid spoilers — the credits and theme song played over a fight scene), the finale of Tensou Sentai Goseiger and the finale of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger.
- Kamen Rider Ex-Aid eschews its opening for the climax of the first Story Arc. Its second arc has exactly one episode with the regular opening sequence; the prior episode qwhich opened the arc has a Special Edition Title promoting a then-recently-opened movie in concordance with Kamen Rider tradition and the rest of the arc has a title-only opening so as to use an extra minute of running time. The lengthy theme song only returns for good when the third arc begins.
- The Thick of It (so as to add to the realistic In Medias Res feel) and The Movie In the Loop.
- Subverted with That '70s Show. Each episode begins by a Title-Only Opening accompanied by the final chord of the theme song, then follows the teaser, and then goes another opening, this time with everything but the title. In some episodes (for instance, the series finale), the trope is played straight through.
- CSI has done it on a few occasions, including the episode after Warrick's death and the 200th episode.
- My Wife and Kids
- This had been done as early as the '80s with Murphy Brown.
- The Larry Sanders Show. However, the Show Within a Show has a full opening.
- Occasionally done on Malcolm in the Middle, depending on the length of the episode. It more and more frequently started using a very short version of its title sequence (only a few seconds long: title card and "life is unfair"), even on network premiere airings.
- UK comedy-drama Gavin and Stacey simply shows a black title card with the series name and the creators listed.
- Eureka abbreviated it's opening theme starting at Season 3, showing just Sheriff Carter in the street, buildings rising around him, then panning to the sky showing the title.
- A few House episodes don't feature a theme, including the pilot and "Bombshells".
- The pilot of The X-Files, presumably because the theme song had not been finished yet.
- After a while, season 2 of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles fell into this, abandoning its expository background info for the title and repeated 5-note theme.
- Community used this type of opening frequently during its first season. Typically this included one line of the theme song, but the pilot and "Home Economics" used incidental music. This became a lot less common as the show progressed - season 2's "Cooperative Calligraphy" and season 4's "Conventions of Space and Time" are the only episodes after season 1 to use the short opening.
- Breaking Bad has one of these that's accompanied by a brief theme as seen here.
- The Middle. The two words come together from opposite sides of the screen over a still of a road by a cornfield. Then the action begins and the credits play over it.
- Falling Skies
- Later episodes of Family Matters either have title card + Establishing Shot or enough of the intro's footage to see the title card as originally used.
- First season of Leverage. Technically later seasons, too, although they do have Nate state the Badass Creed.
- The first season of Teen Wolf.
- Elementary does this for many episodes depending on the length.
- London's Burning until series 10. From series 11 onwards it got a Title Sequence.
- Kate And Allie, sort of. Each episode starts with a wide shot of the city with the show's title being shown followed by the names of the two principal actresses. It then cuts to the title characters in the city talking about various things that may or may not have to do with the episode. All the while, the show's Instrumental Theme Tune can be heard in the background.note
- Oddly averted for about 90% of American Cable drama series, including Carnivāle, Deadwood, Rome, Game of Thrones, The Tudors, The Borgias, Big Love, True Blood, Black Sails, Mad Men and many others, all of which make heavy use of the Artistic Title.
- The Starz Spartacus series are an example of a cable show doing this.
- As is common with telenovelas, La Reina Del Sur has a lengthy 1-minute intro with its own theme song. The American remake Queen of the South doesn't even have a proper intro. It only shows the title.
- The first episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
- Only narrowly averted by the 1960s series Danger Man which from seasons 2 to 4 eschewed a proper opening titles sequence for a brief shot of John Drake either in a still photo or walking towards the camera (the show alternated) and then the title, with just the opening bars of the show's theme, which then resumed playing over the first scene of the episode after the commercial break.
- Parker Lewis Can't Lose episodes begin with four short teaser scenes each followed by the series' title card (partial at first, complete for the final one).
- There are practical benefits for this, too. Since most online streaming services allow viewers to skip ahead, a shortened opening means online viewers don't skip the credits (assuming they play over the episode instead).
The rule, rather than the exception, for videogames. After publisher/developer logos, logos for middleware used, and/or copyright disclaimers, the player is taken directly to a simple title screen if not the main menu. On frequent occasion there will be a several minutes long (and skippable) sequence before the title screen which would be more accurately described as an attract video or trailer, due to its length and lacking credits. On selecting a new game (or loading a game), the game gets straight to the point with an opening cutscene delivering a bit of exposition, particularly who the player will be controlling.
- A notable exception: the Borderlands series. Each game has an extended opening sequence, complete with theme song, prominently displaying the game's logo and introducing the player characters.
- Doom and its sequel are particularly blatant about it. The game boots up directly to about six seconds of its title screen before transitioning to attract demos.
- Metal Gear Solid's title sequence is popped up during a playable segment.
- Some (But not all) episodes of Season 3 of The Venture Bros. has a quick title-wipe between early scenes instead of the full titles. At least one episode used both (at different times in the episode) however.
- As of Season 4, it dropped its opening in favor of this.
- Similar idea: The very first episode of Storm Hawks had a short stab with just the titletype instead of the full opening.
- Regular Show opens with its title card over a sustained synth string. The actual theme song plays during the end credits.
- Home Movies. Two of the first season episodes had a short opening, but it was quickly abandoned in favor of this.
- Dan Vs. has a cold opening for every episode that ends with the show's title and then the episode title over the screen.
- The 1990s Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoon just had the logo and a musical sting, and lampshaded this in an episode where Casper sits down with network executives trying to negotiate a new theme song. In the end, they decide to stick with the old one.
- While Time Squad averted this trope for most of its run, some episodes skipped the intro in favor of presenting the title of the show austerely over a black background. This often occurred when reruns of the show were ran on Cartoon Cartoon Fridays.
- ThunderCats (2011) does this, which is ironic considering the original had one of the most memorable opening sequences in Western animation.
- Young Justice started doing this after the first half of season one.
- Two early season 1 episodes of The Simpsons ("Bart the General" and "Life On The Fast Lane") have something like this. On these episodes, after the cloudy title card sequence and the swoop through Springfield, the front of the Simpsons' house is shown and the episode begins from there (with the "Created/Developed By" credits displaying at the bottom of the screen). The following season, this gave way to several different edits of the opening, which always at least feature the Couch Gag. But unusually, some versions of the season 6 episode "Sideshow Bob Roberts" (including the season 6 DVD version) have an opening that cut directly from the clouds to the usual TV screen displaying the "Created/Developed By" credits.
- The North American version of The Amazing World of Gumball reduces the 15 second opening to just the title screen. This is rectified in the international and DVD/digital versions, and certain episodes.
- Beavis And Butthead
- SECRET MOUNTAIN FORT AWESOMMMMMMME!!! *shhh!!!*
- Over the Garden Wall is an example of a show that does have a theme tune ("Into the Unknown"), but only plays it in full for the first episode's opening, instead just having a title card for every other episode with a small piece from the theme playing.
- Star Wars Rebels does this after a Cold Opening.
- TRON: Uprising