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Artistic Title

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A Title Sequence using original footage not directly from the series, but composed of graphics designed to give a sense of the nature of the show (or just to look pretty).

The common art forms include a cartoon version of the characters (The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched), a flyby of the setting (Stargate Atlantis, Newhart) or a bunch of special effects, which are are often used in tandem with a Title Montage. One common art form in relation to comic-book features (film/TV) involves comic-book art being used in the title (either actual art from the comic is used, or custom art created for the title). Some of them are elaborate enough to enter Design Student's Orgasm territory.

This title is commonly used in American dramatic programs and British series.

The websites Art of the Title and Forget the Film, Watch the Titles are devoted to these.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Elfen Lied, with its Gustav Klimt-esque paintings that comprise most of the Title Sequence. Coupled with the Gregorian chants that make the soundtrack, they are used to convey isolation, longing, and otherworldliness.
  • Blood+, though only with Colors of the Heart (the third opening sequence).
  • Averted in Red Garden. The opening is made of stylized silhouettes of the girls and the city, giving a light cosmopolitan feel akin to Sex and the City. The show has a different mood though.
  • Betterman has an opening that consists entirely of still images and animations of the series' cast imposed over live-action footage of a coral reef. Brigadoon: Marin and Melan does the same thing, only with upside-down footage of the Earth's stratosphere instead of coral.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Saul Bass was the king of this trope. To describe some of his title sequences:
  • Psycho has its credits appear through bars, set to Bernard Herrmann's creepy theme track.
    • Walk on the Wild Side has a cat's-eye view of a black cat roaming around an alley and getting into a brief fight with another cat.
    • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World has a cartoon globe being transmogrified into a hen's egg, a shell game, a unicycle wheel, a spinning top, paper dolls, a yo-yo, etc.
    • That's Entertainment, Part II starts with a variation on Through-the-Years Credits via vintage photos of its two hosts, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, then lists all the A-list stars featured in the Clip Show in a myriad of different ways: On pages in a leather-bound book, on an unrolled scroll, spelled out with dominoes or pebbles in a stream, written in the sand on a beach to be washed away by the tide, popping up on an old-time cash register, branded onto leather, etc. Critic Leonard Maltin cited this sequence as the highlight of the movie!
    • The War of the Roses begins with shadows moving across a white background, turning into a billowing white fabric, which turns out to be not a bedsheet but a handkerchief.
    • The Age of Innocence uses time-lapse photography of blossoming flowers seen through textures of lace and Victorian calligraphy.
    • Carmen Jones has its credits set over an image of a burning rose.
    • Bunny Lake Is Missing has a hand tear out pieces of paper to reveal the credits underneath, seen here.
    • Around the World in 80 Days (1956) is a closing title sequence that recaps the events of the film using caricature artwork.
    • Spartacus: The opening titles appear in a montage of silhouetted Roman sculptures and tablets, which evokes the strength and power of the Roman Empire. The montage ends with a zoom into the eye of a crumbling Roman bust, which hints at the Empire's coming decline and fall.
    • Casino has a montage of hellish flames and neon light displays.
  • The breathtaking title sequence from Watchmen, which combines several of the most iconic images from the second half of 20th century (the Hiroshima bomb, the V-J Day kiss, the JFK assasination, Vietnamese self immolation, "Flower Power", the moon landing, the Son of Sam murders) with the alt-U images of the Watchmen timeline, all to the tune of Bob Dylan's "The Times, They Are a-Changin'".
  • The responsible for the above, Zack Snyder, had in both Dawn of the Dead (2004) and Army of the Dead the credits rolling while the zombie outbreak was shown and Richard Cheese sings. The latter's is even considered the best part of the movie.
  • The James Bond films always include trippy title montages featuring silhouettes of naked women dancing in thematically appropriate environments (most directed by Maurice Binder). The exceptions are Dr. No (the first film, which uses stylized geometric animation) and Casino Royale (2006), which replaced the babes with surreal sequences of Bond beating the crap out of a brigade of Mooks who burst into playing card symbols as they expired.
    • The other Casino Royale had animated titles that could be best called psychedelic medieval illuminations.
    • For Your Eyes Only is notable for being the only title sequence where the main theme's singer appears (that being Sheena Easton).
  • The Pink Panther films, whose animated credits made the titular character into a cartoon star.
  • The First Wives Club uses a series of 60's-style images of women, along with a song about being the perfect wife.
  • In the first version of Death at a Funeral, they use a title/credit sequence with a map where you're watching the hearse drop the coffin off where it is to be buried as the credits play out.
  • El Dorado (1966) has the titles underlaid by a sequence of paintings by Olaf Wieghorst of scenes of cowboys at work, which do not illustrate the story.
  • 1978's Superman: The Movie has a terrific title sequence of what was implied to be the baby Kal-El's journey across entire galaxies before reaching Earth. The titles of the following films were considerably less interesting. Superman Returns in 2006, however, would later attempt to visualize its own version.
  • Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 each feature montages of still paintings that approximate the story thus far from previous entries in the series.
  • Some of the films from Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes features this, but many more avert it in strange ways; Cave Dwellers, Pod People, Stranded in Space, Space Travelers, and others were films re-edited and redistributed by Film Ventures International, strangely presented with opening and closing credit sequences from other, unrelated films.note  They're presumably intended to convey the feeling of the movies, but manage to fail spectacularly in some instances.
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) has this. It's dark and beautiful; it feels like the beginning of a James Bond title, if done by Trent Reznor — which fittingly enough, it is.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe movies that lack Creative Closing Credits sequences tend to make up for it with snazzy opening credit reels.
    • The Incredible Hulk shows Bruce Banner's gamma exposure and first Hulk Out during the opening credits.
    • Iron Man 2 shows Ivan Vanko working in his laboratory.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy shows Star-Lord exploring planet Morag, while dancing and singing along to "Come and Get Your Love" playing on his Walkman. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2note  shows Baby Groot dancing while the other Guardians fight an Abelisk.
    • Black Widow shows Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova as they and some other little girls are kidnapped, mind-controlled, and trained to become Black Widows, with some scenes of 20th century cartoons (one of them being the intro to Disney's own DuckTales (1987)), fake home movies, and news reports interspersed throughout the process, set to a macabre cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Think Up Anger.
  • Brain Donors features a claymation animated opening (and ending) sequence.
  • Spoofed in Taxi 3 - the film's opening sequence looks like that of a James Bond movie, only with the heroes failing the Bond Gun Barrel sequence, gun-toting Santa Clauses, and naked women dancing on top of giant rollerskates.
  • The opening titles of House on Haunted Hill (1999). It's got to be one of the creepiest opening sequences ever, and sets the mood and tone of the film just right.
  • The opening title for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) has the following quote appear on the screen with each letter appearing in alphabetical order, The letters then disappear and are replaced by the title of the film. This is likely a reference to Pierrot le Fou
    And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?
    I did.
    And what did you want?
    To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.
  • Deadpool (2016) has opening credits which poke fun at the character tropes featured in the movie (including the Evil Brit, the Emo Teen, the obligatory Stan Lee cameo, etc.), as the camera pans through different parts of a fight between DP and some goons inside their car. Meanwhile, Deadpool 2 has a Bond-style opening credits sequence with Deadpool playing the role of everyone, even the Bond Girls.
  • The Fly (1986) floated a few concepts for its opening titles (these can be seen as bonus features on the non-Vanilla Edition releases) but the one they went with — the title "flutters" onto the screen followed by shifting blue, green, and red spots that, as the credits end, coalesce into the film's opening shot of an overhead view of a cocktail party — ended up being lifted from the film's teaser trailer, which used the flutter effect.
  • Major Grom: Plague Doctor has stunning CGI opening credits loaded with visual metaphors: a crying statue of Themis, a white bird, a falling chandelier, copious amounts of fire... one has to see it to get it.
  • The opening credits of Hollow Man has letters floating around and combining into the names of the cast and crew.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson has each episode begin with a montage presenting the opening credits through various methods of classical cryptography, such as holding a paper over a flame to reveal a message in invisible ink or covering it in dust then shaking it off to see what parts it has stuck to.
  • All the Light We Cannot See's title sequence consists shots of the model Daniel has built for Marie-Laure, culminating in the title in Braille then English.
  • American Horror Story: Murder House has a gorgeous title sequence that also has several Chekhov's Guns related to the nature of the house hidden in it.
  • Austin & Ally has a kind of stop-motion live action title sequence, with similar cuts being used for breaks during the show.
  • Quinn Martin productions tended to do this:
    • Barnaby Jones has an animated opening based around a motif of rectangles suggesting pieces of a jigsaw puzzle being put together.
    • Cannon uses circles of varying sizes, notably to frame star William Conrad and the guest stars and "splotch" all over the screen to introduce each act.
  • Black Sails has a title composed of carvings of pirates and their culture/world set amidst a black ocean, seen here.
  • The Bridge (2011) - It has a title with beautiful cinematography (
  • In its first season, The Bill used an iconic sequence showing the feet of two uniform police officers walking slowly toward camera while on their daily beat. This was reversed in the closing titles, where the officers' feet were seen slowly walking away from camera while the credits rolled. The sequence set out to show that the series was more interested in exploring the more sedate areas of daily police work rather than using a typical action sequence.
  • Counterpart (2018) has a title sequence made of landscapes/technology that set a motif of bars and grids, seen here.
  • Desperate Housewives also uses cut-outs, but hasn't varied them from season to season.
  • Digital Kitchen, a design studio in Chicago, has created some fairly well known title sequences including:
    • Dexter depicts the morning routine in such a way that breaking eggs, making orange juice and putting on a t-shirt all look like acts of violence, all set to a jazzy tune. Awesome doesn't begin to cover it.
    • Six Feet Under
    • True Blood has a very creepy opening that includes things like kids eating strawberries cut so that it looks like they're feasting on raw meat. Alan Ball seems to love the studio.
  • Doctor Who in its first 10 years, from William Hartnell to Jon Pertwee's years used very abstract imagery created by pointing a camera at its own monitor. Then, in Pertwee's final season and all but Tom Baker's season, a tunnel filled with ribbons of light supposedly representing the Time Vortex (made even clearer with Tom Baker's title sequence, the first shot of which showing the TARDIS flying towards the camera). The first seasons of the '80s, starting with Tom Baker's final season and concluding with Colin Baker's final one used a fully animated starfield flythrough. And with Sylvester McCoy era onwards used the TARDIS flying through CGI (with McCoy's title sequence being a galaxy of which the middle evaporates and forms his face, Paul McGann's one from Doctor Who TVM (The TV Movie) and Christopher Eccleston's and David Tennant's were a more traditional time vortex akin to the one featured in the Pertwee and T. Baker eras, and Matt Smith's was a storm cloud-like vortex for the bulk of his tenure, and a mixture of generally all of the above for the second half of his latest season). Finally, Peter Capaldi's replaces most of the celestial elements with Clock Punk, having the time vortex represented as a series of gears.
  • Ed begins with Ed driving to and through the town of Stuckyville (actually Westfield NJ)
  • The Expanse opening credits start with a time-lapse sequence of the Earth: for the last 200 years, glaciers have been gradually melting, now the the base of The Statue of Liberty is below the sea level. Luna has been settled and it's illuminated by electric lights. Then we see Mars and the rest of the Solar System, later episodes feature other locations the events take place, like Tycho Station and Behemoth.
    • Starting in season 2, the credits change to reflect in-universe developments such as the destruction of Deimos, the departure of the Nauvoo from Tycho Station, and the protomolecule spreading across Venus.
  • Family Ties (in its first season)
  • Played with on an episode of Friends titled "The One That Could Have Been". Taking place in an Alternate Universe, the scene's title sequence is shot, not using the cast members as they usually are, but as they are for that one episode.
  • Fringe uses creative changes in its title sequence to reflect the theme of particular episodes. When the episode is set back in the '80's and deals with the characters' backstories, the titles use an '80s font and digitised theme music, reminiscent of the period. When the episodes are set in the alternative Fringe universe instead of our own, the titles are set in a red background, as opposed to the normal blue. Perhaps unsurprisingly (you don't expect a TV channel to show that level of detail, do you?), SKY in the UK appears unaware of these conventions and frequently uses the wrong colour background card prior to ad breaks, which can leads to no small confusion.
  • Game of Thrones: The credits start with an astrolabe (that of the library of the Citadel in Oldtown) bearing the show's title that includes the Animal Motifs of each major noble house. It then shows an evolving map with CGI models of the locations for each episode and which house/faction controls said location in the form of Clock Punk towers bearing the symbol of each house/faction.
    • House of the Dragon: Starting with the second episode, the credits consist of blood flowing through the trenches and corridors of a stone citadel with Clock Punk locks adorned with symbols of the houses on the way. The Title Theme Tune is the same as Game of Thrones.
  • House uses images from the classic medical text Grays Anatomy. Grey's Anatomy, [[Irony on the other hand, does not]].
  • In Living Color! took this idea rather literally: The first two seasons' title sequences had the actors painting walls, including the fourth one. Seasons 3 and 4 took place in an animated art gallery, with the actors appearing in the paintings. The final season had their images appear on billboards and the sides of buildings in a city.
  • Kojak had lawn-mower strips until the final season.
  • All shows in the Law & Order Series Franchise.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The title sequence is a musical sequence of matter being formed into various shapes, based on the Middle-Earth Ainulindalë (Music of the Ainur) musical creation myth.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus used different cut-out animations for each of its four seasons; all included the famous descending foot.
  • The Musketeers features the characters posing amongst stylised watercolours.
  • The Nanny, an Animated Credits Opening telling the story of Fran Fine.
  • Night and Day's stylised opening sequence features video headshots of the main characters (either smiling or scowling, usually towards the Fourth Wall), in a series of quick transitions incorporating images from the show's locations. Colouring is predominantly red and black, as with the final title card and break bumper; and the sequence ends on a smiling Jane Harper, whose disappearance forms the show's central storyline - while the words 'NIGHT' and 'DAY' drift from left and right towards a static 'AND' in the foreground, with the 'D' in the AND and the DAY.
  • The Night Manager's credits compares images of high society with images of war (e.g., a tea set becomes an airplane's gun, and the contrails of the shots link together to form a pearl necklace).eventually overlapping so that it finally reads 'NIGHTANDAY'.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In syndication, Our Miss Brooks has the title and opening credits appearing on a blackboard. One of the openings used during the show's run had the opening credits also appearing on a blackboard, with Miss Brooks herself erasing them - only for the next set of credits to appear to the consternation of a confused Miss Brooks!
  • Peacemaker has the series' main cast dancing to Wig Wam's "Do You Wanna Taste It" with completely straight faces.
  • Pretty Little Liars has a Lipstick-and-Load Montage that turns out to be a woman's corpse being prepared for burial. After the coffin closes, the main characters are standing over it looking shifty, and the camera zooms in on one of them who looks straight at the camera and says "Shhh!"
  • The first three seasons of ReGenesis, the intro showed the travels of a random man as he slowly succumbs to an unknown disease and dies in the street, placing a special emphasis on all the people he interacted with and all the things he touched.
  • Severance (2022) has an opening featuring its characters in very abstract and strange situations like a bunch of people pouring out of a mug, or the chair someone is sitting on melting, to convey the strangeness and alienation of the show's premise of people having a separate identity and memories when they are at work.
  • The US remake of Shameless has the letter "L" lopsided.
  • The intro to Colombian Soap Opera Sin senos no hay paraíso might do Maurice Binder or Danny Kleinman proud. (Warning: Might be NSFW) Watch.
  • Star Trek
    • Star Trek: Picard: The title sequence is a montage of computer-generated graphics which mixes tangible elements from the series (such as Picard's vineyard and the Artifact) with more abstract images (such as the self-replicating regular dodecahedrons which float across the screen). Combined with the beautiful music, it's a visual poem of the show's underlying themes and its eponymous character.
  • Teen Wolf has had one since Season 2, using symbolism to foreshadow what the characters' plotlines for the season will be.
  • The 1985 version of the Twilight Zone opening.
  • Season 3 of Veronica Mars used this, as the show had moved away from the High School setting of the first two seasons and the series was being promoted less as a teen soap and more as a neo-noir. Ergo, the notebook motif of the original credit sequence had to go. The music was changed also: it's still the same song by Dandy Warhols but a more brooding version is used.
  • All Ultra Series shows up to and including Ultraman Ace had silhouettes of the various characters and vehicles being shown on a background of colored stuff (created with ink and camera effects). This carried over to other Tsuburaya shows such as Fireman and Kaiki Daisakusen as well.
  • The first season of Wonder Woman
  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum has the same logo for every episode, but the title card is stylized to fit the episode's subject. "Ice Cream" resembles pastel stop-motion animation, "Cosmetics" 1960s Pop Art, etc.
  • The X-Files
  • The Young Pope features Pope Pius XIII walking past a gallery of Renaissance sacred art, following a shooting star which traverses the paintings wrecking havoc in them. At the end, after Pius turns to the camera and winks, the star strikes a representation of Pope John Paul II, recreating Maurizio Cattelan's artwork "The Ninth Hour".

    Western Animation 
  • DuckTales (1987): The opening features clips from the show - as well as clips that never made it into the show (i.e. an alien stealing a dollar bill from Scrooge, a tiger hugging Huey, Dewey and Louie, and Webby kissing a shark)
  • Batman: The Animated Series featured a specially made fight scene between Batman and a couple of crooks. Unique in that it had no credits, no title, and no sound effects except for the coordinated Theme Music.
    • Superman: The Animated Series was originally going to have a similar stylised opening showing Superman demonstrating all his powers. In the end time constraints meant that only a short sequence of him flying was included, and a more traditionally animated opening showing him growing up was made.
  • Justice League had a highly stylised opening that showed all the main characters using their main powers or abilities, with weird lighting effects.


Video Example(s):


Carmen Sandiego Opening

The opening for the 2019 Netflix series Carmen Sandiego.

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Example of:

Main / ThemeTune

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