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Title-Only Opening

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Mitchell: Okay, for starters, I think you need a strong opening title sequence.
Martin: Are you serious? Nobody does that anymore; you just throw up the title and get on with it.

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 invoke a Title-Only Opening for two types of episodes:

Because using a Title-Only Opening usually precludes the possibility of having an opening theme song, anime programs do not use them very much: the Theme Song CD is one of the major pieces of ancillary merchandise for anime. If a Title-Only Opening does appear, it will usually just be for the final episode.

If the show lacks a theme music in the opening as well as anywhere else, it is also an example of No Theme Tune. If a work has an intro, but it's very short, then it's an Extremely Short Intro Sequence. If a show has an intro sequence, but later finds itself making use of this, then you have Truncated Theme Tune. If only one or few certain special episodes of a show feature only the title, then it's a Theme Tuneless Episode.


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  • 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.

  • A Place Further than the Universe forgoes the rather lighthearted opening theme for the penultimate episode, the emotional climax of the work in which Shirase is forced to come to terms with her mother's death.
  • The German dub of Cardcaptor Sakura where the title was cued over the episode card. And it's opening music? The episode card sting.
  • Exactly the same thing happens in the related La Corda d'Oro — Primo Passo.
  • Ditto with Cowboy Bebop's last episode.
  • From the New World has no opening sequence at all, making it fairly unique among anime.
  • Likewise Fruits Basket skips its for dramatic mood during the final storyline with Kyo.
  • This happened with the final episode of HuGtto! Pretty Cure as a result of the theme song playing over the final scene where Hana gives birth.
  • The American airing 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. Canada would air the openings in their entirety on YTV, due to children's TV in Canada airing fewer commercials.
  • 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.)
  • 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 penultimate episode of Koi Kaze does not feature the opening credits. Instead it briefly shows the title of the series and episode before getting on with the episode.
  • As well as My-HiME and My-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.
  • And, apparently, in Neo Angelique - Abyss: Second Age as well. Seems to be one of the common tropes for the NeoRomance franchise...
  • The Director's Cut version of Episode 22 of Neon Genesis Evangelion opts to use a simple, silent Eye Catch instead of the classic "Cruel Angel's Thesis" 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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. The Vanity Plates for Columbia Pictures, Revolution Studios, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, and Scott Free Productions also don't appear until after the credits end as well.
  • After an opening title card explaining that all of the technology featured in the film is real and used in the United States (this ends up playing into the Paranoia Fuel of the plot) Blue Thunder just shows the title as the opening sequence introducing the protagonist and his peers closes, then runs the rest of the credits (plus the title) at the end.
  • Pearl Harbor skips Vanity Plates and all other credits in favor of opening on its title, which doubles as the first shot of the movie.
  • Pitch (2009) opens with the title fading in with a drumroll on top of a smoky background before cutting to the opening scene.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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").
  • 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.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. starts with an audible humming sound while the logo zooms into the camera. Later series' title cards did a more traditional logo then fade instead.
  • The Babysitters Club 1990 starts with a cold opening then does a freeze frame, giving the title followed by the credits, then the episode resumes with the Title Theme Tune playing for a while before fading out.
  • Breaking Bad has one of these that's accompanied by a brief theme as seen here.
  • From 1982 to November 1987, the CBS Evening News used a Chyron of the name of the newscast and anchor (sometimes with a wipe transition replacing the regular anchor's name with a substitute) with the anchor reading the title with something along the lines of "Good evening, this is the CBS Evening News; Dan Rather reporting."
  • Charmed (1998): The fourth and fifth season premieres swap the usual opening credits sequence for a ten second clip of the show's title and logo set to a few bars of the theme tune.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The original version of the British soap Crossroads, until partway through the 70s.
  • CSI has done it on a few occasions, including the episode after Warrick's death and the 200th episode.
  • 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.
  • Decoy: The title, the dedication, and Beverly Garland's credit are superimposed over the opening seconds of the episode while a fifteen-second theme song plays.
  • The newer seasons of Desperate Housewives.
  • Doctor Who has done this exactly once in its 55+ year history with the Found Footage episode "Sleep No More" , which eschews the opening sequence and theme song for a brief burst of visual static out of which the words "Doctor" and "Who" briefly emerge.
  • Occurs occasionally on The Drew Carey Show, particularly when the cold opening runs longer than usual.
  • The first season of Drrt
  • Elementary does this for many episodes depending on the length.
  • ER does this for the last 2 seasons of the show.
  • Eureka abbreviated its opening theme starting in Season 3, showing just Sheriff Carter in the street, buildings rising around him, then panning to the sky showing the title.
  • UK comedy-drama Gavin & Stacey simply shows a black title card with the series name and the creators listed.
  • Like Grey's Anatomy, they both lost their opening theme songs (although Grey's seems to have lost the title card, too).
  • 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.
  • A few House episodes don't feature a theme, including the pilot and "Bombshells".
  • Jericho (2006) used this too, along with a morse coded couch gag (often referring to the events of the episode).
  • 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.
  • Kate & 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 
  • This had been done as early as the '80s with Murphy Brown.
  • The Newsreader: It's a title card with "The Newsreader" in white font over a black background.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Scrubs just shows the title X-ray when the Cold Opening runs long.
  • 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.
  • Sister, Sister omits the opening credits in the first episode of the series and replaces it with just the logo, since the theme song spoils how Tia and Tamera reunited and forced their adoptive parents to live under one roof.
  • The final episode of Slings & Arrows omits the opening song in favor of this.
  • The Starz Spartacus series are an example of a cable show doing this.
  • Stargate:
    • 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.
  • Supernatural: In place of a title sequence, it has a recap, then The Teaser, followed by the title card (which changes every season to match the season's current theme). A handful of special episodes, however, do have unique title sequences, which can be as long as a minute.
  • The first season of Teen Wolf. Averted from season 2 onward.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Thick of It (so as to add to the realistic In Medias Res feel) and The Movie In the Loop.
  • 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.
  • UFO (1970) has a variation on this. Each episode begins with an opening sequence that only incorporates brief flashes of the title. This is followed by a teaser, which ends with an animated version of the title being superimposed.
  • The introductions in The Umbrella Academy (2019) consist of a cold opening that ends with the camera focused on something that resembles an umbrella, with the title fading in afterwards. During Season 3, this changes to an umbrella and a sparrow.
  • The pilot episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt does this as part of its Early-Installment Weirdness. It's the only episode to do so, as the rest of the series has a normal intro.
  • Later seasons of Wings trim out the opening all together and show only a title.
  • The pilot of The X-Files, presumably because the theme song had not been finished yet.

    New Media 
  • 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).

  • During certain episodes of Adventures in Odyssey, the introduction is pared down to Chris saying, "And now, Adventures in Odyssey!" over light music.

    Video Games 
The rule, rather than the exception, for video games. After the publisher/developer vanity plates, 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.
  • The Walking Dead (Telltale) did this for the majority of Season One and Season Two's episode intros.

    Web Animation 
  • The intro to RoboSplaat is nothing but the name of the show with the episode title on the corner.
  • The final season of Meta Runner shortens the opening to just the title card and initial credits, lasting only ten seconds.

    Western Animation 
  • North American airings of The Amazing World of Gumball reduces the 20-second opening to just the title card and creator credit. International and DVD/digital versions of episodes retain the full sequence, and certain episodes do air this sequence in the United States.
  • Several American Dad! episodesnote  do this to accommodate the longer running time.
  • Though Amphibia has a full theme song, the more serious episodes ("Toad Tax"/"Prison Break", "Reunion", "The First Temple", "True Colors", "The New Normal", "Escape to Amphibia", "The Root of Evil"/"The Core & the King") omit the theme entirely and only show the title along with a five-second rendition of Anne's Theme, giving the saved runtime towards the episode proper.
  • Downplayed with Beavis And Butthead. The intro only shows the title, but it features the titular charaters saying their verbal tics in the logo and laughing.
  • Big City Greens: The Christmas Episode skips the theme entirely and the title appears after the opening number.
  • 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.
  • Dan Vs. has a cold opening for every episode that ends with the show's title and then the episode title over the screen.
  • Syndicated reruns and the DVD version of Family Guy's "Brian & Stewie" omits the opening for a black title card of the show's name.
  • Home Movies. Two of the first season episodes had a short opening, but it was quickly abandoned in favor of this.
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2023)
    • The first episode, "Moon Girl Landing" has the show's logo form while a remixed version of the theme plays. The intro proper plays at the end of the episode.
    • The season 1 finale, "OMG Issue #2" uses a shortened version of episode 1's opening with background noise instead of the usual theme.
  • Over the Garden Wall 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.
  • Particularly lore heavy episodes in season 2B of The Owl House like "Elsewhere and Elsewhen", "Hollow Mind", "Edge of the World", and "Labyrinth Runners" cut down the opening to just the title card (and in all but the first case, the final shot of four glyphs activating), in part because the series getting Cut Short meant that the writers had to squeeze out every second of the show they could. And "Clouds on the Horizon" doesn't even have the opening theme playing, just showing the title with the Last Note Nightmare of the Villain Opening Scene in the background. The season 3 episodes having the show's logo in the background after their respective openings.
  • Regular Show opens with its title card over a sustained synth string. The actual theme song plays during the end credits.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: In the first two episodes of the second season, the usual opening sequence is replaced with one of these due to the gang still being apart after the events of "All Fear the Freak".
  • The Simpsons:
    • Two early season 1 episodes ("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.
    • 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.
    • From Season 22's "The Great Simpsina" onward, some episodes cut directly from the clouds to the episode itself.
  • The opening to Smiling Friends is just the title card and creator credit, with only fast and cheerful-sounding music playing in the background.
  • Star Wars Rebels does this after a Cold Opening.
  • Star Wars Resistance, made by many of the same people as Rebels, keeps the same opening structure.
  • Similar idea: The very first episode of Storm Hawks had a short stab with just the titletype instead of the full opening.
  • Thunder Cats 2011 does this, which is ironic considering the original had one of the most memorable opening sequences in Western animation.
  • 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.
  • Some (But not all) episodes of Season 3 of The Venture Brothers 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.
  • The intro sequences of the Marvel Animation shows and films since Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) consist only of the Marvel flipping comic book logo followed by a quick rendition of the show or film's logo.
  • The Wander over Yonder Musical Episode "My Fair Hatey" is the only one to not play the theme song, instead opening on a curtain labeled with the title ala a stage play, which opens and cuts straight to the show.
  • Wonder Pets! is an unusual preschool example of this trope.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts has the show's main theme tune starts playing at the end of every cold open as something in the environment is shown to form Kipo's name, be it the clouds, a star constellation, or scratches on a tree. At which point it hard cuts to the series logo, followed by the episode title. "Real Cats Wear Plaid" is the only exception to this, having the show title appear after zooming into a Mega-Mute's eye.
  • Young Justice (2010) did this from the first half of season one to season two.



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