Improving One Of TV’s Worst Opening Credits Sequences

Improving One Of TV’s Worst Opening Credits Sequences

I love Boardwalk Empire. Can’t get enough of it. But I, like most others, cannot stand the show’s opening credits, which are neat the first 2-3 times you see them, but which have become unbearable now we’re years into the show’s run.

Here, then, are two ways to fix this. The first is by re-creating the show’s intro with Grand Theft Auto V. And some mines.

(If you want to see how closely this matches up with the original, here’s a comparison video with the two playing side-by-side).

The second is to watch the actual credits, only hit the little “gear” icon in YouTube and change the speed of the video to 1.5x (or even 2x). Your toes, they will tap.


  • But… but… the Boardwalk Empire credits are amazing! (Then again, I love Orange is the New Black’s credits too, another show that gets panned on this front.)

    • I like both as well. I guess sitting through opening credits doesn’t really gel with the Age of On Demand.

      True Blood’s was great too. Was the best part of some of the later episodes :/

      • Boardwalk’s opening credits are an amazing piece of cinematography and quite a stand out amongst a lot of opening credits, especially since for a while it seemed like they were dying off.

        I’ll also second True Blood, there is a disturbed genius in that opening credits sequence.

        Now opening credits are slightly out of time, and their design is a bit anachronistic in a VoD culture. A really good opening credits will set a tone and mood and get an audience ready to watch, it’s like a warm up act at a comedy show or concert.

        Have you ever wondered why they sometimes start the show before the credits? Hell I’ve seen shows where the credits don’t show up for 10-15 minutes. Those are generally known as cold opens though many people who know that wouldn’t know why or why they’re used.

        But by opening with no introduction, your audience isn’t quite prepared. Their mind isn’t necessarily in the zone to read that particular show, so you’re more likely to be able to surprise them, or do something tonally out of sync with your credits.

        That’s why it’s so popular on crime procedurals. The last show you were watching ended, and when you’re back from ads you’re thrown straight into something new. There’s this happy family or some kids about to do something stupid….This also acts as a hook, we don’t know why this is happening or even who these people are. So we might stick around a few minutes to see what happens…

        If you sit down specifically to watch one, you know what to expect.You know that nice happy family is about to stumble across a gruesome body, then the credits sting and the episode proper starts with the cast arriving.

        This is true whether it’s a video on demand or if you just know the schedule, it’s an old narrative aid that has limited efficacy to large portions of the audience.

        So that is why we even have credits, why is all that important? Because for those of us who specifically go to watch something we are already tuned in, our minds are prepped and that credit sequence isn’t really useful. We also probably have watched it more continuously than audiences in the past, so we’ve seen the credits many times before…. (There’s a reason old credits summarised the plot, people dropped in and out of shows a lot more.)

        All of that means we’re likely to get tired and want to skip credits we’ve seen in our race to devour new content, almost regardless of their quality. I almost always skip Boardwalk Empire and haven’t watched a True Blood opener in ages, but that doesn’t make them bad.

        Which is easily seen by the fact that Plunkett’s “Worst opening credits” was actually nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Main Titles, losing only to Game of Thrones.

        Do you know what is bad? A shot for shot remake in a game engine that cannot cope with the time ramps and looks jerky, as well as lacking the grading and subtle visual effects that make the original great.

        Or making a cheap comment about “Aren’t things funnier when you watch them on fast forward?” Yes we all tried that when we were 5 and it was hillarious then, surely it’s only gotten better with age…

        But the worse part? I put more time and effort into this damn comment than he did on formulating his short sighted opinion and pumping out that article…. Why can’t I let things go?

        • Have you ever wondered why they sometimes start the show before the credits? Hell I’ve seen shows where the credits don’t show up for 10-15 minutes.

          Todays SONS OF ANARCHY episode, it went for roughly 51 minutes. Opening Credits didn’t start til 13 minutes into the episode. By that point I actually said outloud “What the f*** is the point of this NOW!?”

          • The last episode of Captain Earth had opening credits also around 13 minutes in, but that’s a 23 minute anime.

            Honestly sometimes I think that the creators would drop them all together… But that starts getting legally sticky. Many unions/contracts have a requirement of being credited in those opening credits, even shows that just do a quick sting title card would then need to credit their cast over the video.

            Lost was famous for this, when their ensemble bloomed it wasn’t uncommon to still see names appearing across the bottom 3-4 scenes into the episode.

            Did you know that traditionally you had to show credits for a film before it started? There was one famous nobody director who bucked the trend in 1977 because he wanted a clean in universe start. He was almost run out of Hollywood, attacked by all the unions over it…

            Of course that movie went on to be so insanely successful that it gave a bit more leeway for auteurs to open their films in creative ways and pushed the majority of credits back to the end of the film.

          • Film making is a passion, once I start talking sometimes it’s hard to stop…. Glad you enjoyed it and cheers for the kudos.

  • my wife HATES opening credits of all shows and always fast-forwards through them if the show is recorded. she doesn’t watch GoT but one night she stayed in the room whilst I watched it. I love GoT’s opening so I let it play – knowing it would drive her berserk – and her reaction of “Why the FUCK would you not skip that?!” was priceless 🙂

      • As an addendum to my giant post, the only credits I don’t skip after I’ve seen them a few times are ones with awesome music like GoT.

        Take my love,
        Take my land,
        Take me where I cannot stand…

        • I don’t care,
          I’m still free,
          You can’t take the sky from me…

          Now I’ll have to start this years firefly marathon (which unfortunately doesn’t take long)

          • Mine was a couple of week’s ago, I’d been putting it off in the hopes of showing a friend. Then I decided I couldn’t wait =P

    • I’m with her, cable shows always have ridicuously long credits, and I just don’t need to see it everytime. Even averaged out to ~1 minute that’s a lot of time spent watching the same shit over and over again that I’ll never get back.

  • Watching through ps3 means many shows get sped up credits. It’s now how I recognise their theme song so dexter and boardwalk empire always sound 1.5x speed in my head. Dexter sounds quite cool sped up a bit.

    • Sets the scene perfectly, although I don’t think the show achieves the credits creepiness.

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