please don't roll credits

When Bad Credits Happen to Good TV Shows

Photo: Fox, Showtime, Netflix

Masters of Sex returned last night, and we continue to insist that you watch it, because it is great. But we would also like to insist on some hard truths, such as: Its opening credits are awful. What’s the opposite of a snub? That’s how I feel about it being awarded an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Title Design. I would, however, give it the distinction of being in the fine company of good shows with disproportionately bad credits. Here is a list of common credit problems, in case you are making a prestige television show in the near future. Don’t let a bad credit sequence happen to you!

It doesn’t properly represent the show.
Masters of Sex’s credits are wrapped in hokey Austin Powers innuendo — and then they go for a Dick and Jane aesthetic midway, implying the two children have sex at the end? Eek. It’s not funny, and it certainly doesn’t properly represent the show, which is dark and very smart.
Other examples: Bunheads

It’s a little too on the nose.
Grantland’s Andy Greenwald writes:
“I find Masters of Sex‘s panting, pun-heavy credits truly awful, a close runner-up to Homeland‘s interminable jazz-labyrinth.” Ah yes: Remember Homeland’s opening credits? All those cuts. All that jazz! Aside from those trumpets, it’s also way too on the nose for a show that’s all about open questions. A maze with no end in sight? Come on.
Other examples: Big Love, Gilligan’s Island (Just kidding! Kind of!)

It has an annoying song.
We control every aspect of how we watch Orange is the New Black — except for its damn opening credits, which are actually fine themselves, but accompanied by that Regina Spektor song that everyone seems to abhor. The best we can do for you in this situation is tell you that the opening credits are exactly one minute, 11 seconds long. Do with that information what you must.
Other examples: New Girl, The L Word (after they changed it), Grey’s Anatomy

It just looks like crap.
This prize we award to the opening credits of Nurse Jackie, which feature floating pills, coffee cuts, and a wedding ring — in case the premise weren’t totally clear. Could they have put some of that scrubs budget into creating more realistic flying medication? Thanks.

It’s too long.
Hurry up, House of Cards. I have, like, 60 more episodes to sit through.
Other examples: The Newsroom (even though it is not really that good); Game of Thrones (even though the song isn’t awful)

When Bad Credits Happen to Good TV Shows