I am a huge fan of many of the series that Showtime currently has on air (and many that are sadly no longer on.) Just a few weeks ago, I became hooked on Shameless--yet another compelling series to add to the list of Showtime programming that I absolutely adore.
One of the things that really engage me about Shameless (aside from the fantastic acting and always compelling writing), is their opening credits. As I began to think more about it, I realized that many of the series that Showtime has, have very interesting opening credits and reveal a lot about what the show is about to the audience. Nowadays, shows tend to have much shorter opening credits—if any at all. Think about the quick opening of Modern Family and Community. Their openings are approximately thirty seconds long or shorter. It seems that nowadays, shows are choosing to cut down time by having shorter credits, but Showtime (and HBO) have maintained longer opening credits that are visually interesting, and revealing about the series.
Let’s take a look at Dexter. It is a show about a serial killer who works for the Miami Metro Police Department. The opening credits to the show, doesn’t show one image of him killing anyone. But the images are so powerful because they are extremely close up and even though it is an orange being juiced, and laces being tied, they convey a deeper meaning. The song being played conveys precision, as well as mystery. The shots are gruesome and make you cringe and when in combination with the music—it makes the perfect opening to the show.
Shameless on the other hand is pretty explicit with their opening sequence. The song playing in the background immediately expresses chaos and distraction. The show is about a poor and dysfunctional family trying to survive on Chicago’s southside in spite of their drunk father. The opening sequence features every main character and shows a bit of their personality—and it all takes place in a bathroom, a very private place. Unfortunately for the Gallagher family, there is no privacy, so the opening credits fit exactly.
Click here to view the video: Shameless Opening
The other show that I watch on Showtime is The Big C (view my previous blogpost.) It is about a woman, Cathy, dealing with cancer. Their opening credits are very representative of Cathy’s state. In the credits, she is inside a pool, looking out on the world as they stare at her every move. It is apparent that Cathy wants to feel free but instead feels trapped. The song playing is about life, which of course is very fitting since the entire theme of the show is about the struggles that come with life.
Opening credits aren't something that I often think about, but they appear to be a powerful tool in engaging an audience. It is after all, the first thing that a person sees before the show begins, so it must speak for the series.