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The Boston Globe

Television

buzzsaw

On television, a golden age of the title sequences

Hard as it may be to believe, title sequences have come a long way since the finger-snapping “Addams Family” opener, which included these enduring lines: “Their house is a museum/ Where people come to see ’em.” And how could TV’s creative minds ever improve on a bunch of “Friends” in white and black dancing like fools in a public water fountain? So totally kooky.

TV title sequences have gotten remarkably sophisticated in the past decade or so. They’ve evolved from cheesy, functional introductions with ear-wormy songs into compelling, suggestive music videos that don’t just announce the beginning of the show; they establish its tone. They boil the mood and emotion of the story down to their essence for us. Because the sequences are created for weekly consumption, they’re layered and dense enough to conjure new facets with each viewing. They’ve got raw imagery designed to rouse, songs written to haunt, and edits and fades and flashes added to provoke.

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