The greatest invention of the 21st century
I’m increasingly of the persuasion that Netflix’s “skip intro” button is the greatest invention of the 21st century. It’s certainly the most satisfying. You turn on Netflix. You choose a show. Its interminable title sequence lurches into action. A little rectangular button pops up in the bottom right of the screen. It says “skip intro”. You hit it. As if by magic, the title sequence goes away and you’re slap-bang into the show itself. It’s miraculous.
One downside of Peak TV is that 95% of all title sequences are terrible. This is because there are too many prestige dramas and they’re all trying to prove that they’re more prestigious than the others.
Prestigious opening titles have become such a lazy trope that lesser shows are starting to misuse them. The intro to Star Trek: Discovery, for instance, is toweringly self-important. It is dripping with references to the Renaissance up to and including Michelangelo’s fresco of The Creation of Adam, set to the sort of ambient chiming they play in tall lifts to stop people freaking out.
Worse still, just when you think it’s done – because the words “Star Trek Discovery” pop up – it lumbers on for 13 more agonising seconds. This would be good if Star Trek: Discovery was prestigious, but it isn’t.
In an ideal world, all title sequences would be as short as the one for The Good Place, which is just a momentary white-on-green screen. A sequence like that proves that the show is desperate to tell you as much story as it can before time runs out. But, until that happens, at least we’ve got this magical button. Its unknown creator should step forward immediately, so we can all throw flowers.