A great TV show deserves a great title sequence. Think Game of Thrones’ intro, in which the raven view of the board game-esque map shows the players involved in the story. Or think of The Sopranos sequence, in which Tony is driving around New Jersey as if it were his kingdom. Or the beginning of Dexter, in which the extreme close up shots of a simple morning routine look almost psychopathic. But what is it that makes a title sequence so good?

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Ryan Hollinger first examines the goal of a title sequence: to provide an identity for a television show. Title sequences grab our attention and build up anticipation, but the very best of them are able to drum up emotion inside of us to invoke memories of the show.

There’s a combination of things that make for a great title sequence. A good theme song can sometimes deliver better memories of the show than the show itself. Expert editing can mimic the show aesthetically. Information needs to be delivered in the credits so we understand the characters more. But the overall goal is to get us to emotionally connect with the show, to prepare us to enter their world.