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October 31, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-10-31

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, October 31, 2011 - 7A

How to open a TVshow

o directly contradict the
popular adage, I do judge
a television series by its
opening credits sequence. (I'm
pretty sure
that's how the
proverb goes.)
Forget such
meager crite-
ria as quality
writing and
acting - if a
show has a
stinker of an KAVI
opening cred- SHEKHAR
its sequence, PANDEY
it might as
well not exist
(or should air on the CW, which
is essentially the same thing).
It's a true art form, find-
ing the perfect combination of
enthralling visuals and an audio
accompaniment to represent a
show for its entire run, which
can last a few episodes to several
seasons. Casts constantly change,
quality ebbs and flows, but other
than the title (sorry, "Cougar
Town") opening credits are one
of the things that stick to a show
Kickingoffa show with an
identical sequence, set to an
unforgettable song, is a conven-
tion imbued into our minds as
tykes. Give agreat big hug to
Mom and Dad, appreciating their
zen-like patience as you think
about the grating sing-a-long
openings of "Sesame Street" and
But it's the next wave of pro-
gramming that establishes the
opening credits to have both
memorable music and a taste of
what to expect from the show's
content. Recall the thunderously
riveting opening for "The Real
Adventures of Jonny Quest,"
swirling down a rabbit hole pep-
pered with glimpses of Jonny
and Hadji's greatest hits - with
a color scheme completely later
ripped off by "The Matrix" - and
the haunting, doom-and-gloom
orchestration that foreshadows
the tragic genius of "Dexter's

So by
up, som
ing cred
show. T
the shoe
tiful thi
they can
doing w
a jaunty
(see "Hc
"30 Roc
the lowe
shown b
"The Bij
of flashi
grader b
the first
ly unme
does ser
show's g
real ma
tance of
es. The,
with RJ
music, s
stat at a
the sup
fled" str
its cred
timed c
a twang
with sh
in sham
savior, I
the scen
But a

'the time we're all grown it up to 11, featuring opening
e semblance of an open- credits sequences that are mini-
lit sequence is a necessary works of art in themselves. "The
ion for every television Sopranos" set this precedent,
he expertise with which giving the uninitiated a view of
w's creators adopt or even the industrial wasteland Tony
this convention is a beau- Soprano festers in (New Jersey),
ng to see, and it's often a and continued with the splendor
ter of the show's creative of the "Deadwood" opening,
e. showingthe American West in a
ms have it the easiest, as gorgeous, idyllic light - a sharp
get away with slapping contrast to the actual content of
r a montage of the cast the show, which stress the vul-
acky things, setting it to garity and vileness of the Wild
score and calling it a day West.
ow I Met Your Mother," The brilliance is upheld in
k," "Parks and Recre- HBO's current offerings: The
But comedies also have opening sequence for "Board-
est margin for error, as walk Empire," cranking The
y the shoddy sequence of Brian Jonestown Massacre's
g Bang Theory;" a series "Straight Up and Down" as
ng images apparently Nucky Thompson gazes upon a
together by an eighth sea of liquor, is arguably more
earning PowerPoint for mesmerizing than the series
time, set to an repulsive- itself. And as the best show on
lodic tune - though, it television, "Game of Thrones,"
ve as a nice prelude to the accordingly has the best open-
general repulsiveness. ing credits sequence, hovering
over a three-dimensional map of
Westeros while a stirring score
edits where makes you want to rally your
Dothraki army and decapitate
dits are due. some Lannisters.
In terms of ingenuity, few are
as impressive as "The Simpsons,"
which has featured a different
na series are where the opening sequence for each of its
gic happens, as they've 488 episodes (and counting) -
y realized the impor- changingBart's chalkboard text
f enchanting opening and the famous "couch gag" each
and have started to time, even featuring an entire
each other, resulting in a extended sequence directed by
Age of opening sequenc- Banksy last season (who says
dazzling, dizzying "The Simpsons" isn't relevant?).
of "Mad Men," played As stupendous as "Lost" is, it
rD2's amped-up lounge started the unfortunate trend
et the show's thermo- of abandoning a full opening
bsolute zero even before sequence for a simple title card.
ernaturally suave Don (Boo, "Terra Nova," "Breaking
showed his face. "Justi- Bad" and "Pan Am." Boo.) It's
rategically quickdraws an unfortunate development
its after a comically because as television continues
old open, accompanying to evolve into the digital frontier,
y bluegrass-rap melody the art of the opening credits
ots of a Kentucky town sequence should be preserved.

bles, the specter of its
Raylan Givens, dotting
s always, HBO turns

Pandey's band is covering the
"Game of Thrones" theme. To
listen, e-mail kspandey@umich.edu.

Death, drugs and rock'n'rolI

Daily Arts Writer
One morning when I was but
a lowly high school senior get-
ting ready to leave for school,
I remembered that I could get
extra credit for dressing up
for Halloween. Desperate for
an idea, I quickly grabbed my
father's rose-tinted glasses (from
his bygone hippie days), and as I
sprinted from my house, I blindly
ripped a flower from our garden.
Lonly realized later, on the bus
to school, that what I held in my
hand was not the fresh daisy I
had wanted, but a very obviously
dead petunia - but no matter. I

Amy Winehouse was the latest to join the "27 club.'

as a cul
stars. So
makes i

And b
of stra
be they
is the u
died in
rolled d(
this inc
for the p
entry in
nology o
vomit, b
did the s
While it
for rock'
hard, th
eerie obi

it in my shirt pocket and Elliott Smith, one of the
nyself the ghost of John more depressing songwriters in
.And it worked - you see, recent memory, died in October
ture, we idolize our rock 2003 from being stabbed in the
whenthey die - often in chest - but nobody can quite
or mysterious ways - it seem to agree on who caused
t all the spookier. the wounds: himself or his girl-
friend. Plenty of stars have been
murdered (like Marvin Gaye,
elebrites' at the hands of his own father
1 in 1984), but Sam Cooke has to
take the cake. The famed R&B
spy passings. star was reportedly shot in 1964
as he attacked a hotel manager
wearing only a sports jacket and
boy, do we have our share a single shoe. In the manager's
nge rock star deaths, defense, nothing good seems to
r creepy or accidentally follow when an enraged, mostly
s. Most recently, there naked celebrity bursts into your
nfortunate story of Mike office.
s, one of the founders of Likewise, numerous musi-
Light Orchestra, who cians have taken their own lives,
September 2010 when a whether purposefully or wholly
ound rogue bale of 'hay by accident. French singer Claude
awn a nearby hill onto his Francois - beloved by his people
car. I can only guess that - decided back in 1978 that it
ident led to an unprec- would be perfectly reasonable to
number of web searches straighten a lit light bulb while
hrase "rogue bale of hay." standing in a full bath tub. R&B
is just the most recent singer Johnny Ace and Chicago
a weird, lengthy chro- guitarist Terry Kath died from
af musician mortality. It's self-inflicted gunshot wounds in
y well known that Jimi 1954 and 1978, respectively, after
choked on his own assuring bystanders their guns
ut did you know that Led were unloaded. Strangest of all,
n drummer John Bonham though, is the story of Jeff Buck-
ame thing in 1980 - after ley, singer-songwriter and son
16 shots for breakfast? of famed vocalist Tim Buckley.
'might be fairly common On May 29, 1997, after recording
n'rollers to party a bit too in Memphis, the younger Buck-
ere's a veritable litany of ley waded into the Wolf River
tuaries. Harbor singing Led Zeppelin's

"Whole Lotta Love," where he
subsequently drowned.
The most unsettling stories
spring from when these eerie
circumstances are completely
random. Take the tale of the All-
man Brothers: Guitarist Duane
Allman died in 1971 after being
thrown from his motorcycle
during a collision with a truck.
Though it's weird Duane actu-
ally died from the motorcycle
bouncing up and falling back on
top of him, it gets worse. Fellow
founder and bassist Berry Oak-
ley died a year later after getting
thrown from his motorcycle dur-
ing a collision with a bus. And if
you haven't yet seen the connec-
tion there, the accidenthappened
to occur just three blocks from
where Duane lost his life.
As you see trick-or-treators
with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Jop-
lin costumes beg for candy tthis
week, think about the bewitched
profession that is the rock star.
Most careers don't involve the
risk of a "27 club," which only
has one requirement: pass away
at the ripe age of 27. And when
such a fellowship boasts the
likes of some of the best in the
business (including Jimi, Janis,
Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Amy
Winehouse and Kurt Cobain),
the occupation of rock musician
seems to get fairly creepy. So if
you feel chills when zombie Elvis
struts by, don't feel bad - in fact,
you might want to distance your-
self while you still can.

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