Over the years, television shows have changed format many times even as they keep to the same 30 or 60 minute time slots. Themes, characters, and storylines have shifted with the changing times and plots or shows that wouldn’t have been popular a few decades ago are all the rage today. However, one thing that they do have in common is the intro credits. But, comparing intro credits from shows today to shows from the 1990s — even when it’s the same television show — demonstrates that the way that people watch television has definitely changed with the times.
Television show intros used to be much longer — up to 45 to 60 seconds — and featured stock clips of the actors in the show with their credits and a theme song. Viewers often watched them. These days, most shows have shortened their intro credits to less than 15 seconds in response to television features like the skip ahead on most DVRs or the fact that viewers get bored and, with cable, satellite, and hundreds of other channels at their disposal, will change to a new show entirely, losing the original network advertising dollars as well as ratings.
In addition to the length of the intro credits, the style of them has changed. No longer do shows favor using stock clips of the actors smiling brightly in carefully choreographed motions. Instead, the intro credits may overlap the first minute of the show, and are generally just the primary actors’ names. Gone also are the theme songs for all but the most popular shows such as The Walking Dead.
What are some other changes you’ve noticed in the way that television shows air over the past few decades? Let us know on this Throwback Thursday!