For the last few decades, it seems that most shows (dramas, not just comedies) don't put the episode titles on the screen. Does anyone know why not?

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    They're not really necessary... Most of the time I wasn't even aware that shows have episode titles.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 19:11
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    I guess it is because most series are telling a story over many episodes now. Some time ago, most series told a single story in a episode and used a title for it (e.G.: outer limits, Star Trek TNG...). Most series today tell a story over many episodes/seasons now (e.G.: Lost, walking dead...), so there is no need for a title for every episode. As far as i could see, Series which still do storytelling the "old style" use more often titles. But thats just a guess without facts, thats why i only write a comment.
    – kl78
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 19:35
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    Most? I doubt its more than half.
    – cde
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 20:49
  • @cde:Hm, i think this depends on the genre. Comedy and criminal series still have often completed episodes, but concerning drama, scifi, mystery (i mostly watch these genre) i have the feeling there is nearly no series today where they tell completed stories in an episode (only sideplots). You have to watch everything from the start to understand a single episode. But that is just my oppinion, maybe you explain a little bit more (with examples) why you think this is different.
    – kl78
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 21:05
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    Well, watching any random prime time show, i see both with and without. If you could quantify...
    – cde
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 21:09

2 Answers 2


My theory over the years is that people would remember a title better than they might remember the first few minutes of a show (usually before a distinctive plot might pick up), so the chances of the audiences watching a potential rerun are higher. A good example of this would be The Simpsons, where the first act of an episode rarely connects directly with the second and third.


I would think it's mostly because the shows has grown shorter to fit more advertising into the time-slot. Something has to give, so the prioritize the actual story over a long title-sequence and/or more explicit intro of each block (ie. an establishing-shot of a known location from the show, rather than a title-card with "The ... show continues". It's also worth noting the obvious exceptions to this rule... like "Game of Thrones", which has a very long and elaborate title-sequence - as well as 1 full hour episode, rather than the usual 40-45 minutes of your typical "1 hour" show... of course, GoT runs on HBO, which is pay-TV and not advertising-financed (so QED :-)

Another thing is that also the seasons have become much shorter. A full season used to be 25 to 30 episodes... today it may be as low as 18 for a "full season". Those to facts - shorter episodes and shorter seasons - doesn't leave much time to actually tell the story.

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    .. doesn't explain The Librarians, though. 40-45 min. episodes, and only 10 episodes in the first season, yet they still put a title card up for every episode.
    – inkista
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 2:45
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    Thanks. But I don't mean only when there's nothing but the text of the title on the screen, but also when the title appears over the action for a few seconds before the actors' names.
    – user24353
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 5:14

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