The intro to Breaking Bad is very short - how was this negotiated? Usually, and especially for more popular shows (in the later seasons), shows have relatively long intros.

Breaking Bad's is about 18 seconds, only credits the Creator, Vince Gilligan.

I was wondering how common such short intros are, or was this just really good negotiation on Vince's part, or ...what?

Is it because the other credits follow (during the show), so FX was willing to give it a shorter "title-card" intro?

Edit: If not Breaking Bad specifically, any comments on shorter intros more broadly are welcome! And also, it's an answer if I'm incorrect in my assumption and it's no big deal.

  • 5
    There are plenty of shows with very short title sequences. And if you pay attention, you'll notice even shows with longer sequences often have plenty of credits during the first few minutes after the title sequence.
    – BCdotWEB
    Jan 28, 2018 at 8:18
  • @BCdotWEB - Hm, true. They're (in what I can recall) certainly more rare to have a sub 30-second intro. I am just wondering why/how that's determined.
    – BruceWayne
    Jan 28, 2018 at 15:17
  • 2
    Lost followed a similar style - with a short title sequence, followed by credits appearing over the first few minutes of the show.
    – iandotkelly
    Jan 28, 2018 at 16:01
  • 2
    Why did they need to "negotiate" this with the broadcaster? (honest question) ... why do you think this would be a problem for the broadcaster?
    – iandotkelly
    Jan 28, 2018 at 16:03
  • 2
    IIRC How I Met Your Mother and Last Man Standing both have short title sequences: youtube.com/watch?v=ZPLOsabhQSM (couldn't find LMS, I think it's a pair of boots being dropped). Arguably Seinfeld even completely lacked a title sequence. The Life In Pieces title sequence also amounts to little more than the title, IIRC.
    – BCdotWEB
    Jan 28, 2018 at 17:00

1 Answer 1


Shorter sequences save time for audiences, and money for producers

There is an excellent article on the history of tv show credits here: A brief history of TV shows' opening credit sequences

In it, it talks about how after a tradition of longer sequences, the need for them declined as audiences wanted to get straight to the action.

Following the example of Lost, and its 15 second intro, other shows began adopting a similar approach to shorter sequences:

[Lost’s] minimalist approach demonstrated TV shows didn't need credits or a catchy theme songs to set a tone and get viewers; cast members could be introduced during the first scene, and people would still watch. Title cards also allowed shows to "dive right into the action," providing more screen time per episode. And of course, minimalist credits meant money saved.

A few years later, and it’s clear that audiences responded to the change:

By 2006, only about 10 percent of shows used a theme song or credit sequence to set up the story. "Clearly, brevity is key," The Associated Press reported in 2006. "No drawn-out intro or hokey theme. Networks don't have time for that — and neither, prevailing TV thinking goes, do the country's couch potatoes."

My own view is that with binge watching more and more common, the need for an engaged, long-term, viewer of a show to sit through a long introduction is reduced. They already know the characters, the setting and the theme - they’d rather get to the story.

This is evident by Netflix’s introduction of a ‘Skip intro’ button.

  • 2
    Amazon Prime Video has a "Skip Intro" button, too, at least via TiVo.
    – T.J.L.
    Dec 5, 2019 at 15:02
  • These are great points! As a counter-point (or separate point anyways), I know some shows (The Simpsons and likely others, primarily animated) kept their intro "dynamic", so if the show didn't have the full 22 mins of content, they could extend the into (e.g. via the "Couch Gag" for The Simpsons). But the last point you made is probably the most applicable here and going forward, IMO.
    – BruceWayne
    Dec 5, 2019 at 15:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .