Saturday, February 17, 2018

Squeezing TV credits

You know me.  I love a good rant.  Here is David Mitchell bitching about all those TV credits that are now squeezed into the corner of your screen. 


John H said...

This is one of many reasons why I pulled the plug on cable. The opening and/or closing of shows are shrunk or worse, removed completely. Episodes are edited more so than originally intended for syndication. The biggest travesty is scenes in which there are no dialogue are being sped up. All so more stinking commercials can be added. I'll stick with my blu-ray's thanks.

Peter said...

One place I thought I'd escape this scourge is Netflix, but no, even there the credits are interrupted to tell you the next episode will start in five seconds. If I choose to continue watching the credits because I want to check a particular name, I'll have already missed five seconds because of the interruption, and the five seconds usually constitutes about three screencards of names, and if I go back ten seconds, I get the same interruption and I end up missing the same five seconds and it's therefore impossible to ever see the names listed in those five seconds!!!

Hey Netflix, here's an idea. How about you let us watch the fucking credits and THEN automatically start the next episode?

DyHrdMET said...

for April Fool's Day, you (or someone) should make a TV show episode that's 22 minutes of credits. real credits, fake credits, whatever. in all different forms over the full episode, which even mocks the fact that there are credits all the time.

Jeff Alexander said...

Mr. Levine: The rant you posted by David Mitchell is also one of my pet peeves and brings up a question that you might want to consider answering in your Friday questions blog.
Being a layman (i.e., not in show business), I've always been a little surprised that the Actors Guild, Writers Guild, Directors Guild or Hairstyling/Makeup Guild (if such a union exists) do not protest the scrunching over of credits. Do unions have any say in how members are listed in credits? Or is that at the sole discretion of networks? Thanks!

Dave Creek said...

Definitely one of my favorite things to rant about, as well. Someone referred to the "theme from 24" once and I said, "There ain't no theme from 24," unless you count the ever-faster beeping sound and the swooshing sound at the very beginning. Turns out they were talking about the end theme, which I'd never heard 'cause Fox always did the squeeze-back and ran a promo.

And don't get me started on banners and crawls during newscasts. The banners often tell us what we're already hearing and the crawls just distract me from the actual newscast. In fact, with the 24/7 news channels depending upon pundits and talk show formats rather than actual news coverage, I often find out more about what's going on from the crawl.

I'll spare you the rank on constant network "bugs." I KNOW what network I'm watching!

Joseph Scarbrough said...

I don't usually shamelessly plug my original work on here to be "that guy," but a couple of years ago, I did a short satirical case study called SINGLE CAMERA SITCOMS: THEN & NOW, and one of the things I did in part of showcasing the difference in classic and contemporary single-cam sitcoms is the "then" version had an actual ending credit sequence with real credits (retroactive for those who have contributed to my work over the years); while the "now" version simply flashes the credits at the bottom of the screen while the program is still ending, and most of it's just fake, filler credit (like each ficitional character getting an executive producer or any of my writers getting a producer credit, since as Ken once explained on his blog, the actors are often given executive producer credits, and the writers are given producer credits to make them happy).

But, yeah. . . .

Junior Bear Wrangler said...

John H you wrote my country life!That's exactly what I did and why. Also thanks to Ken for introducing me to David Mithell's Soapbox which I've been binging on all morning.

cd1515 said...

Guess I’m in the minority, I’ve never cared to watch credits.
As Dennis Miller said, “if I wanted to read, I wouldn’t be watching TV.”

Unknown said...

As we all know too well, it isn't just the closing credits.
Since the onset of the '90s (at least), the credits at the start of the show pop up in extra-small type at the bottom of the screen (or worse, in one distant corner of the bottom of the screen) while the actors have already stated talking.
My SOP these days is to fast-backward the opening scene, that I may determine who the Guest Stars on this week's SVU might be, before I have to listen all over again to the beginning to know what happened ...

I'm being an overage Spoiled Brat here.
I'm a '50s-'60s kid, from the ancient days of Theme Music, credits in readable fonts, Quinn Martin's announcers who told you out loud who the Guest Stars were*, being able to compare info with that week's TV Guide, and all like that there.

*Once again, indulge me as I remember how Quinn Martin's announcers taught me (and millions of other Americans) how to correctly pronounce:

Oscar Beregi

Rhys Williams

Edgar Stehli

Ramon Bieri

Cesare Danova

John Colicos

Steve Ihnat

- and any number of others I'll remember as soon as I hit Publish.

Buttermilk Sky said...

All true. Now go back and read the credits to the left of Mr. Mitchell. "Rabbi fluffer"?

I believe this is a plot to send us all to IMDB in an attempt to find out the name of that actress we just enjoyed. And it's especially enraging when the "premium" channels cut into the end credits, destroying the mood some composer worked hard to create in order to tell us there's a new episode of a series we're not following. As for those pop-up ads, well, as Jerry Seinfeld once said, "We're trying to have a civilization here!"

Dr Loser said...

Even rabbits need fluffing. Particularly in glorious CinemaScope, where every little bunny boil is mercilessly visible on-camera. See, this is why we need proper credits: important details, like that extra letter, just get scrunched off the screen.

And better still, as others have noted, let's bring back good old-fashioned credits before the program. I mean, who wouldn't want to watch a remake of Fatal Attraction with the following up-front credit:

"And introducing our Special Guest Star -- Mel Gibson, as 'The Rabbit Fluffer!'"

I know I would.

YEKIMI said...

Even more annoying is that the fact some shows have credits that go by faster than the Starship Enterprise can fly! "Scotty, what just went by us?" "Credits, Captain!" "Mr. Sulu, Warp Factor 9.5! I want to see what they say!" Spock: "Illogical, Captain. They are doing Warp Factor 69, which we are incapable of achieving. We'll never be able to catch them and the lettering appears to be shrinking and collapsing into itself, soon to become smaller than nanobots. Even if we could catch up to them you would need a magnifying glass the size of the largest star in the universe, VY Canis Majoris, to read them!"

Mike Heath said...

David Mitchell is the king of the intelligent informed rant.

Anonymous said...

Watch Mitchell and Webb do the Grammar Nazi
Quite funny

Peter said...

This is off topic but I just have to mention this. I've never been a fan of Bette Midler but she's posted a brilliant tweet about the reaction of NRA-funded congressmen to the Florida school shooting:

"Fuck you & your worthless thoughts and prayers; you & your obfuscating shills got what you wanted, $$$, while our kids get to die in school."


Kevin FitzMaurice said...

Speaking of credits, Hank Simms was the announcer on most of the Quinn Martin shows in the sixties and seventies, including "The FBI," "Cannon," "The Streets Of San Francisco," and "Barnaby Jones."

He also parodied himself on "Police Squad" in 1982.

Dick Wesson served as announcer on "The Fugitive" in the sixties; William Conrad, who later played "Cannon," was the narrator.

Steve said...

Check out Mitchell's latest sitcom "Back," Ken. It's very funny.

VP81955 said...

Fortunately, I believe all the Chuck Lorre end-of-ep cards can be viewed online. On reruns of some of his shows, the local affiliate scales them down to quarter-size.

DBenson said...

One of my all-time favorite South Park gags involved credits.

When a bunch of disgruntled Scientologists threaten to sue, the kid defiantly announce they're not afraid of any old lawsuit. The credits roll, and everybody is listed as John Smith.

J Lee said...

Late to the game Friday question off this -- NBC was the network that first started killing the standard end credits/end theme in the 1994-95 season, in favor of doing promos where the titles, music and network announcer voiceover used to be.

The only show on NBC that escaped the end-title carnage was 'Frasier', which never lost its end title credits and theme for the entire series. How did the producers manage to keep NBC from squeezing the another 30 seconds of self-promotion for the show's final 10 seasons?

Greg Ehrbar said...

@Mike Doran
@Kevin FitzMaurice

We've been enjoying THE FBI on Warner Archive DVDs and not only is it neat to hear the actors' names at the beginning, it's also fun to count the "Acts" as I did when I was kid. Quinn Martin shows always started each segment with a title that announced Acts 1 through 4, with an "Epilog". Loved those.

As for Mitchell and Webb, please enjoy this brief TV-related sketch from their BBC radio show:

Andy Rose said...

@J Lee: NBC aired the tag scenes of shows in the split-screen if one was produced. NBC only aired promos next to the credits if the program only had full-screen closing credits with no other content.

Ironically, the so-called "NBC2000" format probably worked better for Frasier than what came before it. In the 80s, the networks would show the credits full-screen, but most of the soundtrack would be replaced by a network staff announcer voicing promos. Had Frasier aired back then, you probably never would have heard all of Kelsey Grammer's singing unmolested.