Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Top 5: Great TV shows with awful titles

I hate liking shows with bad titles. Because every conversation or thought you will ever have about them comes back to ' Yeah, but its called (Insert ridiculous genre title here)'. And its exhausting. Titles are best underplayed, leaving you with a sense of a kind of intrigued but nonplussed coolness. Like The Wire, or Lost. Two strong titles because they embrace their minimalism whole-heartedly. Sometimes you can get away with a weak pun, as long as its weak enough that in time people forget its a joke. I.E the Sopranos or Arrested Development. If you've got nothing, you can always name it after you're lead character, see close to every other show in existence. But what you never ever, ever do is do what these guys did.

5) Dexter
Granted it doesn't seem like a bad title, but talk about it with the uninitiated and it will come back to a certain nickelodeon show about a boy genius in a laboratory, titled ' Dexter's laboratory'. Three times this has happened to me. I'm like no, but by the time we've done acknowledging this misunderstanding the moment is gone and we're talking about Jimmy Neutron.

Rule broken: Six degrees of separation. Some distinctiveness please.

4) How I Met Your Mother
This bit sells itself. HIMYM became one of the funniest shows on TV once it passed first season nervousness, but shit is it an awful title. It makes it sound like its PS, I Love you gone TV, when in fact there's an eager creativeness about it. It's another one you have to keep to yourself because trying to sell a show called How I met Your mother to your friends is pretty much a sure way to deck your credibility as a telephile, even if it technically shouldn't.

Rule broken: Too sentimental. Titles are supposed to keep their cool, not force sweetness down your throat.

3) Breaking Bad
This is my favorite show currently airing, but its title is everything that show isn't. It tries too hard to be both hip and clever. Something the show does effortlessly. If Breaking Bad the Title was a person it would be a falsely self-satisfied douche who thinks he is smarter and cooler then everyone else in the room, when he really, really isn't. So me in other words.

Rule Broken: Tried too hard. Minimalism is the magic word.

2) Battlestar Galactica
Well. Of the many things wrong with this title, (I know its a remake, so its an inherited disease, but a disease nonetheless) I'm gonna say that it embraced its inner nerd far too much assuring its inaccessibility. The show kind of fought through the title prejudice with extreme critical acclaim, but it dug itself a huge unnecessary hole that it took about three years to dig out of. Smooth going.

Rule Broken: Embraced its core nerd far too much. Lost is a similar crazy ass show but sucked people in because of its ambiguous title.

1) Buffy The Vampire Slayer
It was always going to end this way. Buffy is a show that I'm sure would have won all the awards in the world if it hadn't forced conservative old white men to endorse a show called Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Which their biology just wouldn't let them do. There's still a stigma to it now, and any liking of Buffy by anyone has to be defended to the max. He couldn't have just called it True Blood or something.

Rule Broken: Too much of everything. Take your pick. Kitsch, irony, ridiculousness and many more. Still a very good show that I'll defend till my death of an anxiety related illness caused by too much defending of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Sidenote, The five best titled shows:

5) Twin Peaks
4) The X Files
3) Carnivale
2) The Wire
1) Lost


Antonionioni said...

Have people really been confusing Dexter with Dexter's Laboratory? Something I'd never do, seeing as I've never heard of Dexter's Laboratory. Must be a new kid's programme, I'd guess...

spiral568 said...

true story. happened to me more then once.