It is also to remember all the great shows of the past that led us to this point.
…On with the Show(s)!
Say “City on the Edge of Forever” to folks of a certain persuasion (…the “persuasion” that would read this Blog, anyway), and they would immediately think of STAR TREK.
Ditto for “Amok Time”, “The Menagerie”, or any number of other Trek-titles ingrained in our collective memories.
Try some others: “Time Enough at Last” = TWILIGHT ZONE. “The Zanti Misfits” = THE OUTER LIMITS. And, for better or for worse, “The Great Vegetable Rebellion” = LOST IN SPACE.
Some series were better known for their “title format conceits” than for individual episode titles.
PERRY MASON = “The Case of the (Fill-In-The-Blank)”
BURKE’S LAW = “Who Killed (Fill-In-The-Blank)”
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. = “The (Fill-In-The-Blank) Affair”
THE WILD WILD WEST = “The Night of the (Fill-In-The-Blank)”
BATMAN (1966) didn’t “fill in any blanks”, but the title of “Part Two” most often RHYMED with the title of “Part One”.
Mention one of these conventions and, chances are, someone will know which series you’re referencing. Okay, maybe not BURKE’S LAW… but you know what I mean!
Even 20 years after the fact, titles like “The Best of Both Worlds” or “The Inner Light” mean STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION.
As late as the early/mid 2000's, with STAR TREK ENTERPRISE, we've had titles. Though that may be more of a STAR TREK "tradition" than anything else.
The point of all this “Title Talk” is that TV episodes (for the most part) no longer display episode titles!
This seems particularly odd, given the proliferation of “fannish-types” who talk, text, tweet, and Blog about their favorite TV programs. We LIKE referring to episodes by title, don’t we? …Leastways, ‘round these parts we do, sure as shootin’!
Shows from my current list like LOST, FRINGE, FLASH FORWARD, and even THE SIMPSONS and FAMILY GUY do not exhibit episode titles. A notable exception is HEROES, which always displays “Chapter Titles” (individual episode) or “Volume Titles”(overall arc) – but that’s probably a stylistic tribute to its “comic-book roots”.
These episode titles DO EXIST, of course. They can be found at network, series, or TV episode websites and the on-screen listings of your television provider. They form the contents listings of DVD sets, and identify episodes available to download. So why are they never seen as part of an episode?
Wouldn’t the fifth season premiere episode of LOST have an even greater impact if we all saw its title, “Because You Left”, on screen? Or, if you referred to the final episode of that season as “The Incident”, you might be firing-up a collective memory of what happened at the end of the show. (Hint – Something very big went Boom and everything turned white!) Then we waited for another season to tell us what, when, where, and how.
…Come to think of it, mere days before the series finale, we’re STILL trying to figure this out.
As a writer, as well as a fan, I like to give everything a title. It always helps “set things” in my mind. Also, creating humorous and appropriate titles is one of my favorite aspects of the Disney comic book scripting work I do.
It’s a funny thing… Because of this situation, I don’t find myself referring to episodes of LOST and its contemporaries by episode title, while I still do for their more classic counterparts.
Anyone see “The Trouble with Tribbles” or “Journey to Babel” lately? How ‘bout the one where Ben kills John Locke? …See what I mean?
It just seems as if we lost something when an hour-long, sci-fi or adventure based TV drama does not lead off with an episode title. Especially when said title appears everywhere except on the episode itself. (At Left: A title from HEROES!)
…Your thoughts? (…and I REALLY want them!)