The Pros And Cons Of Netflix's 'Skip Intro' Button
The first time I ever noticed that opening credit scenes for television shows were outrageously long was when my parents allowed me to stay up on Sunday evenings to watch Band of Brothers on HBO.
Each new episode started with a testimonial from the men who actually served in Easy Company and it always related to what was about to happen on the show. Right after that, an introduction scene would play that listed the cast and flashed humble brags about how Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg were executive producing.
It was during these opening credit shots that my dad would tell me to get up off of the couch and brush my teeth. By the time I was done, the episode had usually started and I never thought anything of it. I actually welcomed the idea of an introductory sequence over time. I became conditioned to expect it week in and week out like Pavlov’s dog. It gave me time to grab a snack from the kitchen, take a piss, and obviously obey the instructions of my parents to brush my furry ass teeth.
At the time, the term binge watching wasn’t in anyone’s vocabulary. You watched television on a week to week basis (usually Sunday nights although I seem to remember Thursday night being popular as well), with new episodes premiering once a week.
Over the years television shows on Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and any other streaming website you can think of have taken this idea of an introductory credit sequence to insane heights. Game of Thrones immediately comes to mind, with sweeping animated shots of the entire Thrones universe with a theme song that even people who do not watch the show would recognize. The Big Ten went so far as to mimic the opening intro sequence from GoT for a promo commercial.
But somewhere along the way people just got fed up with all of it. Netflix clearly heard the calls for reform. They know that people want to binge watch so this only seemed like a natural progression for them -
HBO still goes by the premise that people don’t want a show all at once and I tend to agree with them. I don’t love or hate the long intro scene for tv shows because it does give me some time to get up and maybe grab a snack, take a piss, or brush my teeth. On rare occasions I’ll even enjoy the song that is played while the credits are rolling.
Perhaps that’s what producers had in mind with the obnoxiously long intro - let’s give the people some time to pee or pop some corn before they settle in for an hour of drama, sex, and violence.
Binging a tv show in one sitting is fun, but the suspense of waiting week in and week out is something that I personally enjoy. Why HBO hasn’t given us the option to skip introductions on their streaming application is beyond me. If you’re watching HBO on Apple TV or something similar, you have to use your remote and time up the stopping of you pressing the fast forward button perfectly. If you’re on a computer, you simply have to guess how long the intro sequence is using the time bar and that’s a total crapshoot.
I mean I understand that this is the definition of a first world problem but guess what? I live in a first world country and this is a bit of a problem for me. Plus I think we can all agree that this topic is more fun than yet another article about Russian meddling.
For the quote unquote prestige tv show like GoT or something with similar viewing numbers I guess it’s nice that they don’t allow you to skip the intro. A show takes a lot of work so giving those people behind the scenes some screen time is nice. But for the first time in a long time I’m having trouble choosing a side. I can see both sides of the coin on this.
On the one hand I too get annoyed sometimes at the length of the opening credits. It just seems like overkill. Like, yeah, I understand that I’m watching something that is higher brow than a CBS sitcom. I don’t want to listen to the same shitty five minute song eight times over when I’m hungover in bed binging something. On the other hand, it does give you that freedom to get something done that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do.