I watch a lot of TV, it’s kind of the nature of being a media/entertainment geek. Scratch that, I watch a lot of TV online and on DVD, but with my busy schedule I don’t get around to watching the shows live as much as I would like to. Anyway, sine over cosine aside there’s a lot of things that you don’t see when you’re watching TV episodes on TV, for example, the subtle genius that goes into the title of the episode.
Writing this blog has brought to my attention some of the genius behind the titles of episodes for shows. Every [week] when I’m scrolling through to see what shows will have new episodes in the coming week, I find myself chuckling a bit. For example, Syfy’s newest series Being Human, which has been given the green light for a second season, has excellent episode titles that follow a theme: song titles. For example, this past week’s episode was titled “You’re The One That I Haunt”, a play on “You’re The One That I Want” from Grease. An earlier episode was titled “Wouldn’t It Be Nice (If We Were Human)”, a clear nod to the Beach Boys tune of nearly the same title.
Now, if you have a digital cable box with Comcast or Time Warner you can probably see these titles, and they probably don’t really mean much to you. Hell, if you’ve made it this far and you’re one of those people I thank you for your interest. As someone who as written a draft for a TV pilot (and notes on a second), I appreciate the creativity that goes into the name of the episode. There’s a lot more there that can give you an idea of the whole episode. Let’s take a look at Chuck. Every episode has a title that begins with “Chuck versus…”, and the rest usually gives an idea of what Chuck will indeed be up against in that episode. For example in the second season there is an episode called “Chuck versus Tom Sawyer” in which <SPOILERS> Chuck needs to save the free world by beating Missile Command which is apparently encoded to the tune of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” </SPOILERS>.
Stargate Universe‘s episode titles were all one word until partway through the current (and final) season. Psych episode titles are often puns or plays on well known lines such as “Down The Stretch Comes Murder” or “Murder?…Anyone?…Anyone?…Bueller?”. You get the idea. There is an unseen genius that is at work on most TV show writing crews, and it’s kind of unfortunate that most people don’t get to see it, hence why I bring it to your attention now. So the next time you’re flipping through the channels trying to figure out something to watch, maybe you should actually take a look at the title to figure out if it’s worth watching (if you have that capability). And for any aspiring writers out there take note, there’s a lot to be said from those episode titles.
Plus, if you’re as big a fan, or geek as I am, you may actually know all of the episode titles to your favorite show like Stargate SG-1, Atlantis, or Universe. This can come in handy when you’re on stage for a competition at a convention for said TV shows. You could win big. Of course, if everyone did that then I guess no one would really win. Okay so scratch that idea, at least for any of the TV shows mentioned here. The others are all yours.