I love TV, but I don’t love the Emmy Awards. Not only is the telecast way too long but the awards are generally predictable and repetitive. There’s a lot of things about them I’d change if I could: I’d love to see broadcast and cable shows split into two separate categories, I wish actors could only win once for every role, and as always it would be nice if more shows were recognized. However, there is one category that I can get behind – Outstanding Main Title Design.
The Emmy award for Outstanding Main Title Design (not to be confused with Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music) goes to the best opening title sequence for a new TV show. That means that every year there is a new crop of nominees and a new winner. As such, the category has allowed for lesser known shows and smaller networks to earn some recognition. WGN America for example took home its very first Emmy last year when the short lived historical drama Manhattan won.
Manhattan isn’t the only wildcard to spice things up in the category. Obviously a lot of the usual suspects that debut on the likes of HBO, Showtime, and AMC earn nods every year, but The Anna Nicole Show was nominated in 2003, Ghost Whisperer was nominated in 2006, Chuck in 2008, Lie to Me in 2009, Human Target in 2010, and so on. It’s certainly an interesting category to look back on; Wikipedia has the list of nominees and winners dating back to 1990.
Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle took home the top honors this year at the Creative Arts Ceremony. And it was up against some rather stiff competition with Jessica Jones, Narcos, The Night Manager, and Vinyl rounding out the field. Visit ArtoftheTitle.com to see all of the main title sequences and to read in-depth interviews with the creative teams behind them. It’s all very fascinating.
It’s also interesting to note that for as much diversity as the category appears to have for networks and individual shows, only a handful of studios are actually responsible for the vast majority of these main title sequences. Studio Elastic, who did The Man in the High Castle previously won for True Detective in 2014 and Game of Thrones in 2011. Imaginary Forces and Digital Kitchen are the other two studios running the board.
So who do you think had the best main title design this year? Alternatively, what’s your favorite Emmy category? Sound off in the comments section below.
The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sunday September 18th at 7pm on ABC.