Aug 27, 2014

Netflix’s Annoying Opening Credits

I recently binge-watched the second seasons of both House of Cards and Orange is the New Black on Netflix. While doing so, something started to bother me: the opening credits are annoying long.

House of Cards opening credits is 1 minute, 32 seconds long, and there are 13 episodes per season. By the time you finish the season, you’ve suffered through watched just shy of 20 minutes of opening credits, which is about ⅓ of an episode. Orange is the New Black clocks in at 1 minute, 12 seconds long, which totals 15 minutes, 36 seconds per season, or about ¼ of an episode. Both shows opening credits are exactly the same from episode-to-episode, and they both place episode specific guest credits in the corner while the scene after the opening credits is shown.

When you consider that Netflix’s ability to skip content is a little flawed (due to the inherent limitations of streaming), it’s easier to just sit through the opening credits and stew rather than to try and skip them and waste even more time.

While both shows opening credits are well done and appropriate for each show, they should be drastically cut for the second episode – and any additional – when you binge-watch them. I think a five second title card would be appropriate, a la Breaking Bad, Falling Skies, and some episodes from season two of Elementary.

To be fair, there would have to be an amount of time that they would reset the opening credit skip window if you’re not watching back-to-back. I’m going to propose a 3 hour window – if you watch an episode within 3 hours after the watching an episode and seeing the full credits, the opening credits of the subsequent episode would be skipped.

It should be very easy to implement this on Netflix produced shows since they have a certain amount of control over them. In the order for the shows, Netflix could specify that two different versions of each episode be created, one with the full opening credits and one with the abbreviated credits, and they can then stream the appropriate episode to the user.

However, what about the shows that Netflix did not produce? To skip the opening credits, Netflix would need to know the exact time the opening credits start and end. While this information might be available with recently produced shows, I’d be shocked if it was available on shows that were produced more than ten years ago.

Even if Netflix were to have that information, I’m guessing that their license agreements to stream the shows only allow them to stream an unaltered version of the show, making my brilliant idea moot.

What about the End Credits? I’m not entirely sure why, but the end credits don’t bother me as much as the opening credits. Perhaps it’s because the end credits can be used for bathroom breaks, food/drink refills, or to briefly discuss the episode that was just watched. More than likely it’s because they are easily avoided on Netflix. As soon as the end credits start, you can press the stop button on the remote and then start playing the next episode.

I hope Netflix implements my idea soon, because if I sit through the opening credits of House of Cards for the third season, I will have watched one hour of opening credits, which is equivalent to an entire episode.