Best Main Title Design: Will Emmy Go to Only Murders in the Building?


As any viewer knows, nothing beats a good main title sequence. Some shows work fine without them, but it never hurts to set the mood for a story with a well-edited arrangement of eye-catching graphics. If the design is good enough that watchers refuse to press or even forget the “skip intro” button, it deserves recognition, and that’s exactly what the Best Main Title Design category is for. Emma.

Four of the seven shows currently nominated for their main sequences — “Foundation,” “Lisey’s Story,” “Pachinko” and “Severance” — are Apple TV+ originals. Also included in the 2022 lineup are “Candy” and “Only Murders in the Building” from Hulu and “Cowboy Bebop” from Netflix. To discern which opener will most likely win favor with the TV academy, let’s look at each one individually. Be sure to make your Emmy predictions in this category and 26 other creative arts categories by September 3.

SEE 2022 Emmy Nominations: Full list of contenders for the 74th Primetime Emmys

“Candy” – Creative Directors: Peter Frankfurt and Ronnie Koff

After earning acclaim in 2017 for crafting the simple yet riveting opener to “Stranger Things,” Frankfurt is seeking its second win in this category for its work on this fact-based limited series. Realistic close-up animation of a housewives instruction manual features the story of Montgomery candies (Jessica Biel), a wife and mother who allegedly killed her neighbor in 1980. The overall theme of the slow deconstruction sequence and the use of imagery of potentially dangerous household items such as scissors, a kitchen knife and a meat cleaver meat inspire great dread in the viewer.

“Cowboy Bebop” – Creative Director: Karin Fong

The title design of this show is a great homage to the 1990s Japanese anime series and corresponding manga from which it is adapted. A mix of live action and animated sequences showing the central bounty hunter characters at work is presented on a black canvas in a way that resembles the pages of a graphic novel, with a strong incorporation of vibrant shades of blue and of red. This is Fong’s seventh nomination in this category; she has won here in the past for “Masterpiece Theatre” (2001) and “Counterpart” (2018).

“Foundation” – Creative Director: Ronnie Koff

This 80-second overture features shimmering moving images of crystallized sculptures depicting human faces, spaceships, and strange geometric objects. While this doesn’t give viewers a clear idea of ​​what the sci-fi series is all about, it still evokes a distinct sense of wonder and majesty. Its editor, Zach Kilroyshared the victory of “Counterpart” in 2018 under the direction of Fong.

“Lisey’s Story” – Creative Directors: Karin Fong and Osbert Parker

This Stephen King adaptation stars Julianne Moore as the titular Lisey Landon, a widow who embarks on a treasure hunt devised by her late husband. This setup is deftly presented in a title sequence that uses finely detailed puppets to represent the Landons. Against a solid black background, the wooden Lisey is visited by her husband, and they kiss before he disintegrates into a cloud of loose book pages and leaves her a shovel as the first clue. Her strings then snap, signaling to viewers that an important journey has begun.

“Only Murders in the Building” – Creative Director: Lisa Bolan

Watching this title sequence is like being taken through a pop-up book of infinite dimensions. As the camera spends 45 seconds panning up and down an animated version of NYC’s titular apartment building, viewers can see loads of cleverly placed detail through the windows of the various residents. The fact that hardly anyone can pick them all up without pausing makes them a perfect never-to-skip intro. This is Bolan’s fifth nomination in this category and first for a comedy series, following bids for ‘The Alienist’ (2018), ‘Altered Carbon’ (2018), ‘Conversations with a Killer’ (2019 ) and “Carnival Row” (2020).

“Pachinko” – Creative Directors: Nadia Tzuo and Angus Wall

Tzuo and Wall have collectively been recognized here for eight more shows, and the latter has won trophies for “Carnivale” (2004) and “Game of Thrones” (2011 and 2019). Their “Pachinko” design tactfully blends imagery of 20th-century Korean and Japanese life with video of the show’s cast dancing in a modern casino. It’s a particularly fun way to set up this dramatic cross-generational story and it gives viewers the idea that the actors are more than happy to be a part of it.

“Severance” – Creative Director: Oliver Latta

This sequence is just as innovative as the spectacle it introduces. As we watch a 3D animated version of main character Mark Scout (Adam Scott) performs (or at least dreams of performing) a typical working day, we quickly understand that his office work is completely abnormal. Mark and the countless Mark clones he interacts with are squarely in the uncanny valley, as their unnatural moves make skin crawl in the best possible way. A season later, most of the questions surrounding the show remain unanswered, and that’s a good thing.

So which series will win the 2022 Emmy for Best Main Title Design? In the past decade alone, the award has most often gone to shows that have each won at least one other award. Three of the current nominees – ‘Foundation’, ‘Only Murders in the Building’ and ‘Severance’ – are capable of winning here and elsewhere, while the others are only involved in this one race. However, since ‘Godfather of Harlem’ and ‘The Good Lord Bird’ respectively prevailed here in 2020 and 2021 despite no other nominations between them, it’s reasonable to expect that trend to continue.

Judging by the visual resemblance to recent winners, the title sequence ‘Severance’ strongly evokes that of ‘Counterpart’, while ‘Pachinko’ aligns more loosely with ‘Godfather of Harlem’. Based on the similarities of their brief animated intros to that of “The Good Lord Bird,” it would make more sense for this run to boil down to “Candy” (the possible third consecutive show to only be won here) and “Only Murders in the building” (given its statistical advantage of potential external gains).

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