Article Index


 
Season One Title Sequence

 

The atmosphere the series was going for, from the very beginning, was dark. The first season's title card was fairly simple, but a few uncomplicated techniques were used to create visuals that had a powerful effect on what the audience felt. The title sequence started out with an explosion of blue color, and the static white noise. That got your attention! The black background superimposed with the rapidly changing text, zooming in and out of focus, gave the feel of chaos and loss of control. The gray/blue tone of the text represented the reality of the Winchester world, their true reality, which is dark, often violent, and very cold. Whenever I watch this I still get the feeling that something malevolent is out there, in the shadows, behind those letters, waiting to jump out of the shadows, and that's is certainly what happened in many of the season's stories. 
 
Two alternative titles sequences for season one were produced but never used. 
 
Season one unused title sequences
 


The first sequence starts with the same burst of noise the other intros have but this leads into a disconnected symphony of high and low piano notes, no rhyme, order or harmony, just chaotic sounds. The normal sweet harmonious chords that soothe are not found in this piece. This rattles the nerves and sends cold chills through you. Not as bad as fingernails on a chalk board, but close.
 
Coupled this discord with the sound of thunder and your psyche is on high alert.  Just the sound alone sends your system in to overdrive. The visual field has rapidly changing caricature images of creatures, weapons, people running, scenes and imagery out of color from our normal. Add the red letters of ‘SUPERNATURAL' moving in and out of focus, overlaid flashes of color in shades of reds and yellows (the warning colors), and tones of blue for cold and depression, and you know you don't want to watch it in the dark or alone.
 
The second sequence is shorter and starts with the image and sound of dripping water, scenes that always visualizes dark, neglected, subterranean passages and abandoned, tombs, crypt and graves.   This, with the flashing ‘SUPERNATURAL' on the screen, is effective at conveying the paranormal experience. 
 
These two title sequences are more complex than the basic design, but also more effect at delivering the feel of the urban legends and myths the first season was based on; and both include the impala which has been a pivotal part of the story from day one. The impala caricature was not lost however, it, or a very similar image, was used in the title sequence for Monster at the End of This Book four years later. These two were a lot more expensive to produce and repeating this type of intro every year would be more that the designs they when with. Still I thought the first one was very effective and the sound on the second was chilling.

Comments  

Randal
# Randal 2010-06-04 11:00
Now *that* was some tasty meta. At least 75,000 bonus points for the mention of Lovecraft, I'll have to check my actuarial tables.

For the season four title, I always associated the wings with ravens, those denizens of the battlefield, companions of Odin, Huginn and Muninn, memory and thought, appropriate for this show, given how important memory (family, hunting, tradition) and thought (skills, techniques and grimoires, if you will) are.

I love all five, but I'm kind of partial to season one for the details you mentioned, it's representation of a coldness, of a lurking in the dismal fog, almost an ubiquitous Lovecraftian cosmic indifference that Sam and Dean bring a humanity to.
Matilda Jean
# Matilda Jean 2010-06-04 11:21
Unbelievable! Video sections - breath taking. Marvelous Sable Green. Keep the articles coming. Best I've ever read.
Bevie
# Bevie 2010-06-04 13:59
Fascinating! I am very partial to season 2 with season 3 title a close second.

And Randal. A Lovecraft fan! I read them many years ago and they were the most bone blood chilling stories ever. Unknown unimagineable forces of nature and ancient ancient sleeping horrors slowly awakening. :shock: :shock: :shock: :o
MyMADWorld
# MyMADWorld 2010-06-04 18:38
Great video! Loved seeing them all together like that! My favorite has always been season 2 when the A becomes the pentagram. I barely noticed any change the next season until I realized the pentagram didn't come up - I thought I was going crazy when it didn't. Finally I realized that they changed every season! I love the fact that they've done that.
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-06-04 20:30
Thanks for commenting all. Randal, ravens are a good analogy. I've worked with crows as an animal rehabilitator, and they can really be nasty and HIGHLY protective of their young. A pack of crows taking on a raptor is a frightening sight to see. Guess that’s why I thought of them right off.

Matilda, Bevie and MyMADWorld so glad you liked the videos. A big thank you goes out to Alice who got those all embedded for me, and some of them gave her a lot of grief.

Hope you all enjoy the second half!
elle2
# elle2 2010-06-05 09:43
Sablegreen, This is an excellent piece. I love how you gave us the video of all the title cards and then broke each one down individually.

I frequently will pause and step still by still through these title sequences to try and catch all that is there. Season 3's always intrigues me because the first explosion comes forth with two skeletal-type hands coming forward...chilling!

Season 4's has so many elements with the wings, the scream and the sound of knives slashing (makes me think of the angel swords) and the swirl of Season 5 was used with great glee by so many to fade from the teaser which frequently involved blood splashing or splattering.

The alternatives, especially the second one from Season 1 has a very X-Files feel to it, not surprising, and while I like them, I'm definitely partial to what they did go with.

All of them are awesome and I eagerly await Season 6's.

Thanks for tackling this unusual subject...I see there's a part 2, I'll digest that a little later!
Karen
# Karen 2010-06-05 11:05
Hi Sablegreen
I always liked that each season had it’s own title card. Kind of gave each year its own identity.
I think season 2 is my favourite.
As for season 3, I never knew it was a pentacle they were showing before the supernatural lettering showed. I could never make it out.
Season 4 always reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, that movie scared the hell out of me when I was a kid.
And Season 5, I always took it to represent ‘Blood is thicker than water’, especially after the deterioration of the brother’s relationship. Kind of game me hope that things were going to get better.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-06-05 13:41
With articles like this, do we really have do be afraid of Hellatus? My foot! Thanks, dear, for this labour of love.

Where Randal finds his Lovecraft, I see my Poe... the wonderful thing is, that all the symbolism leaves enough to personal interpretation...
I have loved all the intros, as they were unusual in tv land, and I do love the bloody one of season five. Being also a fan of high quality vampire stories, that might come natural....

Love, Jas
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-06-05 20:02
Elle2, Karen, Jas..Glad you liked the videos. Elle2, season 3 has so many different elements and is so much more complex than the others which is why I like it the most. I also really liked the first unused season 1 video's images and graphics, but the audio didn't go well with it. While I really liked the one they used, I also would have liked this one with a different sound track.

Karen, when I saw season 4's title card the first thing I thought of was Hitchcock’s The Birds. He gave new meaning to bird flocks.

Jas, love Poe. One of the SPN novels was based on the Poe stories. Wish they would do that as a two part episode in s6. As for this being a labour...not on your life! This was pure joy the whole time. I've always had fun doing articles for this site, but this one was the most fun ever. :D

Thanks for enjoying the piece.
ElenaM
# ElenaM 2010-06-07 00:34
Awesome, fascinating, wonderful analysis--could heap on more superlatives but you get the idea :D. You especially made me view season 3's differently, its feel of cosmic coldness and the sense it evokes of being between worlds... Thought the eruption of clouds always had a pretty hellish look to it because for me it very much echoed the eruption of demon smoke from the Devil's Gate.

Personally I'm partial to seasons 2 and 4--I loved the burst of flame and the pentacle star fading into the A, thought that was very cool. For S4, I loved the dark menace of the chiaroscuro effect of the crows' wings and, like you pointed out, the way that echoed the darkness and mystery of the angel storyline.

Oooh, new season means new title card--can't wait!!! Off to read part 2.
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-06-07 19:40
Glad you liked the article. Season three was always the most mysterious for me, and season 2 was the most energetic of them all. Season 4 just seemed a little 'quite' compared to the others, but fit the season wonderfully. Thanks for commenting!
ElenaM
# ElenaM 2010-06-08 00:33
De nada, you deserve it! Thanks for including the alternative S1 title cards too--I really, really liked the first of the two, actually, but can see how a more sudden, abrupt title card is better suited to transition from the teaser to the rest of the episode. Second one, I agree with elle2, felt very X-files to me... Anyway, one more superlative can't hurt, so great job!!! :mrgreen:
ElenaM
# ElenaM 2010-06-08 00:34
De nada, you deserve it! Thanks for including the alternative S1 title cards too--I really, really liked the first of the two, actually, but can see how a more sudden, abrupt title card is better suited to transition from the teaser to the rest of the episode. Second one, I agree with elle2, felt very X-files to me... Anyway, one more superlative can't hurt, so great job!!! :mrgreen:
ElenaM
# ElenaM 2010-06-08 00:37
Ooops... how'd that happen? Excuse the duplicate post, sorry...
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-06-08 10:58
ElenaM, funny you liked the first alternative. My mother LOVED that one. She played it a lot. Really I did too. It was very colorful and really depicted the urban monsters and myth they were dealing with in s1. I wouldn't mind if they switched to something along this format for s6.

I agree with you and Elle2 though, the second was very X-files-ish, wouldn't want to see it on SPN.