In the current world of all television all the time, main title sequences remain an art form all their own. This year, the TV Academy has nominated six of these for outstanding main title design as well as five main title themes for outstanding original main title music.
HBO and its streaming service HBO Max scored the lion’s share of these nominations, landing three out of five of the main title nods with Between the World and Me, Lovecraft Country and Raised by Wolves. HBO and HBO Max grabbed two more nominations for original main titles music with documentary Allen v. Farrow and HBO Max’s thriller/comedy The Flight Attendant.
Agencies represented on this list include regular nominee Elastic as well as King & Country, Studio AKA, Antibody and Perception.
HBO’s Between the World and Me
This nomination marks Santa Monica-based design studio Elastic’s 20th Emmy nomination and Creative Director Hazel Baird’s second, with her other nod coming from Apple TV Plus’ The Morning Show in 2020, on which she worked with fellow creative director Angus Wall.
Elastic also has won Emmys for title designs for HBO’s Game of Thrones in seasons one and eight, as well as for Amazon’s Man in the High Castle in 2016 and, in 2014, HBO’s True Detective, designed by another of this year’s Emmy nominees: Patrick Clair.
Design Studio: Elastic
Creative Director: Hazel Baird
Art Director: Diego Coutinho
Animators: Rafael Morinaga, Eugene Hyun, Andrew Young
Producer: Michael Ross
Coordinator: Mitchell Fraser
Executive Producer: Luke Colson
Deputy Head of Production: Zach Wakefield
Head of Production: Kate Berry
Managing Director: Jennifer Sofio Hall
Original Illustrations by: Molly Crabapple
Music: “Soundtrack to Confusion” by Black Thought and Salaam Remi
Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird
The main titles for Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird, starring Ethan Hawke, sticks with largely a pen-and-ink look in an effective and simple color palette of mustard yellow, brick red and black. The series, based on the best-selling novel by James McBride, tells the story of Henry “Little Onion” Shackleford (look for the reference in this title sequence), who escapes slavery and goes to work for abolitionist John Brown.
It’s all set to very catchy gospel anthem, “Come on Children, Let’s Sing,” by Mahalia Jackson.
Agency: King and Country
Executive Producer: Jerry Torgerson
Creative Director: Efrain Montañez
Art Director: Eduardo Guisandes
Animators: Abigail Fairfax, Josh Lewis, Eduardo Guisandes
Producer: Ryan Lowrie
Title Theme: “Come on Children, Let’s Sing” by Mahalia Jackson
EP/Creative Director: Padraig McKinley
EP: Olga Hamlet
Producers: Alex Espinoza, Adan Orozco
HBO’s Lovecraft Country
Antibody’s Patrick Clair and his production partner Raoul Marks picked up their 12th and 11th Emmy nominations, respectively, for the ever-changing and relatively simple opening titles for HBO’s Lovecraft Country, with each back panel representing a key moment from that week’s episode.
Design Studio: Antibody
Creative Director: Patrick Clair
Art Director/Animator/Compositor/Lead 3D Artist: Raoul Marks
Illustrations: Ken Taylor
Series Music by: Laura Karpman, Raphael Saadiq
HBO’s Raised by Wolves
This main title sequence by London-based Studio AKA is as haunting as the show it accompanies, made all the more so by the music written and performed by Mariam Wallentin and Ben Frost.
Raised by Wolves comes from Ridley Scott’s production company and it’s set on a faraway planet where human-like androids are tasked with raising salvaged human children in order to preserve human civilization.
Agency: Studio AKA
Director: Steve Small
Producer: Nikki Kefford-White
Animation/Artworking: Marcus Armitage, Kristian Andrews, Martin Oliver
3D FX Simulation: Kristian Fjellerup Olesen, Rob Chapman
3D Modeling: Raymond Slattery
Compositing: Marcus Armitage, Kristian Andrews, Will Eager
Editor: Nic Gill
Music: Mariam Wallentin, Ben Frost
Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit
The opening credits to Netflix’s chess-focused limited series, The Queen’s Gambit, are as classy and sophisticated as the show itself, with Berlin-based designer Saskia Marka providing the design.
Main Title Design: Saskia Marka
Processed Animations: David Whyte
Main Title Music: Carlos Rafael Rivera
Disney Plus’ WandaVision
Disney Plus’ WandaVision featured main-on-end titles with every episode, with each sequence lovingly crafted to honor the era of sitcom being featured.
Along with the visuals, the music changed each session, with episode one going with a Dick Van Dyke Show feel, episode five headed more toward Full House, episode six borrowing liberally from Malcolm in the Middle’s chaotic ‘90s vibe and finally a sleeker Modern Family sensibility for episode seven.
WandaVision is the only series among the main-title nominees that was nominated both for title sequence and for original music.
Full sequences for episodes 1-3 and 5-7
Perception’s Cut Down
Co-Founders: Danny Gonzalez, Jeremy Lasky
Head of Operations: Kris Barone
Senior Producer: Eric Daly
Chief Creative: John LePore
VFX Supervisor: Doug Appleton
Associate Producer: Peyton Goldfarb
Artists: John Koltai, Vlad Lysenco, Alex Rupert, Chris Szeto, David Wave, David Weinstock, Nick Woythaler, Ryan Uhrich
Original Main Title Theme Music
HBO’s Allen v. Farrow
HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant
Apple TV Plus’ Ted Lasso
Disney Plus’ WandaVision
READ MORE: Art of the Title