Date of Award

Fall 12-19-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Greg Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Alisa Peren

Third Advisor

Dr. Ted Friedman


Much of the existing academic discourse surrounding opening title sequences suggests that they function primarily by providing viewers with information concerning a program’s characters, settings, genre and themes. Such accounts seemingly fail to recognize more nuanced concurrent functions. Utilizing the concept of paratexts originally proposed by Gerard Genette in combination with a neoformalist approach to analysis, this project identifies patterns, narrative components, stylistic elements and various industrial and authorial characteristics within the field of American televisual opening title sequences in order to explore some of these underlying concomitant functions, and classify the segments that perform them accordingly.