Episode Title Card

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After the Title Sequence, but before the first act, many shows will put in an intertitle displaying the episode's title. For some shows, the title will be animated and a character from the series will read the title to the audience (mostly prevalent in anime, while western cartoons that use this are usually aimed at preschoolers). On the other hand, some shows might have the title be on-screen text displayed with the opening credits over the beginning of the first act. It is also common for the title to never be shown and the name of the episodes only found from episode guides.

These days, one tends to see episode titles only on non-primetime animated programming, although even then there are many exceptions to this. (For example, 4Kids' Saturday morning block doesn't use episode titles on screen at all, regardless of whether the original versions of the shows had them.) Most other kinds of programming eschew from explicitly titling the episode on screen, with most exceptions being hourlong sci-fi (Heroes, Star Trek, Doctor Who) or (for some reason) the Aaron Sorkin dramas The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Examples of Episode Title Card include:
  • Police, Camera, Action!, a co-production of ITV and Optomen, had no title cards for the first two episodes Danger Drivers Ahead! (mid-1994) and the generically titled Police Camera Action (late 1994/early 1995), then a background of thermal-imaging camera footage with the episode title in BLOCK CAPITALS between 1995 and 1996. No episode title cards were used for the 1996 special The Man Who Shot O.J about the OJ Simpson trial. From 1997, the title cards were a blue background and white text, with text Like This (capitalised beginning of sentence).
    • From 1999 onwards, a stylized background with BLOCK CAPITALS was used. The title cards were not used for the 2000 special episodes Crash Test Racers or Highway of Tomorrow. The background was changed in 2002 to police footage, and then again in 2007 for the new series presented by Alastair Stewart and Adrian Simpson. The 2008 special episode, listed as "Drink Driving Special" had no title card, but the new 2009-2010 season is likely to have them again.
  • A subversion of the character reading it is usually done in Tokusatsu with the narrator reading it usually in a menacing voice. Toru Ohira is especially fond of this, being the voice of Darth Vader in the Japanese dub of Star Wars, he sometimes likes to read titles in a villain-like manner.
  • The Simpsons did this only 5 times in 22 years; the most notable of these instances was "Bart Gets Hit By A Car", and a second after the title dissolved, Bart got....hit by a car. Others were "The Telltale Head", "22 Short Films About Springfield", The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular(celebrating 6 years), and The Book Job.
    • The Treehouse of Horror specials as well. Each special's constituent shorts also have its own title card as well.
  • Pokémon has a character reading the episode's title.
    • ...as does Inuyasha.
    • A lot of anime shows in general have that.
  • Bleach has an interesting variant, the episode titles are only numbers. The episodes do have titles, but those titles are only found in outside sources. In the 15th opening, there is a montage of earlier title cards.
  • Fushigi Yuugi begs to differ. White screen, black kanji and hiragana, music. That is all.
  • The first two Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha series have her reading the episode title while it's shown on a red sphere (ostensibly her Raising Heart pearl), with the same music bed used in both seasons. Strikers has a more dramatic music bed and no title read, presumably to reflect its more serious nature, with the title put over an i-ching pattern.
  • All Nicktoons use this: Danny Phantom, My Life as a Teenage Robot, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly OddParents, Rocko's Modern Life, The Angry Beavers, CatDog, etc.
  • Parodied in Police Squad!, where the Episode Title Card never agrees with the spoken episode title.
  • Batman the Animated Series had gorgeously painted ones for the first 85 episodes, often paired with the episode's villain's Leitmotif.
  • Batman the Brave And The Bold made hilarious use of this trope in the episode "Aquaman's Outrageous Adventure" Culminating with the image on this page.
  • Arthur has been known for creative title cards featuring not only the titles of the stories but also the writer and storyboard artist, as well as a clever bit of animation. These have included D.W. interrupting Arthur in his bath and Arthur's dog, Pal, finding the title card circle empty and howling. Starting in the 5th season, fans lamented the appearance of the "slot machine" title card, in which the slots landed on a particular character's face. Since Follow the Bouncing Ball , there's now a short clip from the episode instead.
  • Filmation had a number of series with title cards, including He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She Ra Princess of Power, Bravestarr, Filmations Ghostbusters, and Blackstar. These title cards were invariably accompanied by a particular musical snippet plucked from the in-series soundtrack.
    • Similarly, Ruby-Spears used title cards in practically all of its series.
  • Heroes is well known for working in the titles in creative and sometimes bizarre ways.
    • e.g. Sylar slicing the words 'I AM SYLAR' into his own arm.
  • Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia does this in every episode, as a hilarious transition from the Cold Open. It usually plays out either like this:

Charlie: We're gonna go America all over their asses!!
Title card: Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody's Ass

    • or this:

Frank: I'm just pallin' with the guys! How's anyone gonna get hurt?
Title card: Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire

Sweet Dee: We've got big dreams Mac, and we're gonna go follow them!
Mac: You guys have nothing without this bar.
Dennis: Don't worry about us Mac, we'll be just fine.
Title card: Dennis and Dee Go On Welfare

  • Kamichama Karin has the episode title cards read by Shii-chan, complete with her Verbal Tics added to the title.
  • In The West Wing, instead of coming after the title sequence, the title card comes right after "Previously On...". It is followed the The Teaser, then the Title Sequence.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender uses a white background with text reading "Book One:Water/Two:Earth/Three:Fire Chapter (Episode #):Title"
  • The Australian drama love is a four letter word played with this as part of its style: we would begin with a cold open, which ended with a Whip Pan and fast zoom over to the word, which was (usually) four letters long. Other such pans in the series would have captions telling us that the word either was or was not a four-letter word.
  • Ghost in The Shell Stand Alone Complex Has a short screen with the episode title in English, a secondary title in vertical Japanese, and a novel like description of whatever action happened right after that episodes opening scrolling up the left in (usually) decent English.
    • In the first season, these title cards also mention whether the episode is "Stand Alone" or "Complex" (aka, part of the Myth Arc)
  • The Venture Brothers has a title card show up at the end of the episode, right before the closing credits.
  • Unusually for a Talk Show, Conan O'Brien's new show Conan has episode title cards, though they're fake titles ("Baa Baa Blackmail," "Murder, She Tweeted").
  • In The Beiderbecke Trilogy the episode title is always the first line of dialogue, and appears on screen when the line is spoken.
  • All Skins episodes are named after their featured character(s); the character featured in any given episode is always the very last person highlighted in the title sequence.
  • Each episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion has two episode title cards: one with a Japanese title, usually shown near the beginning of the episode, and one with an English title, shown after the commercial break. This tradition has even carried over to the movies.
  • Almost Naked Animals pairs this with Art Shift, using a highly-detailed art style to depict a random moment from the episode.
  • Krypto the Superdog has an unusual one where Krypto announces not only the title of each episode, but also the production credits following the title card!
  • Dan Vs has this (paired with Episode Completes The Title) after The Teaser, instead of a Title Sequence.
  • Every episode of NCIS goes Cold Open, Title Sequence, then the action continues while the name of the episode is briefly displayed at the bottom of the screen.