Time for a feature called FOCUS ON: THE EMMYS. This morning the Emmys nominations were announced, and that includes Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music (which, by the way, is a ridiculously long name for a category). So what say we do some chatting on the nominated titles?
The tune was written by Wendy & Lisa, a duo made up of Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, formerly of Prince and the Revolution (!). The sequence was created by Mark Gardner, Corey Weisz, Cara McKenny, and Steve Fuller, who is also the dude who uploaded this to vimeo. As to the filming of it, he has said:
This was shot with the Phantom camera over 4 different shooting days (long story) at speeds ranging from 48fps to 1000fps. Some really nice (and expensive) Zeiss lenses were used which gave us some nice focus falloff.
All of the objects were shot at 1000fps. Since they were small and very close to camera the move faster through frame so you need faster frame rates. Faster frame rates require more light. At one point our light was brighter than sunlight and we were cooking the camera. We had 3 fans on the camera so it wouldn’t melt.
Edie Falco was also shot at high frame rates. As we widened out we gradually went to more normal frame rates (30-120) since she was further from the lens.
Now all that means nothing to me, as I don’t know thing one about cameras, but maybe it will interest you?
What’s more important, I think, is noting how much critics HATE this opening sequence. On twitter, Alan Sepinwall said, “Emmy errata: awesome Human Target theme nominated in same category as heinous Nurse Jackie theme.” As a matter of fact, Myles McNutt has devoted an entire post to how much he hates the sequence, called “Why Nurse Jackie Has The Worst Credits Sequence In Television.” I don’t want to retread his arguments, and I don’t agree with that thesis, but I can observe some things that make this title sequence weak.
First, it’s very stylized and fancy-shmancy. This is fairly common in cable, and it’s certainly not a negative on its own, but it has given some shows license to create these expressionist title sequences that are more like music videos than title sequences - they don’t always have a ton to do with the show itself, they just happen to feature a list of the actors on the show. Nurse Jackie is far from the worst offender here, but you can see the strains of that here.
What Nurse Jackie does that makes its weaknesses stand out is that it tries to use this artsy-fartsy style but apply it to the network-y idea of “the audience might not understand the premise of the show without this sequence.” So we get, as a result, something that tries to have it both ways: Jackie has this trippy dream sequence about the various vices in her life. It sort of tells us about the show, if all the show’s about is about her vices (it isn’t), and it sort of tells us nothing about the show. In my opinion, it does not deserve the Emmy this year.