Thursday, August 24, 2006

Attack Of The One-Word Show Titles


Is the preceding some kind of random poem? Nope. Those are the titles of real FOX dramas. If you add House and 24 to the list, you see an odd trend at show titles. Even though 24 is the older show, I think this trend really started with House. Even though the full name of the show is actually House, M.D., no one ever refers to it by that name. FOX just calls it House. Then, Bones came on last season and became popular. Now, FOX has added three new dramas that have only one word in their titles to its fall schedule. Let's speculate at what's next for FOX:

Truth: A show about journalists who actually act like journalists.

Honor: Either a show about a military academy, a mafia family, or a group of thieves.

Attitude: A comedy-drama set at an entertainment magazine.

Flavor: A drama dealing with hip-hop in some way.

Trapped: A group of friends are trapped underground and spend the whole season trying to get out.

Wealth: A drama about a rich family.

Sanctuary: Supernatural drama involving a church.

FOX isn't the only channel to like one-word titles for their shows. The WB/CW put Smallville and Supernatural together on one night. ABC has Lost and last season had a show called Invasion. CBS also has had a ton of them and adds shows like Shark and Smith to its lineup next season. NBC, whose shows always seem to have long titles, had a one-word drama title in Surface and has a new one in its upcoming Heroes.

I guess networks like short titles because they are easy to remember. At the same time, though, unless a show really stands out, they can be confusing. You'd never confuse Lost with House but how many people are going to know what the difference is between Standoff and Justice? Both of them really sound like cop shows even though only one of them is.

What works best, in my opinion, is a title that is unique and really sums up the show. My Name Is Earl is a perfect title, for example. There are no other shows on TV that begin with “My Name Is.” The show is about Earl and he narrates it. That title made the show stand out from the beginning and its quality made it continue to do so. Maybe FOX should learn from that.

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