There are those on which we dance and those whose graphics we admire, those of which we are tired and those which immediately give us a smile. There are as many credits as there are series, and as many reactions as there are spectators. Whether we pay attention to them or not, these small works of art play a role in how we receive and remember the series they introduce. For its 2023 edition, the Series Mania festival puts them in the spotlight through a free exhibition, “Don’t skip”, at the Tripostal, in Lille until Friday March 24, 2023.
The curator of the exhibition, Olivier Joyard, is a series and cinema journalist at Les Inrockuptibles. He is also the director of the documentary “The Series Generics”, released in 2018 and available on myCanal. “I’ve been a series lover for a very long time, and yet I only asked myself the question of the importance of credits about ten years ago. When Netflix introduced the “skip the credits” button on its platform,” he recalls.
An artistic gateway to fiction
For Lola Landekic, the founder of the Art of the Title website – a reference in terms of credits – the introduction of this feature defends herself: “The credits are what welcome us to the series. The era of bingewatching (watching several episodes in a row, editor’s note) makes this function a bit obsolete, she explains. It’s a bit like if in the evening, the host greets you for the first time when you arrive – so far so good – and then comes back every 30 minutes to welcome you. We can do without. »
Still, the credits remain “a gateway to fiction”, describes Olivier Joyard. “It’s a bit like the cover of a book. It allows us to identify what imagination will unfold next, while leaving a large part of interpretation”, develops the journalist, who takes as an example the cult credits of The Sopranos, which is nothing more than a journey in Tony Soprano’s car from Manhattan to his family home. “It doesn’t say anything specific, except the obsession with everyday life. And that’s also what the series remind us of: the strength of recurrence, of continuity”, analyzes Olivier Joyard.
Mark the start of a recurring appointment
Marking the beginning of a regular meeting: this is the ancestral function of the series credits and what fundamentally differentiates them from that of a film. “It must become familiar, allow you to very quickly identify the content that will follow. This is the lasting point of the series”, explains the composer Loïk Dury, who worked on the credits of Dix pour cent and, more recently, of Greek Salad – the series by Cédric Klapisch presented at the opening of the Series Mania festival.
To compose the music for the credits of Dix pour cent, he and his partner Christophe Minck chose to bet on a familiar chord chart, “to put people at ease at the opening of the series, but quite invigorating and glamorous to show the atmosphere of the series”, explains Loïk Dury. By straining your ears, you can also find inspiration from other credits such as those, which have become cult, of Amicalement votres or Bowler hat and leather boots.
The credits, an emotional anchor
“The strength and the magic of a series credits is that it can revive very distant memories, which sometimes cause an urgent desire to watch everything again, analyzes Olivier Joyard. It’s a comforter effect. The reminiscence, in a few seconds, of the feeling one had while watching the series – sometimes decades earlier. »
The credits are an emotional anchor in a series. From Dallas, to Friends, to Game of Thrones or Charmed, it takes less than two notes and two images for some to immerse us in nostalgia.