Might not keep me around if you change the name of your show ya know. Just look at Aqua Teen Hunger Force. A Show I absolutely love. So it’s hard to justify this opinion here with like me making assumptions on changes in narrative structure. Just the series was what it was ya know? Then suddenly years after it came out, infact almost a decade later, it not only changes it’s opening theme drastically, it changed it’s name, it changed the art used in commercials, it changed everything on the outside. So I straight up turned it off.
A year or so goes by and I check back. They made another massive change, but I stick it out to be pleasantly surprised the show was largely the same. Just I had no way of knowing it was just one of those dull episodes ATHF had every now and then. The whole experience left me soured on the series as a whole. Believe it or not they kept that up like for 5 times. Eventually I got over it and just wanted to finish the series. Something that made me unreasonably upset here was that the show stayed great. I removed years of enjoyment because of this artistic vision? Commercial rebranding? I honestly have no clue. I mean we all know that none of these articles do anything close to research so I’ll probably never know why they went with Aqua TV Show: Show.
Let’s be real here. Aqua Teen Hunger Force is also a terrible name. It’s theme song was like 90s street rap, a genre I don’t particularly enjoy. Nothing against it, but when you have access to M.C. Chris, you should use him. Still I had no reason to give it a shot before so why would a change make me stop? If anything I want to say it could be I was afraid of a tonal shift like what tends to happen in sequel series. Naruto to Naruto Shippuden, Dragon Ball to Dragon Ball Z, or Star Trek to The Next Generation are some big examples. Only those examples have massive amounts of time between them. Also they were shows. If you watched Aqua Teen before you’d understand it was more like an animated comic strip. With a nebulous contenuity that only applies when they feel like it. Hell I’d like to say I know better by now. I’m even writing an article on it after all. But I don’t.
Then we have the terrifying : title changes like Scrubs:Interns. When the show changed so much I only hung around for a few characters. Yet that title tricked me. Since well the show always had interns in it. Just they shifted focus to the new crew. It’s not like I was against the new doctors, or the change in direction even. Just somehow they tore down and rebuilt the whole hospital and put a college up around it in like 6 months. Sure why not? It’s like that is super jarring to see when shotgunning the show. Still I suppose it’s less jarring then when a show is a sequel in name only. SiNO series are always made more painfully apparent when they try to shoehorn in the original.
That’s right I’m talkin’ about you Power Rangers. Because here we can’t even blame it on the American localization. Though they really pushed harder for a shared contenuity in the states. All to often several different series would be chopped up to make American show, often with hilariously low quality edits with inconsistent screen ratio shot to shot. So honestly you can’t blame me for expecting a show to be massively different with a title change.
Then we have reboots which get such creative titles as Robocop (2014) or just “ya know, the bad one” kinda counts as a title change. Again with drastically different tones to the shows. So I just can’t fathom any reason for this kind of massive rebranding for no reason than you have a new theme song? Which hey great, use it bud more power to ya. Just maybe don’t change the show’s title on my DVR. Which to our younger readers is a do it yourself Netflix box that records shows on the TV to a dedicated hard drive. It went off the show title and if it was new or not. Kinda a dick move to just change that. Unless they thought I some how knew. Just see I ain’t no sucker now. I never watched any commercials since I got that thing. So if they were trying to punish me for not watching their ads well that’s to bad for them. On account I stopped supporting their show. I didn’t buy the DVDs, watch it on Hulu, or buy their PS2 game neither. I just ya know, happened to find a bunch of them that fell off a truck on the internet. Messing around with the title is serious business. It’s not just this one time ya know. One of my favorite games as a kid was Legacy of the Wizard for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Not only was it not the first game in it’s series, it was the 4th, it’s got 54 other games in it’s franchise.
A fair amount of these even came out, hell still are coming out, in America. Just with completely unrelated titles. Xanadu and The Legend of Heroes to be exact. Easy enough right? Just track those games down and you’ll be good. Only no, Xanadu came out as Faxanadu. The only title dumber than Xanadu and guaranteed to keep me away from it. See the first bite is with the eye. Boxart and title means everything when trying to land an impulse buy. No way little Haro thumbing through the old used games was going to grab this.
It sounds like if Abba made a video game. Sure if you take away two letters you get a game that makes me think of Rush. Now that is a title I’d play. Just two little letters is all it takes to start and shift my opinions. Dragon Warrior is one of my favorite game franchises. It was the American name for Dragon Quest. Was being the operative term. They swapped over to just calling it Dragon Quest in the states as well. Ever since then I haven’t been as excited for upcoming releases. Sure I play them still. I pick up every other game or so, just the pull isn’t there. I think far to often we try to downplay how much emphasis we put on titles. We all like to pretend it doesn’t matter as much as the game or show itself. Just if that’s the case how do you select which title to watch on Netflix? What do you use to decide on which games to check on Steam? Sure you might say the thumbnail or whatever art they have presented along side it. But ya know more often than not, that art is just a fancy version of the title. So stop pretending it doesn’t matter. Start calling out stupid names and let companies know they need to do better. Oh and don’t get me started on fancy art house names. Indie films have done enough damage to the world of entertainment as is, we have more than enough games with rejected Star Trek episode titles for names already. Things like “All Tomorrows Yesterday” or “The House in Early Late Summer” look man, you might think you’re cool, but only to a certain type of peoples. It’s just fake intelligent dialogue. Something extremely poetic but says absolutely nothing. Sure not every movie needs to use the premise as the title. Just when they do it’s something special. That moment of discovery when you realize it’s not the mine they were fighting over, but instead the fact that his enemy became his friend, no his family.
I could drone on and on about franchise titles. Who knows maybe that could be it’s own thing down the road. Until then though trust your instincts, if a title is bad the show will probably stink too.