What’s in a name?

It must be hard to come up titles for TV shows. Keeping things short and sweet can sometimes lead to memorable monikers (House, Lost, The Sopranos), but can also trap you into being bland and boring (The Court, The Boys). Putting a character’s name in the title can attract viewers (Seinfeld) or drive them away (Szysznyk).

The best titles, in my opinion, are on the short side but still manage to sound a little different from everything else out there. Even if you’ve never seen Desperate Housewives or Six Feet Under, I bet you recognize the names and even have a sense of what they’re about. Which is not to say that a name makes all the difference; forced to choose between a more interesting name and a more interesting show, I think most viewers would pick the show. Happy Days, for instance, could be about anything. The Fonz and Friends would be a more accurate name, but somehow it just wouldn’t work as well.

In any case, it probably doesn’t pay to get too specific. Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills, after all, lasted only one season.

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