The small screen just keeps getting more cinematic, with huge stars like Halle Berry switching their allegiance from blockbusters to binge-worthy episodics. The prestige doesn’t stop with the marquee casts— this season’s crop of new TV shows opens with some magnificent and iconic imagery. We’re batty for the intros to Gotham, How To Get Away with Murder and these eight other visual stunners, presented in alphabetical order.
Be sure to check out Paste’s five shows not to miss in September.
A to Z, premiering Oct. 2 at 9:30 p.m. on NBC (and available to stream online now)
A to Z
This “comprehensive account” of the meet-cute between lovelorn Andrew (Ben Feldman) and love-averse Zelda (Cristin Milioti) is as modern and quirky as can be. A stencil alphabet acts like an advent calendar, flapping to reveal the bold cerulean and red of 3-D glasses. Maybe it’s a sign this rom-com will be more multidimensional than most? And extra kudos for the mod silhouettes and midcentury color contrasts on top of Katey Sagal’s fairy godmother narration.
The Flash, premiering Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. on the CW
They’re downplaying the distinctive lightning bolt of yore—probably because Sheldon Cooper over on CBS’s Big Bang Theory wears its likeness so much. The teen-oriented network goes for a sleeker, sexier approach, making the logo look like Iron Man’s squire. The upward bending, capped and golden font resembles a heaven-bound airline emblem. They’re focusing less on the speedy definition of Flash and more on the razzle-dazzle term.
Gotham, premiering Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. on FOX
Stark and faithful to the Batman brand, this prequel series, focusing on the future Commissioner Gordon (Ben McKenzie), revels in darkness. Its title card takes cues from the bleaker interpretations of the Dark Knight, such as Frank Miller’s art and the Arkham Asylum video game. There is also a surprising softness to the filters, like some steampunk fever dream. (Is that a Bat Dirigible flying around the skyline?)
Happyland, premiering Sept. 30 at 11 p.m. on MTV
The slight droop of the lettering and the orange background has just the right amount of skew for this fun-park dramedy. Production Designer Stefan Gesek has been around the MTV scene for a while, pitching in at Awkward and The Hard Times of RJ Berger. He and his puckish cohorts are right at home with the seemingly saccharine front that ultimately reveals corrosive goings-on at the family theme park.
How To Get Away with Murder, premiering Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. on ABC
How To Get Away With Murder
Dial “M” for marvelous. Omnipotent producer Shonda Rhimes rolls out the red carpet for her latest creation, which stars Viola Davis as a sneering professor of bloody criminology. The logo is villainous and lush, combining Rhimes’ passions for the melodramatic and the lusty. The harlequin white-and-red scrawl on the blackboard is downright sumptuous. Rhimes’ oeuvre just got itself another pulpy winner.
Intruders, Saturdays at 10 p.m. on BBC America
Miss The X-Files? Were you especially stoked for its paranormal opening sequence and jarring music? Intruders might just have what you’re looking for. Its gothic iconography, apocalyptic drudgery and lamenting evanescence of human flesh are guaranteed to give you the willies. What’s not shocking is that this surrealistic series is executive produced by Glen Morgan of (ta-da!) X-Files fame. He hasn’t lost his touch.
Manhattan Love Story, premiering Sept. 30 at 8:30 p.m. on ABC
Manhattan Love Story
Rivaling A to Z in its adorable factor, this love story evokes the childlike glee of a new relationship. Its main banner is the New York skyline on chalkboard (is that ABC’s go-to graphic slate this season?) with a teensy little heart. It’s charming, just like the neurotic inner monologues of fashionable pixie Dana (Analeigh Tipton) and brutish Peter (Jake McDorman).
Scorpion, premiering Sept. 22 at 9 p.m. on CBS
The beauty of this show’s insignia is how vague it is. Glancing at the menacing stinger and the vermillion Lucinda Console-ish text, one might think this would be a Denzel Washington film or an Atari Teenage Riot album cover. In reality, Scorpion is a fast-paced procedural where the heroes are actually brainiac geeks. Backslash awesome!
Stalker, premiering Oct. 1 at 10 p.m. on CBS
Sure, CBS is up to its neck in primetime crime tomes. But this one sets itself ahead of the pack with its graphic homage to The Twilight Zone and the late great Alfred Hitchcock. The giant black-and-white eyeball serves as a backdrop to a creaking-open door and the severed show title. It’s unsettling and brash, much like creator Kevin Williamson’s Scream flicks.
Z Nation, premiering Sept. 12 at 10 p.m. on Syfy
The Sharknado guys have come onto dry land for this zombie farce starring Harold Perrineau (Lost). The cartoonish, bloodstained credits carry on the b-movie legacy of Asylum productions—but they also suggest the show will be a lot more fun than The Walking Dead. Emaciated limbs grasp for the title, enticing viewers to stick around beyond the kitsch factor.