“Comically selfish”

Harry Marks takes on John Siracusa and his recent comments about watching Netflix’s “House of Cards.”

  • I am with John on this. If you are going to release the whole season making watching back to back episodes you should rethink the way the credits work. Thankfully there is no “previously in HOC”

    • quietstorms

      I’d disagree. Good opening credits can be memorable and can even amp you up. How memorable was The Sopranos opening credits while playing “Woke Up This Morning”?

      I also think it’s a bad idea to watch shows like these back to back because it doesn’t allow you to contemplate the events and subtleties that just occurred in the episode. It’s like gulping down fine wine (or in Jim’s case Heineken) while never getting a chance to appreciate the quality.

      • I am not anti credits, what I said is they need to rethink it. I am all for putting you in the frame of the show, and a good credit roll can do that. (Don’t know about Soprano’s – never saw it).

        Some people like to watch as much as possible in one hit, some like to watch over a period of days/weeks.

        I just think they need something different for this new way of viewing. And I am certain it will come.

      • Mark Biswas

        Do you never read more than one chapter of a novel at a time?

        • quietstorms

          That wasn’t my point. My point was about the type of show, or in your case, the books you read.

          Would I read two chapters back to back of a Tom Clancy novel? Sure, depending on the chapter. Would I do the same in reading Dostoyevski’s ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ and read the following chapter to The Grand Inquisitor in the book? No.

          • Mark

            Interesting. For me, the “type” is irrelevant, it all comes down to how compelling the material is.

            I’ve devoured “heavy” shows like The Wire in weekends, and stretched out lighter shows over months.

        • Does a novel force you to read the dust jacket every time you open the book?

          Even if the whining about the credits at the beginning of every episode has any merit (it doesn’t), this is why everyone but particle physicists need to stay the Hell away from analogies.

      • kibbles

        loved the intro Sophranos. likewise for True Blood — woiuld never think to skip it. a small work of art in itself.

      • samdchuck

        Obviously Netflix doesn’t think it’s a bad idea to watch the show back-to-back, otherwise they wouldn’t have released the entire season at once.

        Goog credits can be memorable etc. but when you make a show and release it in a way to push people to watching it back-to-back then a 90 second intro (this is already comically long for an intro imo) is redundant and gets annoying quickly.

    • The really awesome thing is that there is this invention called the fast forward button. So, people who like opening credits can watch them, and those who don’t can skip them. In fact, some Netflix apps allow for scrubbing through little thumbnails so you can see precisely where th e credits end.

      The future is amazing.

      • rj

        Siracusa addresses this in his post.

    • you should rethink the way the credits work.

      Sure. Because the various guilds for actors, screen writers, producers, directors, gaffers, set designers, production managers would all just be on board with quite literally not being credited for their work.

      Make no mistake. rethink the way the credits work Is a repackaging of Siracusa’s whine and and can be accurately assumed to mean I don’t want to see credits anywhere any more!

      And this is Harry’s point: no matter how much changes for the better, the bitching remains. The fact that Siracusa makes that point somewhere else doesn’t change the fact that it’s time for some people to just STFU sometimes.

      A new TV show that is gathering a following is in a format that is available instantaneously with a subscription to Netflix and can be watched anytime of the day or night, which is for all intents and purposes and complete rethinking of TV content production and THIS STILL IS SOMEHOW NOT FUCKING GOOD ENOUGH!

      • First off, the opening credits only cover the regular cast and guest stars, the producers, creator, and the writer and director of the current episode. Everyone else goes to the end credits. This “we must dutifully sit through the opening credit sequence or we dishonor the boom operators, the boom operators, man!” nonsense is just that: nonsense.

        Second, there are many shows that handle opening credits differently than this — they integrate them with the actual opening shots of the episode. Look at “Castle,” or “Once Upon a Time,” or “The Closer” (now “Major Crimes”). This is, as they say in the business, a solved problem.

        Third, what the hell kind of “point” is “the bitching remains?” How do you and Harry know that? Because you “know Siracusa’s type,” right? Because somebody who doesn’t want to sit through credits is clearly someone who just wants everything for free? That’s pretty much the argument being made here. I’m sorry, but that’s the same logic as “people who take too many condiments at McDonald’s are the same kinds of people who shoplift.”

        • First off, the opening credits only cover the regular cast and guest stars,

          Second off, you are a pedant, and can bugger off…

          • Look, Sparky, if you’re going to go on a moral crusade about how selfish it is not to watch credits yet don’t know what’s actually IN the credits, it kind of calls your motives into question. If you don’t actually care about this issue and you just think it’s awesome that Marks went on a rant about entitled whiny hipsters, just say so. Hating hipsters is the new black. But let’s not pretend we’re actually engaging Siracusa’s real argument.

          • Spare me your continued insipid pedantry. The vacuity of the whining about the intolerable 90 second wait every hour (no skip buttons? No forward buttons? They may be festooned with strange hieroglyphics like “FFWD” or “>>”) doesn’t lessen because you’ve memorised the guild and union requirements for whom gets what credit when.

            If you don’t actually care about this issue

            That would be because, and maybe you should be sitting down…


            An “issue” might be no portable format. An “issue” might be accounts that get deleted accidently or on purpose by overzealous account managers. An “issue” would be getting censored or edited content when one paid for full programs.

            Not knowing what to do with oneself for 90 seconds isn’t an “issue” for anyone with a modicum of self awareness.

            Mayhap the “issue” is that digital format content doesn’t come with a free dose of Ritalin.

  • Does Harry Marks know who John Siracusa is? This the man who hosted a podcast with the line “nothing is so perfect that it cannot be complained about.” This is what Siracusa does. He’s Mr. Hypercritical.

    And if i hated the same 90 seconds of music chosen to run at the start of each show, and the scenery Marks things is so beautiful didn’t appeal to me, I think I too could find the opening credits annoying. In fact, I often skip over the opening credits on other shows I’ve purchased on iTunes. And those run for less than the 90 seconds Siracusa was complaining about here.

    I think it’s comically idiotic to “take on” someone over this.

  • I believe the credits are there because the production company has international resale rights and I would think that that (traditional television) base is much bigger potentially than the U.S. Netflix audience.

    • Mark

      This is also why they still shot the show in standard one-hour segments.

  • rj

    “How dare seasons of television cost anything more than [INSERT ARBITRARY NUMBER I REMOVED FROM MY RECTUM]”

    Irrelevant. Did Siracusa complain about the price?

    “At what point does this blatant selfishness turn into, “I hate this actor/these mushy love scenes/this director. If you remove all of that, I’ll be beating down your door to give you money, then complaining some more.”

    Hasn’t it always been that way? Some people don’t like Michael Bay’s style, and don’t watch his movies. Some people love/detest the Kardashians or Curb Your Enthusiasm or whatever. They watch the shows they want precisely because they have the content they want.

    “So, I’m going to finish this season of House of Cards and sit through every opening credits sequence because people worked hard to build it. Actors, directors, writers, producers, boom operators, lighting designers, and a host of other crew members worked their asses off to give us precisely what we asked for.”

    I haven’t seen HoC; are the “boom operators, lighting designers, and a host of other crew members” really in the opening credits? That would be atypical, to say the least.

    “Everyone else can write whiny blog posts on their MacBook Airs and iPads about the rough lives they lead. I have to go be a grown-up now.”

    Where “be a grown-up” means write crappy blog posts filled with irrelevance and straw-men.

  • Luke

    That would be more interesting and less moronic if Harry Marks didn’t completely mischaracterize some of the stuff John Siracusa wrote. For example, Siracusa wrote:

    “Question the assumptions of your business. Give people what they want and they will beat a path to your door.”

    Marks decided to paraphrase this as:

    “Give us what we want, when we want it, how we want it, and for the price we’re willing to pay for it and we’ll happily hand over our money for it.”

    …which is not at all what Siracusa wrote. What a jackassish way of making a point, Harry. How about this, let’s see how we can paraphrase Harry. Perhaps along the lines of this:

    “Oh, I’m Harry Marks, the valiant defender of huge corporations! Evil people like Siracusa are not allowed to complain about them! That makes them entitled and selfish!”

    • Jim

      Yup. John wanted the industry to embrace a sentiment. Harry reinterpreted John’s words to fit the selfish point of the article and blasted him for it.

  • I too am with John on this. It’s not about being whiny. Setting a high bar and demanding the best is what drives innovation. Credits on each episode worked well in the old model, but maybe it no longer makes sense to break up something in segments – and in addition, why shove them down your throat? I don’t have to listen to credits for each song when I play my favorite album. If I want to see the credits, I will make an effort to go read them. Personally I enjoy watching credits – I’m usually the last to leave a movie theater. But that is my choice, they are not presented to me in an annoying way. Harry either completely misunderstood John, or simply goes not get it.

    • “maybe it no longer makes sense to break up something in segments…”

      By that logic, why not make “House of Cards” one long show? Why bother even having separate episodes?

      Whining about 90 seconds of credits really is quite silly.

      • Luke

        Have you read John’s article? He’s writing about how innovation isn’t always about huge things, it can also be about tiny things. He mentions the credits as an example for this.

        He isn’t “whining about 90 seconds of credits”. He’s mentioning credits as a small detail that could be improved, and he’s doing that as part of a larger article that touches on many different things.

    • Setting a high bar and demanding the best is what drives innovation.

      That’s right, and the high bar here the quality of the programming, not the concerns fiddly twats whining about 12 “wasted” minutes in the course of an 8 hour stretch of video consumption.

      why shove them down your throat?

      It’s credits, for 90 seconds. It isn’t the Bataan Death March.Go get a gods damned sandwich FFS.

  • tylernol

    I agree 100% with Harry Marks. I would also add that if you are on a show-watching spree of House of Cards or whatever you have just discovered, get a life. Get your ass off the couch and do something outside, dont watch a season in a night.

  • Another example of Siracusa’s comical hyper-selfishness is the ridiculous number of ads on his site. Count em!

  • Nat5150

    “I love this argument – “Give us what we want, when we want it, how we want it, and for the price we’re willing to pay for it and we’ll happily hand over our money for it.”

    This doesn’t sound “comically selfish” – it is selfish.”

    Um, isn’t that kind of how a free market works? If it’s not what we want, how we want it or at a price we’re willing to pay for it, we’re a lot less likely to buy it.

    And if the only choice available doesn’t conform to our wants, we might hold our nose and deal with it but as soon as a better alternative comes along, so long.

    Sounds like Harry doesn’t fully understand how this works.

  • ort888

    Harry Marks is frequently excessivly harsh in his critisisms of fellow tech journalists. Here it’s almost as if he’s mocking Siracua for daring to take the time to have a thought on the subject… even though John presents his opinion in a reasonable and balanced way, including giving the opposing viewpoint and pointing out how “petty” his opinion is.

    It’s like if you bought a new pair of shoes, and said something like “Yeah, I really like these new Nikes, but I wish that green stripe on the bottom wasn’t there” and then your friend says something like “God, you know, there are people out there who can’t even afford shoes, and you’re complaining about a green stripe? What’s wrong with you.”

    What the hell does Harry Marks do? The exact same damn thing. He sits at his desk and bitches about trivial crap on the internet.

    • Harry Marks is frequently excessivly harsh in his critisisms of fellow tech journalists.


      • Agreed. More people should be “excessively harsh in criticisms of tech journalists”. Maybe then some would smarten up or even better, some might just STFU and go away.

  • I agree with those who support Siracusa’s point of view.

    • the idea that watching credits in order to “support” hard working people is absurd.

      The people who make their living from making content of any kind think you are an asshole.

  • Harry Marks has it totally wrong. When I buy a DVD series, I (foolishly) expect certain things:

    • I bought this with my cash and didn’t steal it, so stop pestering me with Piracy commercials – why are you scumbags treating me like a criminal?

    • Also, don’t be telling me what I can and can’t do with the remote control. The reason that I want to whizz through the trailers and bullshit that you pack into the DVD that I bought is because I’m not in the slightest bit interested… so let me skip that shit (I’m paying for this content, don’t disrespect my choice to fast-forward).

    • I could not care less (if I tried) to give a flying shit about who the producer is and I don’t want to see your stupid animated logo two or three times before I can view the show.

    • I don’t mind seeing the credits ONCE in the entire series/DVD. Anything more than that shows that you didn’t make a series DVD but strung the individual programmes together in a lazy way.

    • Only the actors and parents/friends of the actors want to see their name scroll past for every episode.

    • Like a book, why not have a section of the DVD with all the credits, trailers, names of the production companies etc., in it so that if you really want to know, you can look that shit up.

    • DVDs, once loaded into your player, should go straight to the contents listing, so that you can choose which episode to play and get straight into it (no credits etc., that should only be on the first episode of the series).

    All of the crap that production companies, distributors etc., put in the DVD only serves to totally piss me off with your brand. Before watch the DVD, I was totally indifferent to you; now, I cannot stand your company/organization, brand, logo and scumbags that decide that I have to endure non-value-adding crap on the product that I bought.

    Nice work arseholes!