The best recent TV show titles

Shots from Gossip Girls, Mad Men and Desperate Housewives (Handouts)

Shots from Gossip Girls, Mad Men and Desperate Housewives (Handouts)

BILL HARRIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:30 PM ET

What a great name for a show.

Gossip Girl begins its sixth and final season Monday on CW and MuchMusic. That got me thinking about the art of coming up with names for shows that are, in equal parts, appropriate, catchy and memorable.

So without dipping too far into history, here are a half-dozen recent shows that strike me as having particularly good titles. I welcome your suggestions, too.

Keep in mind, the idea is to recognize the quality of the title, not necessarily the quality of the show itself.

GOSSIP GIRL

As mentioned earlier, this is a particularly good one, rolling off the tongue so attractively. Speaking of attractive, there never has been a lack of opportunity in this series to gaze at the likes of Blake Lively and Leighton Meester. But the title always has made it instantly recognizable, perhaps contributing to the extended run long past the point of the title having any literal application to the events depicted.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES

This is one of the best names for a show in the history of television. Over time, most of the original characters got divorced and remarried, and maybe even divorced and remarried again. But like Gossip Girl, Desperate Housewives achieved instant notoriety because of its name. It was a friend to entertainment headline writers for eight seasons.

MAD MEN

A great double meaning, with the "mad" referring to Madison Avenue and the extreme behaviour exhibited by some of the characters. Of course, non-stop smoking and drinking wasn't considered extreme behaviour in the 1960s, so the title actually is more relevant with the benefit of hindsight than it would have been back then.

SONS OF ANARCHY

A wonderful name for a motorcycle gang, invoking deep feelings of both family loyalty and fear, suggesting that the members are capable of just about anything. In its heyday some people considered this to be the best show on television. I've always found it a bit bleak, not in terms of the drama, but rather the world-view it presents. Nonetheless, I know a good title when I hear one.

SUBURGATORY

Sometimes these types of made-up words try so hard to be clever that they just wind up being annoying. But this one works for me, for some reason. It's cute, much like the actual show, not to mention its star, Jane Levy.

TWO AND A HALF MEN

OK, go ahead and laugh. But think about it. If Two and a Half Men had been titled, say, Charlie and Alan (or Walden and Alan, starting last season), might it have been somewhat less successful than it ultimately became? The series has begun its 10th season. That's two and a half times four, for those who are counting.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

 


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