Disney Plus, I hate your damn Skip Intro feature, and I wish I could stop its annoying, bright, immersion-breaking icon from popping up at the start of every show. It’s assaulting my eyes every week when I sit down to watch Andor, and I wish there was a way of disabling it. Please, and thank you.
The Skip Intro button isn’t new, of course. The feature has been available on Netflix for years and in Disney Plus since its launch in 2019. But its appearance at the start of each episode of Disney’s latest Star Wars TV show is grating on me in a way that it hasn’t with others.
Part of it has to do with how prestige-y (sorry) Andor feels. This isn’t She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’s comedic riff on legal dramas or WandaVision’s love letter to the American sitcom. For me, Andor is a “curtains closed, lights off, speakers cranked, phone on Do Not Disturb” experience. I want to give my full attention to it each week without worrying about shaving a single minute off its runtime.
It’s okay if you skip the intro, but I want out
And yes, it really is just a minute. Between the Lucasfilm logo, the Star Wars stinger, and the reveal of the Andor logo, you’re looking at almost exactly 60 seconds of introduction before you get into the show proper. It’s barely enough to warrant leaning forward to pick up a TV remote.
That’s if the Skip Intro feature actually did what it claims to do, but in the case of Andor, it... doesn’t. Hitting the button doesn’t actually skip all three of the show’s intro clips; it only skips the Lucasfilm and Star Wars title cards, and you still have to watch Andor’s logo steadily fade into view. So no one wins. If you’re like me and want total immersion, you get annoyed by a silly button, and if you want to skip the intro, then you don’t get to skip the intro.
Arguments about functionality aside, what I object to most about the way Disney Plus’ Skip Intro appears in Andor is its design. While Netflix’s take on the button appears in a subtle-ish gray box on the bottom right of the screen, Disney Plus’ is eye-searingly white and stands out in stark contrast to the blackness of Andor’s opening title cards. I don’t have the equipment required to measure the exact brightness in nits of the icon on my (ahem) Dolby Vision HDR-equipped LG C1 OLED, but to my eye, it looks roughly in the region of… oooh, I’d say… the burning intensity of a thousand suns?
That wouldn’t necessarily be the worst thing in the world, except every week, the damn icon appears just after I’ve spent a couple minutes making my flat as dark as possible for my “peak TV” watching experience. But then that button pops up. You know, in the cinema, when the lights go down but then there are a couple of mildly annoying flashes of light as people turn off their smartphones*? It’s like that, except the bright light is shining at you directly from your HDR TV with all the grace and decorum of a reversing dump truck. I come to you for immersion Disney, and you offer me convenience?! Please.
I come to Star Wars for immersion, not convenience
To be clear, I’m not saying that skip features like this should disappear entirely or that you’re a bad person if you use it. There are plenty of TV intros that are worth skipping. As The Guardian’s Stuart Heritage argued in 2017, most TV show intros are: a) too damn long, b) too damn pretentious, and c) too damn boring. For every fantastic intro sequence in the vein of Game of Thrones or Succession, there are Westworld or Star Trek: Discovery’s absolute snoozefests. As Heritage argues:
“The intro to Star Trek: Discovery, for instance, is as toweringly self-important as anything since the first series of The Leftovers. It is a monument to codswallop, dripping with references to the Renaissance up to and including Michelangelo’s fresco of The Creation of Adam, set to the sort of ambient chiming they play in tall lifts to stop people from freaking out.”
So, yes, Skip Intro has a place in the modern streaming service. So, too, does the complementary “Skip Recap” button, which I will happily admit to making gratuitous use of when watching most shows, including Andor. Unless you’re coming back to the series after a long break, I think most recaps are too long, repetitive, and at times serve as minor spoilers by highlighting which previous plot points are going to be relevant to this episode. Recap skipping is fine (though, again, turn down the brightness of the icon, would you, Disney?).
If you want to skip the preamble at the beginning of a television episode, then I won’t stop you. But please, Disney CEO Bob Chapek, if you’re reading this, please give the rest of us a way to opt out of having to see those bright little bastard icons. Ideally on a show-by-show basis, but I won’t say no to being able to turn them off entirely. Andor slaps, and I want to watch it with as few distractions as possible.
*Which, to be clear, is a very good thing. Please continue to turn off your smartphone in the movie theatre. Cheers.