What television themes get your toes tappin’? Do you find some worming their way into your head and never leaving? What makes a good TV intro? Zap2it has rounded up our favorite TV theme songs.
On the air: The show may be getting a little stale, but “CSI’s” “Who Are You,” with the evocative crime scene and blood spatter images, has always been a favorite. And “The Simpsons” and “The Office” themes may be my favorite instrumental TV pieces of all time.
Off the air: There are too many. I am not kidding when I say I have a CD full of TV themes, from classic classics like “The Andy Griffith Show” and “The Beverly Hillbillies” to ’70s and ’80s classics like “The Addams Family,” “Perfect Strangers” and “Growing Pains” to ’90s classics like “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Roundhouse” to modern classics like “The West Wing.” But if I was forced to pick just one, I’d have to go with “Happy Days.” It’s bouncy, catchy and indicative of a time when people were nostalgic for the idealized ’50s.
Off the air: Instrumental: Gotta love “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to get your blood pumping, but old-school you can’t beat “L.A. Law” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Lyrics: Seeing my geeky and Nick at Nite sides — “Malcolm in the Middle,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Mary Tyler Moore,” “Silver Spoons,” “Cheers,” the original Jeremy Piven “Cupid.” Cartoons: “Transformers,” “G.I. Joe” and “Jem” (truly outrageous!).
On the air: Instrumental: “Dexter” evokes those images even with your eyes closed. Moody “House,” “Bones” and “Mad Men.” I turn to “30 Rock” and “Futurama” for upbeat fun. Lyrics: “True Blood” (of course). Cartoons: “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Peppa Pig” (Snort!)
Off the air: Time will tell if the new “Hawaii Five-0” has anywhere near the legs of its predecessor, but at least the new show had the sense not to mess with perhaps the most recognziable theme in TV history. HBO shows consistently have great opening credit sequences, but “Deadwood” is probably the most underrated, and its fiddle-based theme music is fantastic. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” had a great theme song, but you know what? So did its spinoff “Angel” — it was a great match with the tone of the show. “Mad About You” may have run off the rails some in its later seasons, but its jazzy, romantic theme song was strong throughout.
On the air: The Von Bondies song at the beginning of “Rescue Me” never fails to get me excited to watch the show, even if it’s in a run of rough episodes. “Parks and Recreation” has a fine theme song — but crossing it with “Star Wars” raises it to the level of genius. I didn’t much care for HBO’s “How to Make It in America” — except for the opening credits, set to Aloe Blacc’s awesome “I Need a Dollar.” No current theme song induces a Pavlovian response in me the way that the haunting opening for “Friday Night Lights” does — sometimes I’m tearing up even before the story really kicks in.
On the air: My current favorite theme song is pretty low profile — “Life Unexpected’s” title music is “Beautiful Tree” by Rain Perry. As soon as I heard it, I had to have it on my iPod. Its earthy singer/songwriter vibe fits perfectly with the quirky, comfy feeling of the show.
Off the air: As for theme songs of dearly departed shows… my inner 13-year-old would hate me if I didn’t mention “Dawson’s Creek.” Sure, Paula Cole’s song about a war vet with PTSD didn’t exactly make any sense in the context of the show, but logic was never really in play in Capeside, anyway. I also loved “Felicity’s” themes – both the nonsensical “ooaaahooo” version and J. J. Abrams’ “new wallpaper” version that followed. Memories, memories…
And just because it’s so fitting for our post …
What are some of your favorite TV themes of all time?
credit: ABC, FOX