by Andrew Thomas
“It just sort of introduces the idea that you’re in for something pretty idiotic.” – Larry David
I love food. I love eating it. I love making it. I love talking about it. I love hearing people talk about it. I even love watching people make it on competition based television shows. Unfortunately, those shows by nature must leave out one of my favorite elements of food: the smell. When you enter a restaurant owned by a knowledgeable chef, you’ll notice the immediate presence of a powerful, distinct and pleasing aroma. It heightens the anticipation. It lets you know the type of food is on the way. It focuses your senses on the tastes and textures to come.
A good theme song is the television equivalent to a tantalizing aroma before a delicious meal. It whets your appetite for the rest of the show. The tone of the song will let you know if the show will be light, dark, comedic, dramatic, intense, intelligent, unconventional, or any number of things. When you hear the twanging guitars and mournful fiddle of Deadwood’s Opening Sequence, you know you’re not in for a buddy cop comedy. When you hear The Barenaked Ladies prattle off a Brief History of The Universe, you know you’re not watching a show about a rape lawyer.
But that’s just what a good TV Theme song does. I’m here to discuss the greats. The theme songs that do a little something extra. They don’t just inform the viewer about what to expect. They don’t just heighten your anticipation. A great theme song actually enhances the show itself. These are the theme songs that, even while you’re marathoning them on DVD, you refuse to fast forward through the credits. They thrust you into the world of the show, giving you a taste of what it might feel like to be one of those characters. As a kid, who didn’t feel that way about the incredible Muppet Show Theme Song?
So with that, I present to you my mixtape: Great TV Theme Songs. I chose mostly from the most recent decade of TV, in part because that’s the era of TV with which I’m most familiar, and in part because truly great theme songs are getting more and more rare, in favor of quick 10 second theme “stings” and I wanted to show that interesting things were still being done.
TV Themes by Throp5
Some theme songs have been so successful that they even far outlive the shows that they introduced. Most people could hum for you the intro tune for Hawaii Five-O, but how many can tell you the name of the main villain of the show for 12 seasons?
Andrew Thomas retired from a career in blog writing after a spirited six weeks. He currently aspires to write for television, also known as a “Moving Blog”.