Theme Songs of Life

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by Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)

Television  is such an integral part of our lives. I remember, when I was growing  up, how excited I would get when I heard the title theme to my favorite  shows and cartoons. Looking back on a lot of those shows now, I’m a  little embarrassed to say that I ever liked them, but the thing that  hasn’t changed is how much I still love the theme songs from all of  these shows.

In considering  what makes good television today, there are innumerable components,  which we could all point to as the reason a particular show is so good: writing, acting, subject matter,  and so forth. I may be the only one this happens to, but I just can’t  get into a show unless the theme song is good, or at least somewhat  decent. It’s critical. When you hear that music, you instantly know  what’s coming, and you’re immediately in the mood. It may sound odd,  but I’ve been known to give a show more than a sporting chance, even  if it’s bad, as long as the theme song is solid.

So, I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my favorite  TV theme songs, and get you all to share yours. I narrowed my list down  to ten, but it was a difficult selection process.

10. Hardcastle and McCormick. I watched the show, thought it was good and  all, but man, with that theme song, it could’ve been about kitten card  sharks and I wouldn’t’ve cared. (I should probably add some context  here: I’m not a big fan of cats, except for the big ones that can swallow  me whole).

9. The Rockford Files. The original series. I’ve heard tale that they’re  rebooting the show. The original one from the ’70s is pretty solid television,  even if the hairstyles aren’t.

8. Red Dwarf. For years, I watched Red Dwarf and couldn’t decipher the lyrics to the theme  song. After learning the words, I’m still unsure what the hell they  actually mean. But that doesn’t stop me from loving this song and the  show it introduces.

7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Maybe it was the time in my life. Maybe it was  my unhealthy fascination with the undead and those who slay them. Regardless,  it is immediately recognizable from the song.

6. Friends. Yes, I fell victim to the weird black hole that  was 90’s pop music, and thought The Rembrandts rocked verily. I’m a  bit embarrassed about that now, at least until an episode of Friends comes on, and that song gets stuck in my head,  and I can’t help but sing it. (clap*clap*clap*clap)

5. The Big Bang Theory. As I understand it, originally, the theme song  was supposed to be “She Blinded Me with Science” by Thomas  Dolby. The change to Barenaked Ladies was a stroke of genius.  This is  one of those theme songs that perfectly sums up the premise of the show:  it’s going to involve science, fun, and quite a bit of neuroses.

4. Phineas and Ferb. Mom! Kevin’s making another top ten list! …’Nuff  said.

3. Chuck. To borrow from my favorite four-legged, talking  donkey, “Everybody loves Cake!”

2. Mickey Mouse Club. Though I’m too young to have watched the original  run of the show, over the years I’ve developed a love of that tune.  Perhaps it’s a longing for innocence, perhaps it’s just a good old fashioned  obsession. I don’t really know. I do, however, love that song.

1. Firefly. To my mind, there is no better theme song in  existence.  “Burn the land and boil the sea. You can’t take the  sky from me.” This song is in regular rotation in my iTunes playlist.  I know when I hear this song that the hour that follows will be some  of the best storytelling that has ever graced the screen. Thank you,  Joss Whedon and Sonny Rhodes!

So, there you have my top ten favorite TV theme songs. I know there  are dozens of others that I’ve forgotten. I’d like to see some of yours,  so leave them in the comments.


    21 Comments

  1. TomJanuary 23rd, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Cowboy Bebop’s Tank! is by far my favorite (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6jCJZEFIto).

  2. maryJanuary 23rd, 2013 at 11:22 am

    wow, so many to choose from. FRIENDS and Phinneas and Ferb are two I will borrow from you.

    Let’s see…

    NCIS
    JAG
    Dallas- I wasn’t allowed to watch because i was like 9, but my mom let me listen to the intro because i loved the drums.
    Simon and Simon
    Great American Hero-Believe It or Not
    Airwolf
    Fresh Prince
    Lavern and Shirley- “we’re gonna make it”
    Cheers

  3. maryJanuary 23rd, 2013 at 11:23 am

    oh and of course, how could i forget CHUCK!! it’s my ringtone!

  4. GloriaJanuary 23rd, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    My favourites are:
    Chuck
    Fresh Prince of Bel Air
    Friends
    One Tree Hill
    Smallville
    Covert Affairs
    Saved by the Bell
    True Blood (I don’t watch it, but I like the theme song)
    The Simpsons
    Two and a Half Man

    It’s not in the right order.

  5. KatJanuary 23rd, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Castle
    Chuck
    X-Files
    Stargate SG-1
    Rizzoli and Isles
    Firefly
    Deadzone
    Farscape (the first two years)
    ST:TNG
    ST:TOS

  6. RaniyeJanuary 23rd, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    My favorites are:
    – NCIS: Los Angeles
    – Doctor Who
    – Sherlock
    – Dexter
    – Game of Thrones
    – Psych: gosh that is a catchy tune!
    – Prison Break
    – Hawaii Five-0
    – Californication
    – Lie To Me

    Sometimes I didn’t like the show that much but the tune did make me want to watch it to the end! 🙂

  7. NatalieJanuary 23rd, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    dude. X-Files. hands down.

  8. Michele SinopoliJanuary 23rd, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Several themes songs are my favorite if I could remember. Three’s Company John Ritter had a great sense of humor and my favorite actor before Zachary (shh don’t tell him that hehe), Golden Girls, Friends, Cheers – Everybody knows your name, Castle, A-Team sound like the 80s, Night Court and CHUCK I like that sound of the bass and guitar. There’re more themes shows I enjoyed also.

  9. ShawnJanuary 23rd, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I would only add “The A-Team”… One of the greatest theme songs ever in my opinion… Just behind Chuck and Psych.

  10. BarbaraJanuary 23rd, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Wow, yesss Firefly theme song is perfect. I got goose bumps just by remembering it just now.
    The only one I would add is Veronica Mars!!

  11. MarkJanuary 23rd, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    How can Knight Rider not make the list?

  12. JeanneJanuary 24th, 2013 at 4:07 am

    THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO. theme song. thats A Good one.

  13. darth martyJanuary 24th, 2013 at 11:08 am

    I would have to add the A team its a classic also any of the csi themes you gotta love the who & danger mouse not only because it’s a great theme but also brings back happy memories.

  14. Michele SinopoliJanuary 24th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Oh right Knight Rider I forgot all about it.

  15. SylviaJanuary 24th, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    The Twilight Zone and The Green Hornet! How come nobody has mentioned those?

  16. JeanneJanuary 25th, 2013 at 4:00 am

    Night Rider I like that one to.

  17. Michele SinopoliJanuary 25th, 2013 at 9:24 am

    One more thing Miami Vice That is a catchy tune and very Florida style.

  18. JuarhelaJanuary 25th, 2013 at 11:15 am

    You’ve forgotten every Disney cartoon theme song from the late 80s – 90s.
    Ducktales,
    Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers,
    Darkwing Duck, Talespin, Goof Troop

    Also Animaniacs, CyberSix, and Where in The World is Carmen Sandiego….

    You know, just make a list for cartoons, will ya? LOL 🙂

  19. JuarhelaJanuary 25th, 2013 at 11:19 am

    For non-animated shows: I agree with most of your choices, but I have to throw these in:

    Songs with Lyrics:
    – Gilligan’s Island
    – Growing Pains

    Instrumentals:
    – The X-Files
    – MacGyver
    – Quantum Leap
    – Early Edition
    – The Young And the Restless

    I’m basically picking all the instrumental ones that I was ever driven to learn on piano – the music was gorgeous!

  20. TimFebruary 6th, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Ok…I’m a bit older but here goes….
    1. Lassie(my parents had to turn it off because I’d start crying);
    2. F-troop…goofy and fun.
    3. Perry Mason
    4. Ironsides (gotta love Raymond Burr)
    5. Rockford Files
    6. Firefly (fantastic lyrics)
    7. Chuck ( for reasons outlined already)
    8. Beverley Hillbillies
    9. Miami Vice
    10. JAG

  21. mocanu andraJuly 26th, 2014 at 3:15 am

    1.Chuck
    2.Dexter
    3.Game of thrones
    4.True blood
    5.The A-Team
    These are the ones I like the most. They sound good,and sometimes I turn the TV louder just to hear them! By the way, folks, you have great tastes on this kind of music!

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