Theme Songs of Life
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.