TV themes. Which is your favorite, and which makes you crazy enough to hit mute on the remote?
What makes a good TV theme? I believe that a good TV theme will either excite or inform, and a great one will accomplish both.
Excitement is easy to explain. Nowadays it is common to have an abbreviated opening sequence that is little more than a fanfare and a title card. I understand why it happens, of course. Networks want to squeeze in more advertisers per hour. But an opening sequence can do so much more than identify a show and pay tribute to its stars. It should fill viewers with excitement for the hour that is to come, should ready them for the dramatic and or comedic experience that awaits them. But it should take care not to outrageously oversell the show in the way that I’ve just oversold this very concept. Speaking of overselling, here’s the theme to “Cowboy Bebop,” which promises things I don’t even know but must see.
As for informing the viewer, a theme will usually communicate the mood of a show through music. Is it happy and carefree? Is it martial and heroic? Is it quirky and eccentric? However, sometimes a theme will also convey facts about the characters and setting through song. A good example of this is “Pinky and the Brain.”
As for a favorite theme of all time, that’s a rather difficult decision to make. I’d probably end up choosing the winner based on what show it came from rather than how well it excited and informed, let alone how musically strong it might be. But if I had to pick only one, I’d choose the 2005 “Doctor Who” theme. Yes, I know that it doesn’t even explain what the show’s about. But to those who do know the show, it is the signal that your weekly dose of sci-fi escapism is about to begin.
Now, a very easy decision to make is which theme drives me crazy enough to shut off the TV. And it’s not even the theme to “Star Trek: Enterprise,” which is toward the top of the list. I’m not saying that it’s a bad song, but I always felt that genre of music (which I don’t particularly care for) wasn’t entirely appropriate.
No, the worst theme song is the song that the Enterprise theme morphs into once it’s been bouncing around my brain for a few verses, and that is the theme from “Full House.”
Since I don’t want to subject you to such torment, much less experience it myself in just looking for a clip, I’m not going to include it.