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Dumb Topic: Best and Worst TV Themes

It's a topic I just discussed with a friend, so now it's a topic I am going to force onto you.


The be-all end-all grandpappy of perfect show intros for me is the original....

I don't even really like the show or that musician all that much, but the synergy they form is so completely that point in time that I love it.

Runners up:

The Most Exciting Theme Song Ever

The Most INTENSE Theme Music For A Show I Know Nothing About:

The Best Game Show Music:

Honorable Mention: Most of the exciting action TV show themes in the Macgyver / Knight Rider / A-Team spectrum, What's Happenin', 321 Contact


I am going to skip Friends because I hope we can all agree that theme is terrible. Instead I will lead with shows that I LOVE that have theme songs I dislike:






  • I see where you're coming from, but this is the best: 

  • Catchiest theme song I can't understand the words to:

    WARNING: Serious Ear Worm

  • Some favorites:

    I feel like this one is cheating. Was it even written for the show? Oh well. It was the first thing I thought of when I saw the topic. 

    Specifically season 1-3. They changed something starting in season four that I'm not musically sophisticated enough to identify other than to say that it feels jarring to me. But I love this version so much I bought the season 1 soundtrack album so I could use the season 1-3 theme as my alarm so I can pretend I have to get up and EXPLORE SPACE instead of get up and defend an insurance company. 

    When I was on maternity leave and feeding a Very Hungry Newborn for 40 minutes of every hour, I decided I needed something to occupy my sleep deprived mind and since I had never seen Law and Order and there was a decent chunk of it on Netflix streaming, I started watching it. Now I love the show and the theme song. Or as much of the show as I saw, since they took it off streaming before I could finish it. :( x 1,000,000

    This song is Ivy and my jam. She mostly ignores the show but when the closing theme comes on she does the baby dance, and so do I.

    I'm also generally pleased with shows that have theme sounds moreso than theme songs, like Lost, and to a lesser extent American Horror Story and another one that we watched recently that I can't remember.

    Some not so favorites:

    It's probably not that objectively terrible but it gets stuuuuuuuck in my head something fierce. 

    I know there are some TV themes that I hate but I suddenly can't think of them. Scot is right on about the Firefly theme, though. Woof. 
  • edited January 2015
    I loved the 4th season version of the DS9 theme. They added that 5/4 timpani ostinato. It always reminded me of
  • oh god jennyb is anime trash
  • I also liked the DS9 intro. I liked the show a lot, so after a while it was like the music of home, if you see what I'm saying.
  • Ha! I've seen Gangstagrass live. That dude is a friend of a friend, so I've been listening to him on and off for over a decade. He's been playing "hick hop" the whole time. The early stuff (Battlestar/Battlestar America) has very clear socialist themes. 

    I'm refusing to link to the (Star Trek) Enterprise theme. That whole thing with it having vocals still grates.
  • Wait a minute Bill... do you actually like Ranma? Have we even discussed that ever?? I could basically do a whole thread about the Ranma opening themes. There was a different theme song every season including one that is a pretty decent Queen ripoff!

    My favorites are seasons 2, 3 and 5 because they are deliberately sentimental sappy pop which is how I live my life... but Ranma's most secret weapon is the OVA Opening Theme which is... so great. It has an awesome Cibo Matto sounding chorus around 0:55

  • Jenny not only was the music of cowboy bebop written specifically for the show, but the BAND was formed specifically to play the music for the show!!

  • Generally dislike most theme songs. Just get to the show please.
  • stilton stole mine. To me, the Greatest American Hero theme represents the Internet.
  • I loved the 4th season version of the DS9 theme. They added that 5/4 timpani ostinato

    That's what I hate about it. It sounds like two different, clashing songs playing at the same time, while the S1 theme felt like floating majestically in space. 
  • Wickie und die starken Männer is an Austrian-German-Japanese animated television series which tells the adventures of a Viking boy who uses his wits to help his Viking fellows.

  • The Mach 5 was the bestest thing in the whole world:

  • salsal
    edited January 2015
    I recall that scot appreciated the original jazzy DaVinci's Inquest theme. love that.

    no ones mentioned game of thrones? dat cello. which I just read is synthesized and that everything I know is a lie. :(

    also all those tom waits covers for the wire.

    bad: I came to detest the Dexter theme pretty quick.
  • I kind of compartmentalize modern big-ticket shows for some reason... but True Detective FOR SURE and also Orange is the New Black. 

    Plus this dark horse:

    insanely ridiculous show, but I watched the whole damn thing!
  • @scot I watched a ton of Ranma 1/2 back in college, because one of my roommates had damn near the whole thing. 

    I remember that OVA theme now! Yeah... That is good.

    A couple years ago, in a fit of nostalgia, I bought the 1st season box set, but never watched it. My girlfriend saw it, while we were donating DVDs and got excited, because she loved Ranma in middle school, so we've been watching it. It holds up surprisingly well, even if it is somewhat problematic and enthusiastically dumb in so many ways.

    @jennyb I can't believe I forgot about Cowboy Bebop. I have a couple of the soundtrack CDs. Highly recommended. Yoko Kanno (and Seatbelts) are brilliant.
  • Honestly I don't love garage rock on its own, but as an intro for a Viking cartoon it has an amazing allure!
  • Bill enjoy season 1. It gets very... Uneven after that. But I recommend the OVA and movie sets HIGHLY. the one about the Phoenix is out of control.
  • edited January 2015

    you are all wrong. this is the best.

  • I don't have much to add except to say that True Detective had the best openings that I recall in a while.  One of the few that I gladly would sit through.

    On the flip side for me is Orange is the New Black, I'm flipping tables over rage hating it.  I haven't even finished the 2nd season yet and that probably is the reason.  It has turned me off on Regina Spektor forever.
  • Really? That song is SO BOSS.

    Also I really like that Hercules theme mostly because the singing reminds me of Lou Rawls!

  • Regina Spektor can still do no wrong. 

    I've never seen that Hercules cartoon before, but am definitely digging that 1960's animation aesthetic. 
  • OITNB song is just too long.
  • edited January 2015
    I should get my ears cleaned. I thought I heard stilton say that he never watched the 60s Hercules cartoon as a child.

    Next he will claim never to have watched this:

  • edited January 2015
    or have identified with this (sorry about the sound):

  • edited January 2015
    I had wondered where that Beach Boys aesthetic had gone. It went to the Vikings. (Yes I know: not really.)

    Aw nuts now I am on a nostalgia kick. Thanks for nothing, Cowboymeme.

    Wow. This cartoon holds up better than I thought. (I always hated the closing song, though.) It's still weird that the humanoid dog had a dog, though.

  • I did watch Herculoids:

  • Has anyone posted The Venture Bros? Because I love that one. I actually bought the soundtrack.
  • I've never seen nor heard of the hercules or rocket robin hood cartoons. Not even a glimmer of recognition. 

    I think the raccoon one did make it here in some form, though. All of that is super familiar especially the q-bert anteater thing.
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