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August 30, 2015

15 Shows That Still Have Theme Songs

by Rich Keller, posted Apr 9th 2011 12:30PM
'Psych' not only has a theme song, but it also changes it up every once in awhile.In a recent TV 101 column, TV Squad writer Dr. Ryan Vaughan lamented the loss of the television theme song. Briefly summarizing its apparent demise, Ryan said, "Now it seems 'theme songs' are actually just titular lines blurted out between commercials by some singing robot. Why would you throw away something so unabashedly awesome?"

Well, they haven't thrown out every theme. Just take shows like 'The Big Bang Theory, 'Psych' and the cartoon dynasty of Seth MacFarlane, for example. And that's not including the shows with memorable theme music, like 'Bones' or 'Mad Men.'

Want proof? After the jump, check out our list of 15 current shows that still have a theme song or theme music.

Theme Songs

'The Big Bang Theory' (CBS) -- The only theme on the list which provides a history lesson since the dawn of time in a little more than 20 seconds. Performed by The Barenaked Ladies, the full version of the theme provides even more detail about life on Earth.

-- A comedy about a community college deserves a theme about hopes, dreams and friendship. Thus, 'At Least It Was Here,' the title song sung by the four-piece indie rock band known as The 88. While the opening credits are below, the full theme can be heard here.

(USA) -- When theme songs were the standard, many shows had a short version and long version of their intros. 'Psych' carries on that tradition and goes one further. Not only does it have short and long versions of the theme, performed by the band Friendly Indians, but the show has also featured holiday versions, ones performed in Spanish and Hindi, and even one by Boys II Men.

'The Cleveland Show' -- This is just one example of from Seth MacFarlane's trio of animated adventures that offers up a true theme song. It is also the newest. While 'Family Guy' provides a theme hearkening back to the days of the family sitcom and the tune for 'American Dad' leans patriotic, the theme to 'The Cleveland Show' matches the hidden funkiness of its lead character.

'True Blood' -- Jace Everett's 'Bad Things' provides the intro to this HBO series about Southern vampires and the girls who love them. With its country flavor and the line 'I want to do bad things with you,' the song fits well with the show's blood-sucking shenanigans.

'Wizards of Waverly Place'
-- This is an example of one of the many Disney Channel primetime shows with an opening theme. Normally, these are sung by the star of the show or another member of the Disney family. Hence, Miley Cyrus sang the theme for 'Hannah Montana' and Demi Lovato sang the one for 'Sonny With a Chance.' For 'Wizards of Waverly Place,' star Selina Gomez handles the vocals.

Theme Music

(FOX) -- The duo of Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland, known as The Crystal Method, put together the electronic music-based theme of 'Bones,' which fits well with the somewhat dark tone of the show.

'Chuck' (NBC) -- Taken from the Cake song 'Short Skirt/Long Jacket,' the theme pumps out a repeated guitar riff from the beginning of the tune with a few 'Nah Nahs' thrown in while a faceless spy runs from danger.

'Doctor Who'
-- When the iconic British science fiction series returned in 2005, the producers didn't slap a title card at the intro and move on to the episode. Rather, they took the classic theme music and updated it for the 21st century. The result was a grand orchestral intro perfect for the man who lives forever. Just compare it to the other intros in this video

'Hawaii Five-O'
(CBS) -- There was only one thing on the minds of television viewers when the new version of 'Hawaii Five-O' was announced: would it still keep the theme song? Luckily it did, though it's half as long as the original. Without it, the show would have been dead before the first commercial break.

'House' (FOX) -- Where the theme to 'Bones' is full of jarring rhythms, the opening song of 'House' has a calmer feel to it. It doesn't prepare the novice viewer for the harshness of Dr. Gregory House or the subject matter.

'Law & Order: SVU' -- Though the 'Law & Order' franchise has been around for more than two decades, 'SVU' is the only one heard on a regular basis in original episodes. The main difference between this version and the original we were introduced to back in the late '80s is the presence of more guitar.

'Mad Men' (AMC) -- Both retro and modern, the opening features a faceless man falling out his window past and through his famous achievements. It's become so famous, a great homage aired on 'The Simpsons' a few seasons ago. The tune's called 'A Beautiful Mine' by RJD2.

'Parks and Recreation'
-- An newer example of theme music from NBC's Thursday night comedies. Though only around 20 seconds long, the theme song reflects the sense of optimism of the show's characters.

What's your favorite current theme song or theme music?

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June Jerrie

Some of the series on this list also highlight a new problem with theme songs and that is using actual songs for lyrics. I miss the days of instrumental music such as ER, Cold Case, NCIS all those theme songs get you pumping for the show. Also those shows made their own music accompaniment throughout the episode which is soooo good!

May 11 2011 at 10:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The theme to House is Massive Attack's "Teardrop" and is the best theme since... probably Miami Vice.

April 30 2011 at 5:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon Werner

just how many versions of the Psych theme song have there been?

April 12 2011 at 2:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You forgot ''Spongebob''!!!!

April 11 2011 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Both NCIS and NCIS-Los Angeles have great theme songs. You're gonna have to do a follow up to this post

April 11 2011 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't forget Fringe!
standard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-q_gmpvLmc
awesome 80s version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6eCNrY7XN8

April 11 2011 at 10:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

BIG LOVE the final season credits were amazing, great song but the engeneers and great graphics

April 11 2011 at 2:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Psych's theme rocks and on a sidenote -- james roday is so underrated and should get nominated for best actor in a comedy.

April 10 2011 at 10:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I must agree, i don't get why the theme song has gone away -- they need more commercial time? Let's not forget that reality shows -- Idol and dancing with the stars have kept their theme songs as has how i met your mother. But who can forget the great themes of Friends, ER, Threes company. It gives the sense of identity, it shows who is who. I really wish they would bring it back.

April 10 2011 at 10:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Christina Draper

Really? No, Sons of Anarchy? Really?

April 10 2011 at 8:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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