tv theme songs
Our pals over at AOL Radio are re-launching with a new and improved listening experience today, powered by Slacker, and one of the stations we're most looking forward to is TV Tunes. Obviously. They're playing theme songs from popular shows, past and present, 24 hours a day, now with 50% fewer commercial interruptions ... if only real TV was like that.
It got us thinking about our own favorite TV theme songs (including new ones like 'New Girl' on Fox. "Who's that girl? It's Jess!" ... and we adore her), which got us going a ways back in the old AOL TV archives for these gems: Our reader picks for the Best TV Theme Songs. Ever.
Take a look and tell us if you agree with this classic-filled top 10 ...
In one of several changes to next year's award show, the Academy has gotten rid of the award for Best Main Title Theme, due to the "decreasing number of traditional television main title theme music."
One man, or rather two of him, have changed my perception on that phobia forever. Musician Fredrik Larsson has put together a beautiful rendition of TVs greatest tunes using nothing but a keyboard, an acoustic guitar and a DNA perfect clone of himself.
Trust me when I tell you this: the 'Charles in Charge' theme never sounded this, well, listenable.
I know, I know, you're thinking, those are the only two choices I get, Happy Days and Gilligan's Island? Yes, according to this poll over at AOL Television. For the past several weeks they've pit various TV show theme songs against each other in a tournament, and the two finalists, for some reason, are Happy Days theme and the Gilligan's Island theme.
Now, it seems like these aren't the "best" theme songs, just the ones that readers and TV fans thought were the most iconic, or maybe it's the fact that they both have lyrics and that's what readers were looking for?
The folks over at Best Week Ever have complied a great set of videos that show people doing the theme songs to various TV shows on various instruments. Some of them are pretty straightforward with normal instruments (for example, a small orchestra doing the Muppet Show theme and Family Matters done on piano), while others are rather odd and unexpected, like the parrot doing the Andy Griffith Show theme or The Love Boat performed on a theremin. After the jump, one of my favorites: the theme to Baywatch performed by a guy on an acoustic guitar. He even has his shirt off like a lifeguard and shows pics from the show.
I still don't get that MacGyver theme on the ruler though.
- Matthew Weiner to sign up for another season of Mad Men. The show is coming back for a third season but there might be a slight hitch with signing the show's creator and showrunner. I'm sure that in the end everything will be settled and he'll be back, I'd just like to have it by the end of the year if that's possible. Thanks!
Paste has the latest list, their 40 best TV theme songs of all-time. Oh, we could talk about this for hours (and we probably will), but there are four thoughts that come immediately to mind after reading all 40 choices:
This article by TV critic Alan Sepinwall, where he talks about really disliking USA's Psych but loving the theme song, got me thinking: what bad TV shows have really great theme songs?
This is really hard, actually. I'm sure there are more examples of the opposite, great shows that have bad theme songs (or no theme song at all), but trying to come up with a list of bad TV shows that have great theme songs...that's pretty hard. The first one that comes to mind is John From Cincinnati, a show that has really disappointed me but has a great theme song ("Johnny Appleseed," performed by Joe Strummer) and great opening credits (old surfing footage). But other shows that I come up with - Gilligan's Island, for example - don't exactly have "great" theme songs, they're more fun in a nostalgic sort of way (and I'm not even sure I would call Gilligan's Island a "bad" show, because it goes beyond that to simple entertainment in that nostalgic way).
So what about you, readers? What TV shows can you think of that are bad but just happen to have a really cool theme song? (Edit: The Psych theme embeded after the jump)
One of the saddest changes in the television landscape has been the disappearance of the theme song. They're really not that important to the people who create TV shows now (or the networks who want to get more commercials in). Lost has just a single note as their theme song, ER has changed and shortened their theme song, Jericho has static, and Heroes doesn't have a theme song or credits either.
Luckily, the shows that still have theme songs also have opening credits. Shows like The Office and Dexter all have theme songs and opening credits. They're classic TV openings. Of course, it's nothing like years gone by, where almost all shows had theme song and opening credits. The Onion has picked 22 that they feel fit their shows perfectly. I don't know if that is the same as "best opening sequences," but the choices are interesting, quirky, a little maddening, and they left out a few, as I'm sure you'll agree.
I love watching a show's opening credit sequence. They're like mini-films. However, I'm sure others have noticed this, but it seems like more and more shows are foregoing a full-blown credit sequence and instead opting for a brief title placard while the credits roll during the opening scenes of a given show. Take Grey's Anatomy. They used to have a pretty nifty show open complete with sex in a hospital bed. Now it's gone. Boo to that. I like seeing the credits and it's lousy that some shows have tossed it in favor of what probably ends up being a few extra seconds of time for ad buyers to purchase. Oh well. Some shows still have a lengthy open and with that comes some good music. Here are some of my favorites (old and current) in no particular order.
1.) C'mon C'mon by The Von Bondies [Rescue Me] - Awesome tune. It's loud. It's angry. And it goes perfect with the imagery of a fire engine roaring down a Manhattan avenue. I'm not sure if it's still on the F/X website, but there used to be a blurb about how Denis Leary picked music for Rescue Me and apparently he stumbled onto this song one day while his son was listening to it. Good find.
What the hell is up with the beginnings and endings of shows nowadays? First they just about get rid of TV theme songs altogether, and now at the end of shows they are scrolling the credits at light-speed, usually shrunk down to a really small size in a side box on the screen (so they can promote another show in a bigger box in the screen, of course).
Isn't there some sort of rule about this in the industry, that the names of the people who work on the show have to actually be on the screen and legible for a certain amount of time? I watched Entertainment Tonight one night and the credits went by so fast I couldn't even tell if they were actually letters or not. And the same thing is happening on prime time shows. Even if the credits scroll by at a normal speed, they'll shove them to the a corner of the screen while they promote another show. What's up with that?
I know, more time for commercials and more opportunity to plug another show. But still...grrrrrrrrr.
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