The leaves are getting crisp. Giant men are hitting each other for fun. Jam is being made. It is fall, which to me means new TV shows and old TV shows. Well, it means TV in general. One of the best parts of TV shows are their theme songs. I love the intersection of music and visual entertainment. So in honor of fall TV, I bring to you my favorite TV themes of all time.
1. The Muppet Show – I am a sucker for the Muppets especially Gonzo. I am too young to watch the original run of the Muppet Show but thanks to Disney and other channels rerunning it during my childhood, I learned to love those guys so much. It still cracks me up to this day. Jim Henson was a genius. The song might be short but it is hits all the points of a Muppet Show episode.
2. Angel - This theme is probably the best of all the five Joss Whedon shows. It doesn’t have the lyrics that Firefly, has but the feeling of the music really gets to me. Bonus points either in season 3 or 4, you can sing the cast members names along to the theme as its playing when their name appears in the credits.
3. The West Wing - It is fittingly presidential and so beautiful. W.G. Walden won an Emmy for this song. Bonus points because he wrote the My So-Called Life theme as well.
4. Six Feet Under – Hauntingly beautiful. A bit off kilter. A perfect way to describe the show itself.
5. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - Yup, I cheated. I put on the one theme song that everyone knows the lyrics to. There is a reason that is the case. It is a damn catchy song. I have special connections to this show and Blossom. I actually watched their original airing runs on NBC on an old 9-inch black and white TV in my parents’ bed room using rabbit ears. I am old.
6. “Teardrop” by Massive Attack, the theme from House, M.D. – Simply put, probably the best use of an existing song for a theme. I love “Teardrop” as a stand alone song and every time I hear it now, I can think of the misanthropic doctor expy of Sherlock Holmes played by the great Hugh Laurie.
7. Transformers - My favorite cartoon growing up, I had to include it on the list. This at least washes the taste of Michael Bay out of my mouth.
8. “Way Down in the Hole” by the Blind Boys of Alabama, the theme to the Wire - Probably the most fitting song on this list. The song captures the exact spirit of the show.
9. The Monkees - Included for two reasons. a.) This song is adorable and b.) I’m pretty sure my wife would be upset if I didn’t include it. I loved when they used to rerun this show in the late ’80s. I have also had the pleasure of meeting Peter Tork.
10. “Hey Sandy” By Polaris, the theme from The Adventures of Pete and Pete - Probably my first real exposure to alternative rock, this was by far my favorite Nickelodeon TV theme. SO many good memories rocking out to this song. This show is still amazing. Iggy Pop, Michael Stipe, Adam West at his most hipsterific. Yeah Pete and Pete was awesome.
Bonus added because I saw it in my news feed this morning. The most adorable cover of Sesame Street ever. Thanks a lot Jimmy Fallon and the Roots for making me watch more videos of you and children’s instruments.
Songs I love that didn’t make the list because the show was horrible include all of the Who songs from Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime series. Seriously “Baba O’Riley” should never be associated with Gary Sinise. Not as bad as “Won’t Get Fooled Again” getting sullied by David Caruso.
I am already realizing songs I left off but that is ok. I love TV. What are some of your favorites?