Shows have staying power in part because of their fantastic opening theme songs. A really great opening theme can stay in your head long after the episode is over and can even become an oddly welcome earworm. Shows of the past have proved this with Seinfeld’s memorable guitar licks, Cheers “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” and of course the original Star Trek outer space orchestral adventure theme, a classic composed by Alexander Courage. Today’s TV shows have followed that time-honored tradition, with a few standouts that will live on in memory long after the show runs its course. Below are five current TV shows with the best into theme songs.
5. South Park
Go to any public place and start signing “I’m Goin’ Down to South Park, Gonna Have Myself a Time” and no doubt someone will follow with “Friendly Faces Everywhere, Humble Folks Without Temptation.” The theme evolved during the seasons and adds special elements for holiday specials, but many may agree that the most interesting aspect of the theme song is the indecipherable addition from Kenny. Throughout the decades that this show has been on the air on Comedy Central, the South Park opening theme song is still fresh, catchy, and fun.
Lucifer’s opening theme “Being Evil Has a Price” by the Heavy Young Heathens captures the spirit of the show perfectly. It’s dark, wild and terribly sexy, just like the title character. Fox knew what it was doing when they adopted this song as the title theme.
3. Deadliest Catch
Yes, Bon Jovi did not write “Wanted Dead or Alive” for Discovery’s Deadliest Catch, but no other song would do justice to the show, “I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride” synchs perfectly with shots of the weatherworn captains and crew manning boats tossed on the wild, cold sea. It’s best to include a clip from Season 4’s opening that still features the beloved Captain of the Cornelia Marie, Phil Harris. Although some of the stars come and gone this Bon Jovi song is still magically connected with the show and will be forever.
2. The Exorcist
Scoring an opening theme for The Exorcist TV show was a difficult task, it had to be spooky, original and try to live up to the iconic movie theme “Tubular Bells”. Fox scored again with a simple, yet creepy tune with a whistling overlay, that is enough to send chills down the spine.
1. The Walking Dead
When Bear McCreary set out to compose the opening theme for AMC’s The Walking Dead, he wanted to create a dystopic melody using instruments that would still be functional after a Zombie Apocolypse. Here is the first of a series of video blogs on Youtube that shows the work that went into composing and executing just the right sound that puts viewers on the edge of their seat. One thing interesting to note is that the theme changes a bit as the series evolves. The theme and pictures that are shown on screen as the music plays tell the story of the survivors. The use of string ensembles to score horror is nothing new–the theme from Psycho composed by Bernard Herrmann was one of the reasons for the success of Hitchcock’s classic film.
Honorable Mention Sherlock
It’s not that the theme from Sherlock isn’t perfection itself, it’s that no one is sure if and when the show will return. Was Season 4 the end? No matter what the theme from Sherlock will forever conjure up images of modern London, 221B Baker Street, and an oddball detective with the upturned coat collar.