TV Show Theme Songs…. Where Did They Go?

I watch TV. Probably more than most, in all honesty. Where life doesn’t make sense most days anymore I turn to TV. Since I watch quite a few programs on the good old tube, something has become apparent to me.  TV Show Theme Songs, where did they go?

20190122_173408Once upon a time, TV Show theme songs were everywhere, every show had their own. There are theme songs for some shows that are so popular that even if you haven’t watched that series you probably are still aware of its theme song. You had “The Golden Girls” and “Full House”, for example. Iconic TV Show theme songs. Do I remember every word 20190122_173618to these widely popular known theme songs?  Well…. no.  But I’m definitely aware of the songs for those series and know most of the words if those shows were to appear on TV.  Theme songs are just simply fun and after watching a few episodes of a series it’s a nice introduction before you start watching an episode of your favorite show.

Original TV Show theme songs for where a song is written and made especially for a TV Show are just not around as much these days anymore. There are still a few series currently playing now as well as of the last few years to have original theme songs, but not nearly as many series have one as they use to.  Having that of an original theme song for a series was just a trend of the times, I guess.

Theme songs for TV these days come in a variety of forms beside that of an original tune and can range from just music to only captions on screen.  Certain series having that upbeat fun theme song just wouldn’t make much sense to have.  Many series of now currently opt for just a music theme song instead of a lyrical one.  Usually series that follow that format for a theme song are ones that are more along the lines of being a thriller, mystery, or medical vibe. A lyrical theme song would obviously seem out of place for a series in any of the genres like the ones just mentioned. Programs which have that of a more serious tone are better suited to having a theme song which would just consist of having music only vs. that song and dance routine.

20181226_010155 (2)One series in particular that is my current favorite for just a music theme song is that of Succession on HBO.  Composer Nicholas Britell, has written a score for this series as well as its theme song that is just so well done.  Anytime you hear a note of music play whether it be the theme song to a moment in the show, you feel as though this music is another character in the series.  The tone of it is just so rich in sound.  The whole music themed introduction just embodies the theme of the series so extremely well.  The show is all about power and how to keep it.  The musical tone is strong and fierce and just has that vibe of “Don’t Mess With Me” when its playing.  On screen as the music is playing the credits are appearing on screen at the same time, along with a small glimpse into what this series is about.

This introduction consisting of just a minute or so, shows how things change and in many ways stay the same.  How things and places and people evolve over time.  In the series the father Logan, has gotten older but at the same time his children who are older now as well, still feel that power that he can have over them.  Even though they are all older now, Logan still has that hold over them and what he says goes.

There’s a moment in the theme song where there’s an image of the family in the past all together sitting at table (probably for an outdoor dinner) and Logan is at the head of the table and you see his back to the camera.  Then a moment later you see the same image but it is now the present and Logan is still in charge at the head of the table in a board room and his back is to the camera.  It’s a strong image, resembling how Logan will always be in charge, no matter how much time has passed on by.  The music playing in the theme song is quite remarkable in detailing that transition of time going on but things staying the same as well, without any words being spoken at all.

Jodi - Good Doc Pict# 10Another notable music theme song currently on the air now is “The Good Doctor” on ABC.  This is a new favorite of mine for a series with just a music introduction. The music plays over medical images and ends with a picture of Einstein’s brain with the title of the series over it.  Dan Romer, who is the composer of this series music, has perfectly captured the spirit of the series in its theme song.  It’s simple yet brilliant.  The theme song for The Good Doctor may only last a mere few seconds, but it’s music that stays with you.  It’s an introduction into this world for this series that works extremely well. If I were to hear that music I instantly would know that it was for the TV Show, The Good Doctor.

20190124_181307The true test of a great music introduction for a series is if you know what show it is by just a few notes being played.  One more series favorite for a show with a music theme song is for a show which is no longer on the air.  Regardless of that, this is a show that will always be my favorite series of all time and that show is Six Feet Under, formerly on HBO.  Written by composer Thomas Newman, it is just a classic and when I hear it, I just think “Six Feet Under”.  The series dealt with loss, tragedy, and death.  The theme song blended that of a musical tone with images appearing on screen representing life and death, the beginning and the end.  Blue skies, flowers alive and then not, crows, a person being prepared for their resting place in the afterlife.  For a show with a very existential feeling, the theme music for the series didn’t feel sad or down.  Six Feet Under was a series that even with its subject matter of constantly dealing with death, the feelings in the tone of its music theme song felt of peacefulness and calmness, and how life still goes on even when sadness is around us.

20190122_174601There are some series for where a theme song of any nature is non- existent.  Another way of a series introducing us into the start of an episode sometimes is simply with just the credits being show.  They appear on screen and then go back and forth between credits being shown and the episode starting.  No theme song or music involved, but it can be just as effective and can draw you in even more.  A series such as The Closer, formerly on TNT, is a great example of a show that didn’t have a theme song or even music before an episode started, but faded in and out with the title of the series followed by credits.

UnReal, a recently finished series on Lifetime and then Hulu, is also another great example of that kind of introduction for a series.  Although, there was a small amount of a musical for that one. The title of the series and credits were in a rosy red. The show dealt with a Bachelor/Bachelorette themed like reality show and the color of that rosy red was perfect resembling roses.

20190122_175145Sometimes TV Show theme songs come in the form of a song already in existence.  Such as for the series, Gilmore Girls (formerly on the WB and the CW).  Watching this series was always one I enjoyed, especially its theme song.  I just loved it!  Years later, I went to see Beautiful on Broadway.20190122_190247-e1548290252289.jpg  It’s a musical about the life of Carole King and the musical features some of her most popular tunes.  All of a sudden I hear the song “Where You Lead” and it sounded so familiar.  I literally had no idea that the theme song for Gilmore Girls was a real song.  I always thought of it as the theme song for Gilmore Girls, so it was pretty cool to find this out.

As you can see by now TV Show theme songs these days come in more than just one formation.  Some series benefit from not having one sometimes and that way of an introduction for a series can be just as effective and just as memorable as lyrics to a song.  Although, who doesn’t love an original TV Show theme song written just for a show? I do!  I do!

They are just fun.  An original TV Show theme song for a series these days on TV is almost like seeing (hearing) a unicorn. They are just rare and in short supply. Although, there are a few shows on TV right now and some of the last few years that have kept alive that TV tradition of having a good old memorable tune before tuning into your favorite series. So being the TV Nerd that I am, of course I have a few favorites!

20180921_0253591. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW)- This gem on the CW Network instantly became not only one of my favorite series on TV, but also one of my #1 Favorite TV Show Theme Song(s) Ever. I should clarify how this is a series that didn’t have just one theme song for its whole run, but a different one every season to capture what was happening on that particular season. So, how can you not love that!  The composing team of Rachel Bloom, Adam Schlesinger, Jack Dolgen and Steven M. Gold, all brought a brilliant level of such creativity and spunk into every song featured in this series, and its theme songs were no different.  Such creativity, smarts, and wit went into every season’s theme song.  This show currently in its last season (cue…. Me being bummed) continues to be one of the most smart, creative and insightful programs on the air.

I previously mentioned of how each season’s theme song dealt with the season it was in. The series was always evolving and that change of tone from season to season changed as well for its theme songs.  I’ll briefly talk now about each of those theme songs.  There will be a few spoilers while discussing this subject.

Season One is where it all started.  It was just a brief random encounter with her ex-boyfriend from summer camp that made Rebecca decide to up and move across the country from NYC to West Covina, California.  During the song, it’s basically about everyone calling her crazy for making this drastic move.

The theme song for Season Two, was Rebecca expressing how when she’s in love she might act a bit erratic and sometimes act a bit crazy, but that doesn’t mean she’s crazy.  That just means she’s in love.

The theme song for Season Three, dealt with Rebecca’s diagnosis of having borderline personality disorder.  When the season started you didn’t know this, but there were the clues in the theme song.  It featured Rebecca dressing in different personas that would later make sense why the creators featured her like that in that season’s theme song.

The theme song for Season Four, is basically Rebecca owning who she is.  She’s someone whose made mistakes and she’s trying to learn from them and just be a better person.  The theme song starts off with girl who looks so happy and someone who seems like she has it all so together.  She just gives off that impression of how she’s just “winning at life”.  She is casually riding a bike in the middle of the day with a smile on her face.  The song starts off with saying how “That’s Rebecca!”.  Then it says “Wait!  That’s the wrong Rebecca”, the real Rebecca is sitting on a park bench waving “hi”.  The Rebecca riding the bike is the one with it all together and perfect.  The Rebecca sitting on that park bench is a bit more complicated.

I kind of interpret that as the creators saying how Rebecca wishes she could be that Rebecca, the one casually riding a bike with no care in the world, the one with it all together.  But instead she has issues, she has flaws, she’s complicated, but that’s who she is and she’s finally accepting that that’s just her.  One of my most favorite lines of the current theme song is “Meet Rebecca! She’s too hard to summarize!”, I mean, just love! And if you watch the show, you totally get why that’s a genius line. Rebecca is complicated, but at the end of the day who isn’t.

20190122_1849062. Psych (USA Network)- This series has been off the air for several years now, but it did not too long ago have an awesome reunion movie. I have been a long time fan of Psych since it’s very first episode on the USA Network many years ago. It was such a lively fun and energetic show20190124_181853 with laugh out loud performances. It was a silly series with heart and one that I will always be recommending to anyone who has yet to ever see this gem of a series (Pssstt… It’s available on Amazon!).  The theme song was created by the creator of the series Steve Franks’s band.  It had a lively tune with fun lyrics and it was definitely a theme song that got me singing those fun lyrics before tuning into every episode to watch.

20190122_1828443. The Goldbergs (ABC)- Currently in its 6th Season on the ABC Network, is a series that is all about embracing that thing of nostalgia. Taking place in the 80s, The Goldbergs is a series that remembers all about that TV Show Theme Song craze thanks in part to its creator, Adam F. Goldberg. The series is somewhat based on his life20190122_183027 in the times of the 80s and embracing that nostalgia of the past.  A fun theme song was written for the show by the band, I Fight Dragons.  Throughout the song items representing a sign of those times are featured.  A VCR tape is put into a VCR with a label of “The Goldbergs” on it and then the episode begins. Yes, before DVR and Netflix was a thing, you had to record programs on a VCR. Sometimes technology improvement isn’t the worst thing ever.

20190122_1822424. The Big Bang Theory (CBS)- Currently in its 12th and last season on CBS now, The Big Bang Theory is a series where its theme song fits in perfectly with the concept of the series. For those of you living under a rock for the past 12 years, The Big Bang Theory is about a group of nerds in all fields of science. Sure the series has changed and added new characters and evolved to being more about than just nerds picking up comic books. At its heart, its a series about true friendship along with the brains and minds of those in higher education.20190122_182227 The theme song was written and recorded by the band, The Barenaked Ladies.  Thousands of images are featured in a matter of just seconds representing people and things and life evolving over time.  These fast moving images show the progress of how things have evolved since the beginning of time.  How things are always changing, always evolving.

20190122_1832525. Felicity (WB)- Yes, it’s been awhile since our favorite college student has graduated from NYU, but the theme song or songs I should say will always be one of my go-to favorites. The show had two different theme songs for the entirety of its series, but my favorite one would have to go to the theme song for the last two seasons called “New Version of You” co-written especially for the show by J.J. Abrams and Andrew Jarecki. It was a simple theme introduction with pictures of the characters and the song representing a new version of who Felicity and the characters were becoming or hoping to be. Some theme songs are just iconic and Felicity’s two theme songs definitely were, for sure.

A bit of a backstory with me and the TV Show Felicity. Um…… I loved it!  I am complete and utter fan of this series, even after the whole deal of Felicity cutting her hair a few episodes into Season Two. You may not have watched this show, but there’s probably a chance you heard about “the hair cut”. To me, it was like “Whatever. I love this show!”. But the ratings for the series did go down after this “haircut incident” to which I say “REALLY!”.

Anyway, growing up I wasn’t the TV Nerd I am today.  I watched a few shows growing up, but usually never remembered when they were on so I always was missing episodes and with no Netflix existing yet I usually ended up just not watching many shows. Than came Felicity on the WB. This was the one series I never forgot when it was on, with the exception of just one episode. Although, they changed their scheduled air date at the time so I did forget it was on that one time.  I loved this show and I loved the characters. When I was watching this series, people actually leaving home and attending college at the time seemed so far away. The show started when I was a Freshman in High School and ended when I was a Senior. So in a way I graduated when Felicity graduated.

20190122_193829About a year and a half after I graduated from High School, I went into the city to see a Broadway show (Movin’ Out) in October of 2003. This is just something one one does when one is that of a Theater Dork.  The actor Scott Foley, who many of you may now know from Scandal (formerly on ABC), played the character of Noel on Felicity before he was Jake on Scandal.  In the fall of 2003, he was apart of an ensemble cast in a new play on Broadway called “The Violet Hour”.  This show was reopening a theater called at the time the Biltmore Theater (these days that theater goes by the name of the Samuel J. Friedman theater).  There was a massive renovation and this was the first show going into that theater in many years. There was a dedication ceremony to remember this moment.  It was this big event.  The mayor at the time, Mayor Bloomberg, along with members of the MTC (the non-for-profit theater company that took over the theater), as well as actors Liev Schreiber and Brian Stokes Mitchell, were in attendance. I had no idea this event was even going to be happening, I just happen to be in the city that day walking around before seeing Movin’ Out. So I got to witness this whole thing and it’s something I never forgot.  As someone who loves theater this was really cool to see in person and be apart of this moment.

20190122_183323About an hour or so later on, I was walking by this theater again on my way to eat before my seeing Movin’ Out and I saw none other than Noel…ahem, I mean Scott Foley on the stoop of the theater’s stage door with a fellow cast member. That fellow cast member later turned into his sister- in- law, as Foley married her sister. See the awesomeness of theater bringing people together! I20190122_193117 walked by at first and than I thought, “OMG! I can’t just walk by!  It’s Scott Foley!  It’s Noel!”. So my nervous self went up and said how much I was a fan of Felicity and that was basically it. He was super nice and to this day I am still so in shock how I randomly got to meet someone from one of my favorite shows of all time. Man, the randomness of life sometimes can be pretty cool!

20190122_183753Another random “Felicity” encounter was when I saw Peter and the Starcatcher on Broadway.  It was a bit of a celebrity encounter of sorts with a few TV personalities, in fact.  I went to see this play and to my left was sitting Kevin McKidd of Grey’s Anatomy, in front of me was Marsha Mason of many projects most recently The Middle, and behind me was none other than one of the co- creators of Felicity…. J.J.Abrams!!!!  Like, WHAT!  Yup!  Sure he’s done a lot of projects since Felicity, but Felicity will always be one of those TV20190122_190625 Series that just holds a special place in my heart .  And no, I didn’t say anything to any of them because they as well as myself were there to enjoy a show being put up on stage and that wouldn’t of been the time to fangirl out.  Plus, I always get super nervous and shy around my TV idols.  Either way, it was still super cool!  Okay, me and my fangirl self and pointless but hopefully fun backstory aside on the TV Series Felicity is done with now, so moving on…..

20190122_175658TV Show theme songs, whether it be a theme song of just music or an original one with some catchy lyrics and a cool tune are just simply fun!  These days theme songs may not be at the very start of an episode, but happen a mere few moments later on.  Either way, it’s a set up for the tone of a series. I’ve always loved a good theme song and will continue to, for I am a TV Nerd now through and through.

Author: Jodi Fisher

Hi! I’m Jodi! My dream is to live in NYC, see a Broadway show every single day, and write about the arts for a living. Until that delightful day arrives, I’ll be over here blogging about my love of the arts!

18 thoughts on “TV Show Theme Songs…. Where Did They Go?”

  1. You’re totally right that theme songs can be fun and memorable and set the tone, but I also don’t miss them that much. This post had me thinking about the shows I watch and only a handful of them have theme songs that are more than just a title card for a second.
    Getting rid of them allows for a few more seconds of the actual show. And in this age of binging, Netflix gives us the option to skip the intro music because it isn’t always fun to hear it over and over and over.
    I have a feeling more and more shows will do without and I can’t say I’m heartbroken, even if there were some truly amazing TV theme songs out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this too. I totally see your point of view of this. I agree binge watching and hearing the same theme song over and over again, episode after episode, might go from “I like this theme song!” to “Oh, I am so over this theme song”, LoL. Theme songs and binge watching for one show don’t really go together well I’m sure, LoL.

      I know they are probably out dated in a certain sense, but I just love that nostalgia that come with a great tv show theme song.

      Thanks so very much for reading =).

      Like

    1. Thanks so much!

      Yes, that’s a great theme song too! I watched that series growing up, but only from the middle of the series. One of these days that’s definitely a series I hope to watch from start to finish.

      That’s so cool that you learned to play the theme song on guitar!

      Thanks so very much for reading =).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!

      Yeah, another fan of Felicity! I will always love that show, and yes I am still in shock that I actually got to meet Scott Foley that day. TV Nerd over here, LoL.

      I loved Fringe, I still never finished the last season yet though. One of these days, LoL. Yes, Friday Night Lights theme song is a classic! Totally loved that one too! I never have watched the X-Files yet, but that’s a good music theme song too.

      Thanks so very much for reading =).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t really pay too close attention to shows’ theme songs, but boy can they be catchy. I saw The Golden Girls graphic at the beginning of your post and immediately my brain started singing “Thank you for being a friend.” I love Psych so much. I miss that show. I did know about the theme song and loved that whenever they did certain episodes, they would have a special recording of the theme song. I remember hearing it in Spanish, sung by Boyz II Men, and that eerie rendition when they did that Twin Peaks episode.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally the same way with The Golden Girls theme song, LoL. All you have to do is see “The Golden Girls” logo anywhere and the song immediately gets in your head, LoL. It’s probably one of the most catchy theme songs, maybe ever. A for sure classic!

      I loved that about Psych! Such a creative show and I loved that they changed their theme songs to match certain episodes. I watched Twin Peaks years later after watching the Psych Twin Peaks episode and just genius!

      Thanks so very much for reading =).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!

      Yes, I love theme songs, but totally agree about that “getting stuck in your head” factor, LoL. That’s how good some of these theme songs are, LoL.

      Thanks so very much for reading =).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like the theme song for Gilmore Girls ❤
    The one for Anne with an E was really cool as well.
    Admittedly, when i'm watching stuff on netflix or amazon, i usually skip the opening part and go straight to the action 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Gilmore Girls theme song is just a classic! Glad to see it’s a favorite for you too!

      I haven’t watched the series, Anne with an E, yet. Definitely going to check it out. Can’t wait to see the theme song! I’m such a TV Nerd, LoL.

      Thanks so very much for reading =).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. TV nerds unite! Lol these are Great details you shared Jodi!

    I personally hope theme songs make a comeback! There is something special about the nostalgia attached to your favorite show. I always loved Monk and you know how I feel about Kimmy Schmidt! A Different World also has a good one…how many shows can say that the late great Aretha Franklin sang their theme song?!

    Other classics that come to mind like Good Times and Threes Company. Ahh the good ole days

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much =)!

      So happy to see someone else appreciate the awesomeness that is that of the TV Show Theme Song! Totally agree as well about how there is just something special and nostalgic that comes with hearing a TV Show Theme Song. That’s just one thing most of the shows on TV are missing these days.

      I watch so many series these days that I totally forgot about some past favorites like Monk. I loved that show! Also, such a fan of Tony Shalhoub! I adore him on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

      And yes, Kimmy Schimdt!!! Can’t believe I forgot about that series, LoL. TV Nerd Fail, LoL. I just love, love, love that show! It’s a one of a kind theme song for a great one of a kind series! Definitely memorable!

      I know of the show, but I don’t think I ever watched A Different World. Definitely going to check out that series and check out the theme song for it. With Aretha Franklin singing the theme song, it’s gotta be amazing. Thanks for letting me know about this one.

      I grew up watching Sister, Sister and I loved that series! Great theme song as well! I heard awhile back there was a possibility of a reboot or revival, so hope that happens cause that show was a for sure favorite!

      Thanks so very much for reading and commenting =)!

      Like

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