music Times when opening credits music really improved or detracted from a TV series

Ok so it's hard to overstate how much opening credits songs can become a part of the identity of a TV series. This thread is a place for people to post clips of their favorite, or least favorite examples of that artform, and comment on why they think a particular opening track helped or hurt series X.

I'll start this out with one where I feel like a tragically bad selection of opening theme practically tanked an entire series.

It was a bizarre and unexpected revelation for many long term Star Trek fans when the new series "Enterprise" premiered with the opening credits track "Faith of the Heart" a cringe inducing christian country song, that was about as far from what science fiction, or star trek fans could have rationally expected.


While banjos and tambourines were absent, the theme did manage to conjure images of people line dancing in tasseled jackets and juxtapose that with random historical images and scenes of interstellar exploration. A swing and a miss on a historic level.
 
On the other side of the spectrum, the intro music for "The A Team" was a huge hit, with people across the nation humming the tune for years after it's release. A perfect fit for the feel of the show, it became a quintessential part of the fiction's identity, and went down in history as one of the GOAT tv theme songs. It can be found to this day on tv theme song "best of" albums.

 
Here's an interesting one. When "The Greatest American Hero" premiered, reception to the series itself was lukewarm. But people absolutely loved the opening credits theme song. Decades later, people still remember this show, because of the theme song, and it's dynamic with the opening visuals, when many other 1 season shows have faded in memory.

 
One of those opening sequences that went down in history as something exceptional, was of course "The Sopranos". An essentially unknown band was discovered by the series creators, and vaulted to mid level stardom for life via the use of the song "got yourself a gun" Most people don't realize that this same band became sort of a house band for the Sopranos, contributing a number of other recognizable tracks throughout the series run.


 
The opening credits for showtime's antihero series "Dexter" was somewhat of a stroke of genius, with it's bouncing ball rhythms and gothic melodies painting the morning routine of the titular character in an an eerie light, simultaneously sinister and whimsical. An example of outside the box thinking that turned out to be effective. Try and imagine how different this show would have felt with music more in line with standard serial killer fare.

 
Locke and Key's opening credits music does a good job for quickly establishing the right feel for the show. It blends feelings of mystery and adventure seamlessly, simultaneously energetic and suspenseful.

 

sfoster

Staff Member
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Yeah friends is a popular show, idk if the intro is really anything special. all those shows had the cast and a song at the beginning
cheers, happy days, brady bunch, married with children, etc its all the same formula.

walking dead had a cool intro... but like basically every intro if im going to binge the show for 7 episodes straight or something i will be skipping that intro every time. i tried to look up the intro to the old hercules show (lol) but its surprsingly not on youtube or even hulu
 
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TBH I'm not a fan of the show Friends, to me it's as vanilla as tv gets. I posted it, as I will the others Mlesmann mentioned, to try and establish a format on this thread, where people include a video link for each submission. It's just to make it a more entertaining resource for forum readers in the future. I will say though, that while I agree with you that they all did this same bit, friends probably did it best, and most memorably. When people try to remember all those old sitcoms with the cast and the watered down pop song, this is probably the one they will remember most, so even if I don't like the show, I have to think they got something right. I would have posted them all at once, but I got interrupted mid post, which happens a lot.
 
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I was going to post Greatest American Hero but you beat me to it :)
Sopranos was especially great for me because not only is/was the music great, but I grew up in that area.

The old ones would be M*A*S*H (Suicide is painless), All in the Family, and Mary Tyler Moore. Somewhat newer - Friends and Frazier.



Personally I have to say the Frasier theme stands out. They took a chance and did something wierd, and it worked somehow. To their credit, I'm still listening to this opening track and wondering how it could have been so well accepted, but it was.
 
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I'll likely get some flak for this, but I always hated the GOT theme song. I think sometimes when a show is really great, and you end up hearing it's theme a million times, you start to think of it as good, but I never really found this to be anything special.

 
Same thing here, A fantastic show, one of the GOAT, and they just phoned in the composition of the intro. Some very average and weak composition, that could have just as easily bookended a reality tv show about people using metal detectors in AZ. I'll give it some minor credit for sounding like the state the show is set in.

 
There are also shows that became very popular with certain demographics in certain decades mainly because of the theme song. If you were a small child when this show aired, you may remember how kids actually bought albums featuring this song. It started each episode off with a lot of energy, and I think if you swapped it with the True Detective intro song, it could have killed both shows.


images
 
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I guess people already know I'm a fan of Mike Post. Here's an opening track that instantly established it's show, with a memorable guitar riff and energetic horn sections that promised way more action than the show itself was ever able to actually deliver, lol.

 
Here's one that perplexed me, I'm not sure if it's good or not. It's very unique, I have zero idea what it has to do with the show, or what kind of mood it's trying to put me in to prime me for the story. It's a story about a family of androids. Sometimes they are psychotic killers, sometimes likeable family people. The show is unique, the music is unique, I'm a big Riddley Scott fan, but still, after 9 episodes, I still don't know what I'm looking at here, or listening to in this case. Was this show made by and AI?

 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
The Rockford Files

ENHANCED

The combination of it all. Unique answering machine message that furthered the down-on-his-luck premise with a chuckle + song + zooming and still imagery. Underrated perfection with a Mike Post masterpiece (that harmonica)!


 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
I am going one step further.

Songs that enhanced the show but ruined the artist.

Friends - The Rembrandts - I'll Be There For You
Cops - Inner Circle - Bad Boys

Songs that enhanced the show but did not ruin the artist.

CSI (All franchise series) - The Who
The Dukes of Hazzard - Waylon Jennings - Good Ol' Boys

The dynamic is kind of funny here. Be there for you/Who? And Bad vs. Good ol' boys lol.
 
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