The death of the great TV theme tune???

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Craig: Mclaren, Jan 24, 2004.

  1. Craig: Mclaren

    Craig: Mclaren Second Unit

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    Right now I'm listening to a CD of classic UK and US TV theme tunes. So many classics. Its got me thinking. Is the great original theme tune a dead art form? Surely the 90's was the end? Are they coming back? Where did they go? What should I have for lunch? [​IMG]
     
  2. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

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    I think Thomas Newman's Six Feet Under theme is fantastic...
     
  3. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    Let me think....no....no....no...nope i cant think of a TV theme of the last 10 years. NO! wait I love the theme of Justice Leauge on Cartoon Network. Thats about it, and i own lots of TV theme collections. Nothing past the 80s though. How about a turkey sadwich and chips for lunch?
     
  4. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    Friends, The West Wing and ER have kept their theme songs intact. It's too early to judge the '00s, since we've still got 6 years left.
     
  5. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    With all due respect, I think you may be talking about a different concept. From the initial post, it seems like he is refering to a dearth of the classic television show theme songs. Ones that are written specfically for the show in question and not so much shows that drop their original theme music somewhere through the run of the series.

    Think:

    "Now the world don't move to the beat of just one drum" - Diff'rent Stokes

    "Come and knock on our door" Three's Company

    "You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and then you have...." The Facts of Life

    But then again, there are alot of classic instrumental ones as well. So maybe we're both right.
     
  6. MartinTeller

    MartinTeller Screenwriter

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    Most of the "classic" theme songs are about a minute in length. Now they don't allow more than 30 seconds since they have to squeeze in one more commercial.
     
  7. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    I took that in mind, and the themes for those three shows were written specifically for the show and haven't been dropped anywhere during their run.
     
  8. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    Yeah, I realized what you were talking about when writing my post. But in the case of "Friend" was "I'll Be There for You" Written for the show. I know it's on that band's album so was it just adopted for "Friends"?
     
  9. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    I think the theme song for the much-lamented short-lived Firefly series was fantastic!
     
  10. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    It was written for the show. The Rembrandts weren't planning to release it in CD format, but due to the show's popularity and/or huge demand, they delayed the release of "LP" to add an extended version of the song on there. I know because I got the CD when it first came out. [​IMG]
     
  11. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    The Sopranos has a decent theme song. Then again, that's not television, it's HBO. [​IMG]

    I just took out my two "Television's Greatest Hits" vinyl albums. A total of 130 television theme songs from the fifties, sixties and seventies! Reading through the titles listed on the cover, Craig does have a point. If we were to name television shows with great theme music, most of the titles we'd be blaring out would be from that particular era. The Eighties did see a decline in the number of decent theme songs, followed by a very dead period in the nineties. We could probably remember a few decent theme songs from a few shows from the nineties, but we'd never be able to yell them out in succession as we could do with older titles.
     
  12. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

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    Six Feet Under
    The Sopranos
    Friends
    Buffy The Vampire Slayer (music only)
    Angel (music only)
    Firefly
    My So Called Life (music only)
    Family Guy
    Felicity (both the original, and mostly the "new version of you" version)
    ALIAS (music only)
    South Park

    All of these had themes written for them, but I do agree that a lot of shows recently have been abandoning the concept... Think of how many catchy ones from the past you can remember, and now think of them now...
     
  13. WillG

    WillG Producer

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    I think maybe I put my foot in my mouth on my above post with the "Specifically Written For" Phrase. I was certainly wrong about that. But I think the "Theme Song" is somewhat of a lost art these days with some notable exceptions.
     
  14. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Don't think it was specially written, IIRC from one of the commentary tracks.

    Deja vu: I'm pretty sure a similar thread popped up several months ago; I remember suggesting that I rather liked the theme to Greg The Bunny, where the lyrics were taking the piss out of the whole concept of puppets and humans living alongside each other.

    But yes, theme songs/music does seem like a fading art, with notable current exceptions like West Wing. Remember the likes of Hawaii Five-O, Battlestar Galactica, even the A-Team and Miami Vice? Or for that matter, consider Star Trek:TOS and maybe TNG, against Enterprise today...
     
  15. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Aw, give Enterprise a break. The way the song meshed with the pictures was great during the first two seasons (though it's a mess today); I think a lot of fans were just resistant to change.

    Voyager had a beautiful theme/credit sequence, but it wasn't particularly indicative of anything.

    Monk has had two great original themes (yeah, I'm partial to Randy Newman), and The Handler now has a pretty spiffy one, after going without for its first month.

    Still, I can't say I really miss them. When you consider that shows are down to about 40 minutes of actual story nowadays, I mildly resent anything that might be cutting into that - whether it be advertising, beginning-of-show recaps, mid-show recaps, or even a theme.
     
  16. Craig: Mclaren

    Craig: Mclaren Second Unit

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    The theme tune is one of THE most important things that keeps a show alive in the publics mind after its intial run. A catchy 60 second theme tune is a must and this has to be brought back as standard. Examples (UK and US)
    1960's
    Doctor Who
    The Addams Family
    Mission Impossible
    The Saint
    The Avengers
    Thunderbirds
    Stingray
    Star Trek
    Ironside
    Man from Uncle
    Peter Gunn (its really the 1950's but heh!)
    Hawaii Five-O

    1970's
    Starsky and Hutch
    Charlies Angels
    SWAT
    Benny Hill
    The Persuaders
    Kojak
    Streets of San Francisco
    The Sweeney
    Wonder Woman
    MASH
    Taxi (was this written for the show by Bob James??)
    Happy Days
    The Professionals
    Rockford Files
    Chips

    1980's
    Miami Vice
    Knight Rider
    The A Team
    Quantum Leap
    St Elsewhere
    The Equalizer (perhaps the best title sequence/music ever?)
    Dallas
    Cagney and Lacey
    Magnum P.I.
    Dempsey and Makepeace
    Taggart
    Dynsty
    Airwolf
    Police Squad
    TJ Hooker
    Cheers
    Bergerac
    Hill Street Blues

    1990's
    Twin Peaks
    E.R
    The Simpsons
    Friends
    The X-Files
    NYPD Blue (not the most memorable but still good)


    It is a dieing art. We have no classic theme tunes anymore in the UK (though we don't have any decent UK series to stick them on so that may be the case!)

    The Shield is a great show. Theme tune wise its forgetable. 24's intro works fine but back in the day you know it would have had funky guitar and saxaphone solos! Bring back orchestra's, driving guitars, thumping basslines, synth etc. Just cause its the noughties doesn't mean we have to be boring. You know you want catchy theme tunes again. The last thing american TV needs is more room for commercials so that George Foreman can sell his "Lean, Mean, Grilling machine". All we are asking for is another 30 seconds and a bit of musicianship again.
     
  17. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    That's a good list, but surely you know that the M*A*S*H theme was originally written for the movie!
     
  18. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    Sadly, I'd prefer to see just a title screen for a TV show, and more time dedicated to the program itself. I hate those minute-long songs that drag down the show. Just MHO.
     
  19. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Which would be wholly inappropriate for that show. It's about tension and there being no time to waste, so diving right in rather than wasting a minute on repeating the same thing where nothing new happens every week is absolutely the right way to go.
     
  20. Raasean Asaad

    Raasean Asaad Supporting Actor

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    I have to say that i disagree with the statement that "The Shield" theme isn't a great TV show theme. I think its an excellent staccato sonic collage the symbolizes the crazy hectic life of Det. Vic Mankey.
     

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