TV theme songs are a lost art form. That’s not my opinion, that’s the genuine reality of the current television landscape. So many series these days think it’s enough to display a 5-second title card with a few musical notes and call it their theme song. Back in the day, TV theme songs used to introduce you to a show. Some of them would reveal the entire premise performed by an aging cruise singer. Others would simply use a really catchy melody to reel viewers in. Either way, theme songs have been an integral part of television as an art form and I’m here to give them their due.
I will be counting down the top 50 television theme songs of all time over the next few days. The rankings and omissions found in the countdown are my personal opinion and not entirely reflective of the common television viewer. However, some themes are so iconic regardless of my own personal opinion that they deserve a spot on the list.
Click here to view the shows that came in at No. 50-41.
Click here to view the shows that came in at No. 40-31.
Featured in this post will be No. 30-21.
Here we go:
30. Mission: Impossible
One of the coolest theme songs in TV history, the Mission: Impossible theme has become so widespread that it has almost become synonymous with secrecy and spying. The song actually manages to mimic someone trying to sneak up on another person despite its relatively fast tempo. Though it has been often parodied in commercials, it deserves a spot on this list for originality.
29. Peter Gunn
One of the only TV themes to actually win a Grammy, the Peter Gunn theme is surprisingly unknown in the modern age. The song is a swinging jazz number that sounds remarkably modern despite the series premiering in 1958. A surprisingly moody theme given the era, it stands out among other cheesy, cheery themes from the ’50s.
28. Dawson’s Creek
“I don’t wanna wait–FOR OUR LIVES TO BE OVER!!!” This dramatic pleading in the Dawson’s Creek theme accurately represented the show’s wangst and gave misunderstood teenagers of the ’90s a new anthem to sing about their doomed relationships. The song is almost comedic upon reflection, but it is undoubtedly an unforgettable classic.
27. Growing Pains
Many of the beloved family sitcoms of the ’80s have the most memorable, beloved theme songs. There’s something so wonderfully sweet about the Growing Pains theme that it has become nostalgic and emotional regardless of its cheesy lyrics. It’s hard to not sing along to this theme, especially if you’re home alone. Just sayin’.
26. Game of Thrones
One of the best instrumental TV themes of all time, the Game of Thrones theme is a fantastic representation of the show’s medieval setting. The song sounds like it wouldn’t be out of place in the show’s various battle scenes and represents the masculine strength of the show through pounding drums as well as its feminine strength with its melody.
I can’t think of a single theme song in TV history that matches the star’s comedic personality as much as Roseanne‘s. The theme is a brassy, harmonica-driven number that matches Roseanne’s sarcastic personality brilliantly. Like many themes on this list, the Roseanne theme could not be any show’s but Roseanne‘s and that’s what makes it stand out.
24. Three’s Company
The theme to Three’s Company is a fun little tune that fit right in with the disco-heavy music stylings of the ’70s. Though it may sound dated nowadays, it accurately matched the fun-loving nature of the show and became one of the most memorable theme songs of all time.
23. True Blood
One of the best modern-day theme songs on television surprised me when True Blood first premiered in 2008. The True Blood theme song features country singer Jace Everett singing about wanting to “do bad things with you” and perfectly sums up the pulpy nature of the often graphic show. I firmly believe this will go down as a modern-day classic theme song.
22. Gilligan’s Island
A perfect representation of a theme song spelling out the entire plot of the show, the theme to Gilligan’s Island is a toe-tapping sea shanty with a memorable chorus. The sitcom may have strained credulity at times but you could never say you didn’t know who was involved as the classic theme song listed everyone in the main cast with enthusiasm.
21. The Brady Bunch
Much like Gilligan’s Island, the theme song to this sickeningly sweet sitcom explained the entire premise behind the show. The Brady Bunch theme song is a classic, even if the show’s cast never had the greatest singing voices. The song can easily be identified from the first “Here’s the story…”, making it one of the most memorable theme songs of all time.
That’s all for now. Check back in next time for No. 20-11.
Feel free to comment below on any of my choices and make suggestions for what should be in my top 10!
Thanks for reading.