10 Greatest TV Themes of All Time

Categories: Lists

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Freaks and Geeks
Oh you don't own a TV? How brave.

Seriously -- people love bragging about not watching TV, but they're missing out. Whether watching live, on Netflix, or on DVD, there's almost nothing as fun as zoning out in front of the TV.

We're partial to music too (you might have guessed), so when we started chatting about our favorite television theme songs, things progressed -- pretty quickly -- and before you know it, we had this blog for you: Up on the Sun's 10 Favorite, Greatest, Coolest, Pretty Awesome, Television Themes of All Time (Or Right Now, At Least, When We Had to Come Up With Them).

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Dexter

There's really no such thing as a "good" serial killer, is there?

Dexter's writers would lead you to believe there's at least one in the world. After all, he only kills bad guys! Not accounting for the few exceptions he made when people got in his way. Or when he outright mistakenly kills the wrong person. Oops!

Let's face it. Half the time we're just rooting for him because he's handsome. A Dexter portrayed by Steve Buscemi would never get away with this shit. No one roots for big droopy wet eyes anymore. (Editor's note: Wait? I'm the only one actively pulling for Nucky on Boardwalk Empire?)

And a Dexter theme not inspired by Michael C. Hall wouldn't be nearly as sexy. On its own, the Rolfe R. Kent-penned title song is worthy of praise, but put in context with the rest of the show, it's intensely brilliant. It's a bone chilling mix of eastern European stringed instruments, bassoon, electric piano, sax, violin, uncommon percussion, and mysterious, ominous tones that blends friendly, familiar sounds with awkwardly beautiful disruptions -- maybe the perfect musical comparison of what it's like to live in the mind of a "nice" serial killer trying his hardest to overcome his sickness.

The tune builds up the scale, then quickly descends a handful of times, giving the impression of falling -- failing maybe. Close to being caught, perhaps. But it picks right back up again, just as Dexter always does. -- Christina Caldwell

Freaks and Geeks

It seems like every great television show is doomed to only last a few seasons (cough cough, Arrested Development). The outcome was even worse for the doomed classic Freaks and Geeks, which was on the air for a measly single season (though its stars went on to great acclaim, especially James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segel). For eighteen episodes we were charmed by Lindsay Weir, her poor decisions, and her hilariously critical father, and then...poof! It's a shame that we'll never know if she became a mathlete or a Deadhead.

Joan Jett's rousing teen angst anthem is the perfect soundtrack for these high school kids that (mostly) take pride in their identities as burnouts or geniuses. The opening sequence speaks volumes about these characters, from Franco's zoned out smirk to Bill Haverchuck's fake grin. Jett's theme speaks to the misfit idea -- the power of not giving a damn, or at least trying to make sure you don't seem like you give a damn -- that makes Freaks & Geeks so enduring. -- Melissa Fossum


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23 comments
WeWhoEat
WeWhoEat

Am I the only one that's completely shocked that this list contains nothing (save taxi) from the golden era of TV themes; the 70s?  Hawaii 5-0, SWAT, Streets of San Francisco, Dallas just to name a few.  Although not from that era, but definitely along the same lines are Hill Street Blues and Cheers and Miami Vice.  Those themes hit you with impact and you enjoyed every moment of the opening credits; they were nearly as much an experience as the show was.

Robden Brethauer
Robden Brethauer

Dallas, Boston Legal, The Sopranos and The Dukes of Hazzard!

Leah Miller
Leah Miller

Nanny and the professor - look it up!

Brad West
Brad West

Sledge Hammer! or the original Lalo Schrifin Starsky & Hutchison.

Natalie Gossen
Natalie Gossen

Why the heck was Fresh Prince of Bel-Air not listed?

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

You missed Movin' On Up from the Jeffersons.

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