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There are those TV shows which have themes/intros/opening credits, and then there are those that have amazing themes/intros/opening credits. This thread is to talk about those ones and why you like them as much as you do. Initially, I wanted people to be limited to five, because it's a lot harder, but there are so many great TV themes to choose from and don't want people to go all Sophie's Choice on me. You can use anything you like to determine what the best theme is (the music, the video, a combination of the two, the fancy font etc.) as it's personal to you; the only catch is that you can only list ten. And, without further ado, here are mine in chronological order, as if you made me rank them I'd probably second-guess myself for hours:
Fawlty Towers (1975): Easily the shortest one on this list, but I love the jaunty music that gives hints of all of the farce to come. Bonus points for the signpost changing with each episode and getting dirtier and dirtier. Probably an inspiration for one of the others further down this list.
The Muppet Show (1976): Most of these themes are 'perfect encapsulations' of their respective shows, but I've always felt like this is the most perfect in terms of setting the mood and settling you in to watch 30 minutes of muppety action. And it's really hummable as well.
Cheers (1982): I prefer Frasier as a show, but I do absolutely love the Cheers intro. I love that the still photo of what the bar would have been like in the 20s is a great juxtaposition with the actors' names coming up on the screen at the right moment. And it's so warm and inviting; I just want to go inside and have a drink with all these people!
Murder, She Wrote (1984): This one's a purely nostalgic one. The images aren't really anything but pedestrian, but it's the only TV theme that I can play on the piano from memory, and it has a special place in my heart for that reason. That, and it's addictive as hell.
The Simpsons (1989): A few years ago, this theme would be at the top of any list like this, and it's still pretty perfect as far as themes go. The iconic Danny Elfman score; the parts that have just entered popular culture, the chalkboard, the couch gag. The fact that it's different every time. It's probably the most technically proficient theme out there, even if it's not my favourite any more.
Cowboy Bebop (1998): I'm surprised that, push come to shove, this is my favourite TV theme, but there you go. I love the fast paced nature of everything: the music, the images, the editing. And it just exudes cool! Unlike a lot of the other themes on this list, it's exactly the same every time, but I always get a little chill when I'm watching it, it's just that good. Another perfect encapsulation of the next 24 minutes to come.
The Sopranos (1999): The first of the HBO trifecta (which are all on this list, funnily enough), and the one that I can't help but sing along with, even though the music isn't that memorable on its own. But when combined with all the shots of the New Jersey landscape, it just becomes something else entirely.
The Wire (2002): Like the show, this theme is probably the best example of completely changing things up every season yet still remaining true to its roots at the start. The first season has my favourite musical arrangement (and is subsequently embedded here) but the fourth has my favourite shots and the fifth just looks really nice and I just want to watch them all in a row to compare them!
Deadwood (2004): The best music of any of these themes, bar none. When it crescendos towards the end, it gets me in some sort of emotional spot every time. Another perfect encapsulation of the show's ethos and ethics and everything... now I miss Al Swearengen!
Phineas & Ferb (2007): This one was a little bit of a surprise, to be honest. But it's a very awesome theme in both its construction and its music. Given that music plays such a pivotal role in the show, it would make sense that the theme music is just as good. But it manages to completely explain everything the premise and what the show stands for in a fun and charming way without getting boring or obtuse. And it's bright and peppy and fun to listen to. A surprise, but a well-deserving one.
Ooh Tv Themes! I love them so much, and a great one really adds to the show. That being said... it's going to be hard for me to think of them as I tend to like the theme song if I like the show. And also, listing them from favorite to least favorite is gonna be impossible, so I'll just list them as they come!
(United States Of Tara) Okay, so this one is just from the top of my head because I've been watching it lately, but I gotta say I really do love it. I think the whole pop-up book animation is really awesome, and it really gives you a feel for the show. By that I mean that just by watching the theme song, you can really get a feel for Tara's alters. (and I like how you don't see any of their faces, but only her face at the end) Plus, the song is great, and I think is really fitting for the show.
(Danny Phantom) This one is mainly based on nostalgia, but that doesn't mean it isn't great! First off, the rap/song is just plain awesome. I think it gives you some of the whimsy of the show, and is really fun to sing along to. The images that go with it aren't amazing, but who doesn't love when Danny goes through the floor and then through the wall, when he could have just gone straight through the floor if he had moved over a couple inches?
(Magic School Bus) Again nostalgia based, but I really do think this is a great theme. The song carries the fun and imagination of the show, and is just fun! The song incorporates a ton of episode highlights into it, which is awesome, and the video that goes with is just as fun as the song - and I can't see it getting boring either. Also, I love how the bus honks are incorporated into the music. :D
(Friends) Ah, Friends. I really think that the producers picked a perfect song for the show. I mean it's really fitting of all the bad things that happen to the 6 of them, yet manages to be perky and happy. And also really fun to sing along to, which I think is very important in a Tv show theme song! I can't say too much about the video that goes along with the song, since it changed each season, but I think that the video always managed to highlight particularly funny moments throughout the season which is a plus to keeping the theme interesting each episode in my eyes.
(The Walking Dead) *This is a really bad quality video, with the song being cut off at the beginning and being higher pitched but it was the best I could find* Now, usually I wouldn't say a theme song without words is a good or great theme song. But with The Walking Dead, I'd have to say it works. The tune is really good, and captures the feeling of the show. I think that if it had had words, then it would've brought the viewer out of the feeling that the first couple minutes had been trying to instill. And I think the images that go with it, while not spectacular really work for the song. If it had a whole bunch of zombies running around, then it'd feel like just another zombie show instead of one about the characters.
(Just a link for this one!) (Dollhouse) Again, a theme song without words. Whereas most of the one's above were my favorite for the song, this one is my favorite for the video. I love how the Diorama Effect is used to make parts of the video look like the people and landscapes in it are dolls in a model environment. It's just really cool in my opinion. Also I love the eery "jingle" or whatever you would call it at the end. Perfect.
(CSI Las Vegas) This one I like for kind of a different reason. Usually the theme song is shown (if I can remember correctly) after something gory or dark has happened, so I like it because it's a nice break from a lot of the heaviness the show carries at the beginning. Also, it's reaaally fun to sing along to, so there's that. Like really fun to sing along to.
(Scrubs) This one is more because the show was just awesome. But the opening is good too, it's short sweet and to the point, and the little song is definitely relevant to the show. Also, the video that goes along with it is pretty cool too. I don't know, but I just love it's simplicity, and I think it definitely gives you the feeling of the show. (the sadder parts at least)
(Kim Possible) I love this theme song. Usually when a show has video clips from the season, there's no audio of the clips. In this theme, the audio is there, and fitted into the theme really nicely. Also, it's a pretty rocking theme! It definitely captures the characters and the fun of the show in the video, and gives you the main premise in the song. It's great!
(Phil Of The Future) I forgot about this show until this thread (where I started thinking about all the shows I had ever seen) and this one has an excellent theme song. It's fun, quirky and just... there's something about it that is just plain awesome! "He's a twenty-second century man!"
Holy crap, I never knew how complicated this would be until I actually thought about it. Here goes.
Ever watch Cybersix? It's this old Argentinian comic which was adapted into a 13-episode cartoon and aired pretty much everywhere but the US. The plot is good, the animation is good, but that theme - I love everything about it from the actual song to the video. It's definitely worth watching, at the very least to watch that opening 13 times. Also there's a panther.
This is the only song that instantly puts a smile on my face and makes me want to sing along every time because it's just so legendary. I love The Jeffersons. It's one of those shows that I really want to watch more of, but I get sidetracked and just end up listening to the theme over and over.
There's really nothing to say. It's catchy. It's got that nostalgia flair to it.
>Shakugan no Shana III
Serment is one of my favorite songs of all time, period. I love Mami Kawada. This song is just so...I can't describe how it makes me feel but 0:48 gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. The full version is even better but I like the actual opening video for the straight 3-second focus on Wilhelmina. I'd love to make her maid outfit one day.
>Chuunibyou demo Koi ga ****ai!
I really enjoy Sparkling Daydream. I like ZAQ as a whole, actually. This makes the list because both the audio and video at 0:58. Woop woop. But yeah, I play this song in osu! fairly frequently and it's hard to focus because of the constantly-shifting screen. If you just watch it and try to alternate sides with your eyes, you'll notice that it's kind of off-beat and hard to do.
Kanako Itou's another one of my vocal crushes. Her voice is just so unique and Hacking to the Gate is a good song, although I prefer the second verse that's used in the opening of Steins;Gate for the last couple of episodes (the last bit's not part of it, of course). I much prefer the lyrics of the second verse to the first.
>To Aru Majutsu no Index II
More Mami Kawada? Oh man, I've gotta be kidding. But I'm not. The growing intensity of the song is really appealing to me. And her voice, of course. See VisionS is on her Best Of album that just came out like a week ago but I forgot to preorder it or anything so I'll get it when I get paid next time.
>Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo
Okay it's actually an ending and not an opening, but I just really REALLY love this song and I want a full version really badly. To be perfectly honest, I've been putting this on repeat when I work at houses where the people let me wear headphones and I've just been dancing around their houses while I clean. Not in front of them, of course. But yeah, this is one of the few songs regardless of language that I know all of the words to (so far; still needs a full version).
Sometimes I call my friend at 4 in the morning on days when he has some brutal tests back-to-back in the morning and I sing this into the phone.
To Be Loved is one of my favorite English songs and I didn't mind the edited version for Raw's opening. There are just so many good things about that song that made condensing it into 36 seconds really difficult. Still, it was great to hear every week.