Boob Tubes and earworms

A while ago, I had a discussion with a now-ex girlfriend about TV show themes. She lamented the days of the 60’s, when nearly every show’s theme gave you a basic recap of the premise, so you could jump right in.

That got me thinking about TV show theme songs in general, and how some truly great songs get such great exposure. And since Michelle Catalano’s not doing this sort of thing any more, someone has to pick up the slack.

I’ve arbitrarily split the songs into three categories:

1) Original, intrinsically good songs.

Music written for the show that could stand alone as good songs. This is where I’d put things like the original Battlestar Galactica theme (John Williams coulda wrote it), Sanford And Son (Quincy Jones), and Twin Peaks.

2) Original songs that enhance the show, and vice versa.

These are where my ex-girlfriend’s favorites fall. They really weren’t great songs, but catchy little earworms that you can never forget. The Brady Bunch Green Acres Gilligan’s Island, and The Beverly Hillbillies alll fall into this category, along with more recent pieces like The Greatest American Hero, Cheers, and Friends.

3) Finally, the best adapted song. Here’s where the producers just take an existing song and put it on the show. This leads to such oddball results as an Oscar winner singing an Emmy-winning song for “Married… With Children,” but also such instances as “Life Goes On”‘s remake of the Beatles hit and Dawson’s Creek’s “I Don’t Wanna Wait.”

So, what are some of your favorite TV theme shows?

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