My Top 20 TV Show Themes

As a huge TV fan, I thought it would be fun to make a list of my favourite TV theme songs.  This will not include kids shows – that is for another list!  Adult cartoons are okay, but anything from childhood that was generally for kids will be on another list.  I will also not be including shows that I don’t or have never seen.  For example, the X-Files theme is iconic and super awesome…but I never watched the X-Files so it won’t make the list.  This also means that Cheers won’t make the list because I haven’t seen enough episodes to classify it as being truly watched (one of the best themes ever!).

20. The Walking Dead (2010 – )

The opening theme to the Walking Dead is SO powerful.  It describes the desolate landscape of humanity perfectly.  It’s subtle, but terrifying at the same time.

19. SCTV (1976 – 1981)

SCTV, Canada’s SNL, and honestly, it was a great show.  Really craving watching it now actually!  Iconic theme, iconic series.

18. Saturday Night Live (1975 – )

Yes, I’m using the SNL Korea theme, but they are all variations on the original from 1975.  It’s also hard to find an updated one on YouTube.  This is generally what the American version sounds like.  So jazzy, iconic, and oh so late night.

17. Roseanne (1988 – 1997)

Sticking with the theme of the saxophone, next up is Roseanne.  So damn sultry but somehow it fits this show perfectly.  It makes you wanna bust out a harmonica too.  THAT LAUGH!

16. The Late Show with David Letterman (1993 – 2015)

Paul Schaffer’s iconic theme for the Late Show with David Letterman is just that.  Iconic.  It’s soooooooo late night it’s unbelievable.  I miss David Letterman – I used to watch the Late Show all the time.  The theme song reminds me of the 90s and SNL.

15. Modern Family (2009 – )

It’s fun, silly, and a bit jazzy.  Great ‘modern’ series theme.

14. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 – 1994)

It was a total change from the original theme, but it was still really great.  It’s not silly and playful like the original, it’s serious and bold, which is exactly what this series was.

13. Family Guy (1999 – )

Seth MacFarlane’s love for silly whimsical melodies comes out in the theme song for Family Guy.  It’s a little bit Andy Williams, a little bit All in the Family.  It’s become one of the most iconic theme songs and for good reason.

12. Sex & The City (1998 – 2004)

I am noticing a theme that I like jazzy theme songs, but this is a great one!  It’s jazzy, but it also says ‘cocktail hour’.

11. True Blood (2008 – 2014)

10. Scrubs (2001-2010)

I always thought this was a fantastic theme – it’s fun, emotional, playful, and serious at the same time, which represents everything that this show was.

9. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996)

Who doesn’t love this theme?  I feel like people who have never even seen the show know the words.  After all these years and people are still singing the Fresh Prince theme – that says a lot!

8. Trailer Park Boys (2001- )

I think what I love the most about this theme is that it’s so opposite from what the show really is.  It’s calm, dreamy, relaxing…peaceful – everything the show isn’t.  It doesn’t make any sense, which is why whenever the intro comes on, it’s almost funny because it’s so not representative of any of the characters or plots.

7. Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1969)

This theme is so dreamy and oh-so 60s.  It’s like what people thought space music might sound like 50 years ago.  It’s powerful yet really silly, and that’s why I love it!

6. The Jetsons (1962-1987)

It’s full on jazz with cheesy organs, blasting trumpets, and silly trombones.  It’s just a really unique theme song, everyone is introduced and it really makes you want to watch more.  I LOVE the Jetsons!  Oddly enough, I do like the 80s version of the theme more than the original 60s version.  It’s a lot more refined and the production value is better.  From a musician’s perspective, the composition and instrumentation is just tighter.

5. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000 – )

This theme gets used now to represent ‘fails’ or ‘oops’ moments, but honestly, isn’t it perfect for that?  It represents Larry and his ability to screw things up constantly.  PERFECT fit to this show.

4. 30 Rock (2006-2013)

Jazzy, silly, and oh so showy like the city it takes place in.  The show itself is super quirky and at times bizarre, but that’s what the theme song is.  The score to this show by Jeff Richmond (Tina Fey’s husband) is fantastic.  It was always one of my favourite television scores.

3. Home Improvement (1991-1999)

I love this show because it’s a show about a family from the 90s, which is relatable to me because I was a kid in the 90s.  The theme song; however, is next level awesome.  I could listen to it for hours (oh wait, I have).  It has a great groove AND it uses real sounds from tools because it’s just that cool.  Say what you will about this show and the sexism…the theme song is killer.

2. Seinfeld (1989-1998)

My favourite show didn’t make the top spot theme wise, but it still makes it to #2.  One of the most iconic yet simple themes ever, who doesn’t hear the slap of a bass and think of Seinfeld?  It’s got a great feel and it just has a lot of memories involved for me.  The weird mouth sound effects combined with the electric bass – it’s just one of the best.

1. The Simpsons (1989 – )

Danny Elfman makes it to my #1 spot with the Simpsons theme.  It’s quirky and crazy and full of life, yet it makes you feel so happy when you hear it.  So much is going on and it’s a bit scrambled, but that’s the Simpsons, is it not?  The actual opening paired with the theme is fantastic and throughout the years many variations of the theme have been done and they are all great too.  It’s incredibly orchestral, complex, and represents the show perfectly.  It absolutely deserves to be at the #1 spot.

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