Weekend Roundtable: Favorite TV Show Theme Songs

They’re creepy and they’re kooky. Mysterious and spooky. They’re altogether ooky. They’re… TV show theme songs! In this week’s Roundtable, we talk about some of our favorites.

M. Enois Duarte

As a kid, I was a huge fan of the TV show ‘The Greatest American Hero‘ and even loved the theme song “Believe It or Not.” Something about the lyrics and music caught my attention, along with the show capturing my imagination. I remember waiting patiently every week for new episodes to premiere, and would sing with the opening credits every time. I was also heartbroken when I learned for the first time that a show could be canceled. I’m actually such a dork for this particular theme song that I bought the vinyl with a collection of Mike Post’s music, the man behind such memorable TV tunes as ‘The A-Team’, ‘Quantum Leap’, ‘The Rockford Files’, ‘CHiPs’, ‘Doogie Howser’, Law & Order’ and ‘Magnum, P.I.’. After all these years, I still have the chorus memorized.


Luke Hickman

I was one of those nerdy little kids who could hear a theme song once and hum it back to you a week later. (Who am I kidding? I still am!) This always marveled my old man. We’d play a game where he’d name a current television show and I’d hum the theme. Back then, and even now, my favorite theme song was ‘Airwolf‘. I’ve since tried watching episodes on YouTube, but they’re too terrible to get through. Even so, that’s still an amazing theme song that I can hum anytime.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

I’ll break the rules and chop my answer up into two categories. I didn’t even have to stop and think about what my favorite animated TV theme song would be: ‘M.A.S.K.‘ What’s not to like? It’s rockin’, it’s drenched in those distinctively ’80s synths, and I can’t get enough of that vocoderized “Muh-muh-muh-muh MASK!”

For my favorite live-action theme song, I’ll go with ‘Wonderfalls‘, a criminally underappreciated series with a criminally underappreciated theme song. XTC is one of my absolute all-time favorite bands, and honestly, the fact that Andy Partridge wrote the ‘Wonderfalls’ theme was the biggest reason I tuned into the show. I got to hear it exactly three times on the air before Fox pulled the rug out from under ‘Wonderfalls’, but at least I have that DVD set to cue up over and over and over.

Tom Landy

There are many catchy TV show theme songs out there, but my personal favorite has to be “Long Hard Times to Come” by Gangstagrass (featuring TONE-z) from the FX series ‘Justified‘. This odd mishmash of hip hop and hillbilly twang is a blast and never fails to bring a smile to my face every time I hear it. In fact, I love the tune so much that I actually have it as the ring tone on my cell phone.

Wayne Rowe

Easy one: The theme song to ‘Smallville‘: Remy Zero’s “Save Me.” Remy’s one hit wonder ALWAYS started Smallville off right. Love it.

[Sorry, I couldn’t find an embeddable version of this clip. You’ll need to jump over to YouTube to watch it. -JZ]

Dick Ward

I thought about selecting one of those wonderful, lyrical theme songs from shows like ‘Animaniacs’, ‘Freakazoid’ or ‘The Muppets’, but for me there’s just nothing that compares to the end theme of the CBC show ‘The Raccoons‘. Ending themes count, right? The song sounds like a fully-fledged ’80s tune, but it was actually created just for the show and is sung by the actress who played Lisa Raccoon. The show doesn’t entirely hold up these days, even if the environmental message still seems pretty on point. The ending theme does, though. It was actually released as a single in 2006 by one of my very favorite English synthpop bands, Spray. Unfortunately, there’s no music video from Spray on YouTube. Fortunately, there’s a video of the Spray version over a Doctor Who montage. Run With Us. How appropriate.

Original Ending Theme:

Spray version:

Mike Attebery

The Golden Girls‘. There, I’ll admit it. This is my favorite. I could come up with lots of explanations about nostalgia and watching the show as a kid while my parents had dinner parties, but really, I just love this theme song. There’s nothing more to say.

Aaron Peck

I’m going way back with this one, but I’ll have to say that my favorite TV theme song, which still makes regular appearances in my brain, causing me to sing along apropos of nothing, is the ‘Saved by the Bell‘ theme. I watched that show religiously, and it’s simply one of those tunes that sticks with you no matter how hard you try to forget about it. Plus, the song always had that Pavlovian aspect. I’d start drooling during the opening guitar riff because I knew that in seconds I’d be watching Tiffani Thiessen for the next 20 minutes. Those were the days.


Josh Zyber

At the moment, I’m currently loving the creepy ‘American Horror Story’ theme. But I don’t know that you can really call that a “song,” per se, and it’s too new to really qualify as one of my all time faves. One theme song that I absolutely never got tired of, over nearly a hundred hours of television, was the use of “C’mon C’mon” by The Von Bondies for the opening credits to ‘Rescue Me‘. It’s the perfect marriage of song and visuals and tone. It never failed to get me geared up for the show.

Honorable mention to Del Shannon’s “Runaway” for Michael Mann’s ‘Crime Story’ series. What a great show (the first season, anyway), and the perfect way to set the mood.

Finally, here’s one for Mrs. Z, who wanted to participate this week but didn’t have time to do a write-up:


What are your favorite TV show theme songs? Tell us in the Comments.


  1. Alex

    Love this Topic!!!!

    Growing up my favorite TV Theme was probably Knight Rider. Now that’s some quality 80’s electronica. MacGuyver and A-Team also had some classic themes that still make me smile to this day.

    As far as recent shows, “This Life” from Sons of Anarchy is one of my favorites. I even downloaded the Celtic Remix which they used for a few episodes in Season 3 while Samcro was in Ireland.

    • Alex

      Woo hoo!

      Actually, now that I think about it, a lot of those early 90’s Disney shows had good theme songs. Chip ‘N Dale’s Rescue Rangers and Darkwing Duck were pretty terrific too.

    • It was a glorious time on television. ‘Rescue Rangers,’ ‘Duck Tales,’ ‘Tailspin,’ and ‘Dark Wing Duck.’ Oh where did all the decent cartoons go?

      • Prydie

        Don’t forget Gummi Bears! I still remember the words to all those Disney cartoon theme songs. Do they still make anthropomorphic cartoons?

  2. JM

    3rd place is a three-way between Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, and True Blood.

    2nd best is Twin Peaks.

    The gold medal goes to John Williams’s Olympic Fanfare and Theme.

    But the Titanium Prize for TV theme experiences is the Seinfeld Superman Montage

    • Alex

      Firefly’s got a great theme (“The Ballad of Serenity”). I’m curious, though, which Battlestar you’re referring to. Personally, while I love the new version of the show, I totally dig the 70’s show’s theme: a gloriously brassy rip-off of Star Wars Main Title.

      Which music, if I’m not mistaken, showed up briefly in the pilot of the new series.

        • Alex

          It wasn’t technically the theme song (though it did encompass a bunch of the themes), but I love the Bear McCreary version of “All along the Watchtower” that showed up in Season 3 of Battlestar. Terrific arrangement: aggressive, exotic, and operatic.

  3. You know what Mr. Attebery? If you threw a party and invited everyone you knew, you would see the biggest gift would be from me, and the card attached would read: “Thank you for being a friend.”

  4. SWAT. say what you will about the show. it’s was ok i have the first season on DVD. would love the second season sony, if your reading this. 🙂 anyway the theme was like the first theme i heard as a kid before one of my parents picked me up off the floor and put me to be. i still hum the song from time to time if i’m avoiding traffic. 🙂

    • Prydie

      I once rapped the Fresh Prince theme song at a karaoke bar to rapturous applause. People love Will Smith…

  5. Brian Haney

    awesome topic!!! God the MASK, Airwolf, and Saved by the Bell takes me back. I still have the record of Greatest American Hero song on my Fisher Price record player. At least now these can get stuck in my head vs the damn Little Einsteins from Disney channel that my little ones watch.

  6. So, my original post was kicked out as spam, I guess from all my links. I am going to try to break it down into two or three posts and see if it will take it:

    You know, I may not gain any fans, but all time favorite theme song is to Enterprise:


    Second favorite is Stargate Atlantis:

    Third favorite is probably Stargate SG-1. Of course, each season has a different opening, but the song is the same”

  7. Luke Hickman

    I know it’s an actual song, but how great was “With a Little Help from my Friends” by Joe Cocker as ‘The Wonder Years’ theme?!

    • Alex

      Yeah, and the Netflix version couldn’t secure the rights, so it’s some cheap, studio-singer, Joe Cocker knock off. It just doesn’t feel right.

      • Are you kidding me?

        WTF? Hollywood can’t you even get along together? I understand going after pirates but this is the reason that people pirate your stuff to begin with.

        A new generation isn’t going to discover Joe Cocker if they have to BUY his CD’s to even know he exists!


        • This seems to be happening more and more. Married With Children couldn’t get the Love and Marriage song, so for the Netflix versions (and supposedly the DVDs too), we get some crappy song that sounds like some college student wrote it in an hour. Copyright laws suck! I don’t think we need to do away with Copyright, but some type of revamp of the system is needed.

  8. Kevin

    “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (even if it is just the “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” theme)

    “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” (the extended version of “Go Go Power Rangers”)

    “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (the 80s series)

    “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”


    “The Sopranos”

    “The Kids in the Hall”

  9. Futurama
    Highlander The Series
    Hercules the Legendary Journeys
    Game of Thrones (possibly the most awesome opening theme music ever, gets me pumped to watch every episode. Been humming it to myself when I’m working on something)

  10. Okay, the BEST TV opening theme ever is the one for The Prisoner.

    Personal favorites include Cheers, Welcome Back Kotter, Tales of the Gold Monkey, Now & Again, The Sopranos, and Hawaii Five-O.

  11. Scott H

    Alot of my favorites have been mentioned, but i’ll add the theme song to Phineas & Ferb and the Big Bang Theory

  12. Josh Zyber

    This is the theme to Garry’s show
    The opening theme to Garry’s show
    Gary called me up and asked if I would write his theme song
    I’m almost halfway finished
    How do you like it so far?
    How do you like the theme to Garry’s show?

    This is the theme to Garry’s show
    The opening theme to Garry’s show
    This is the music that you hear as you watch the credits
    We’re almost to the part
    of where I start to whistle
    Then we’ll watch “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show”
    This was the theme to Garry Shandling’s show


  13. Sons of Anarchy always gets me pumped for the episode.

    How To Make It in America is another good one; makes me feel like living in New York City would be so awesome.

    Breaking Bad for the creepy twangy sound.

  14. EM

    I’m astounded I didn’t respond to this topic earlier. Though there have been many great TV theme songs in my life, there’s only one that I’ve ever taken the time and trouble to translate into a different language. Even those among you who don’t know French should easily determine what show’s theme this is:

    Green Acres, c’est où tout va bien
    L’agriculture me convient
    Je raffole de la campagne
    À Manhattan l’on se trouve dans le bagne

    New York est bien plus sympathique
    Moi, le foin me rend allergique
    Moi, j’adore les gratte-ciel
    Chéri, je t’aime, mais Park Avenue m’appelle

    Bon air
    Times Square

    Je suis ton mari
    Adieu, New York City
    Green Acres, nous sommes là