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TV Theme Nostalgia

Discussion in 'TV Show Talk' started by SayWhat?, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. RunnerFL

    RunnerFL Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    Current shows with opening theme songs, with and without lyrics.

    The Big Bang Theory
    Guys With Kids
    Hawaii 5-0
    Happy Endings
    Mike & Molly (Short but still exists)
    2.5 men (most times)
    It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
    Elementary (short but still exists)
    Person of Interest
    30 Rock (ended now though)
    Raising Hope
    How I Met Your Mother (sometimes shorter than others)
    2 Broke Girls
    Modern Family
    ...and I'm sure many others I've missed.

    It's not a dead "art form" by any means. It would probably be easier to count modern shows without theme music these days.
  2. elaclair

    elaclair Rescued Racers Live Here

    Jun 18, 2004
    Del Mar, CA
    The mention of Mike Post made me think of L.A. Law......which for some reason reminded me of Quantum Leap.....
  3. redsoxfan26

    redsoxfan26 Godfather

    Dec 6, 2007
    The little bar in Boston where everybody knows your name. Cheers
  4. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    Jan 18, 2007
  5. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    Aug 31, 2002
    Of course with this we have sidelined out of the realm of nostalgia into present day, but I think this is one of the best themes I've heard in a great while. Speaking as someone who was once a composer and professional musician (and wanted to but was never good enough to score for TV and movies) I think what really sets is off is a single counter-syncopated (lands on "2" rather than "3") snare hit somewhere in the middle that makes you understand that the time signature is more complex that you thought when the theme first starts; it kind of lends a sort of a "shuffle" feel to it. It's brilliant (Keith Moon did much the same thing on "I'm Free" from The Who's Tommy theme album, and it is that single brilliant drum stroke that gives it the right energy and makes that song as good as it is). On BB there is also a trumpet playing a single note a third above the main key at the very end that adds enough complexity and interest to keep the theme from being predictable or too simple. If those two elements were not there I think the theme would be good, but not as terrific. Sets the mood for the show as well. Really neat indeed.

    And I too, am a big fan of the rap/bluegrass theme for Justified. Perfect.

    I know everyone is tired of hearing me rave about Golden Boy but that one has a pretty terrific theme as well. Based on a single slow minor two-chord progression on acoustic piano with some frenetic unidentifiable string plucking lightly over the top; ABA ABA ABA ABA, and out. Really nice; also sets the mood.

    I normally FFWD past show intros, but I always have to hear those three.

    OK, back to nostalgia. Now here's two I really hated:

    X-Files: too predictable and on the nose. Great show; less than mediocre theme
    The Sopranos: everyone said it set the stage for the show and got them excited. Maybe if you're from Jersey it resonates, but it never did for me. ​
    Speaking of hated, the wimpy production music on Yes Dear was enough for me to stop watching it. And here's who is really phoning it in; whoever does that lone keyboard over the single dramatic climactic scene near the end of every Law & Order. He's making that up on the spot, or at least it sure sounds like it. I'm a terrible keyboardist, and I can do that in my sleep.

    Its not TV, but Rob Zombie's theme for The Howard Stern Show is pretty brilliant.
  6. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    Aug 31, 2002
    It is most definitely an art form, and a living breathing one.

    What has changed is the level of competition; with 250 other shows airing in the same time slot and ubiquitous IR remotes, a show had better not exceed your attention span, or it will suffer an early fate. The BB Theory is kind of a throwback, and they take the risk of us surfing the dial for a better option for the 20 seconds or so that we know we will not miss anything. No one else has the balls to risk that.

    Well, maybe Dexter, but we've already paid for that. If you don't wait for the "ding" (and what's up with that?) when he locks his door and walks out of his apartment, then you are not psychologically primed to really enjoy the show. I can't explain it, I just know I have to hear that "ding".

    I think it is familiarity. Familiarity means comfort; we are soothed by getting what we expect, by routine. I think CBS and others take advantage of this with closing themes (usually a 4-bar electric guitar sting over the production company logo). When we hear that it is comforting, and we know we are just seconds away from next week's preview, which is a promo or two away from the next show.

    But even that is disappearing. On Alias you could hear J.J. Abrams' two little kids yelling "Bad Robot!", and by the time Fringe was out, he had a third child and re-recorded it with all three. But I have noticed the "Bad Robot" logo sans sound lately, probably on Person of Interest.
  7. Henry

    Henry Retired Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Pine, CO
    Mission: Impossible.

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