Monday, November 28, 2022

tv show themes

Uh-oh, Rolling Stone has named The 100 Greatest TV Theme Songs of All Time, and there's plenty to disagree with here. (Starting, no doubt, with their all being American.) I went through the whole thing, and ignoring that there were a few for which they had the wrong video, or there was no video, or it's been taken down already, I found I only recognized 30 of the 100 (101, actually). Of course that's largely due to how little television I've watched, though there are a couple shows (Cheers, All in the Family) that I recognize the songs even though I didn't watch the show. I know the Olympics fanfare solely from having heard it played on kazoo at Golfimbul awards ceremonies at Mythcons. On the other hand there are some shows I know I've seen at least a few episodes of that the song made no impact on my memory.

But what strikes me mostly is how bad or simply nugatory some of the listed items are. True, Seinfeld and Star Trek (among those I do remember) are iconic shows and their themes consequently historically important, but musically they're pretty worthless. Of the 70 themes I didn't know there were exactly two that I liked on first hearing: Terriers and Game of Thrones (yes, that's right, I have never seen this show: not one clip, until the opening credits just now).

Of the comedies I watched as a kid, I'm pleased they got in the two best musically: The Addams Family and I Dream of Jeannie, as well as several others which weren't quite so good (but not Get Smart?)

Turning to dramas, I see they also have two of the best songs from shows I watched, Mission: Impossible and Hawaii Five-O (an incredibly dull police procedural show, Hawaii Five-O was worth watching only for the theme song, and in those days watching the show was the only way to hear it). But for exciting and memorable drama show theme songs, nothing beats a British show which is probably thereby off their radar even though it played in the US, The Prisoner.

Another thing that astonished me is their inclusion of some anemic theme for the 1970s version of one game show, The Match Game, when the 1960s version of the same show had the catchiest song ever given to a game show, which was this. Somehow, unlike the songs for other shows I'd watched, this one had completely faded out of my memory until I heard the song without identification about 20 years later, at which point I started climbing the walls in frustration until I established what it was and where I had heard it before.

Well, we could go on.

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