I've indulged in a LOT of television over the years. I won't even bother listing every show I've seen all the way through - that can remain a discussion for another time. Television shows often have a theme song. Depending on it's quality and memorability, you'll either skip right past it or patiently listen to it all the way through because you enjoy it. Really good theme songs can really set the mood for every episode and capture the spirit of the show incredibly well. I will now proceed to list five of my favourite television themes!
Please note that Breaking Bad and The Big Bang Theory are two shows that didn't make the list but deserve honourable mention.
5) Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones is currently among the best shows on television and will also be remembered as one of the best television series of all time. It would be a crime for it to not have a theme that lives up to its standards. What can I say that hasn't already been said about this theme? The music is grand, majestic and perfectly sets the mood for the hour that's going to follow. The fact that it's entirely based around and follows the map to reacquaint us with the geography of the world is a touch of genius. Ramin Djawadi has gone on to provide some excellent tracks throughout the course of the series but this'll always remain his most memorable one.
4) South Park
From the fun little intro, the lyrics, the visuals of the town and scenes from the show that change over time to the individual parts sung by the main characters, everything about this theme is genius. It perfectly sets the tone for the twenty minutes of wacky, absurd fun that is going to follow by giving us a glimpse of our protagonists and establishing the location. It reminds you of why you love the show and have followed it despite all the hard times and rough patches over the last few years. It's also quite hilarious in a typical South Park manner and Kenny's part is pure gold.
Merrill Barr over at Forbes has consistently maintained that Suits is one of the most underrated shows on television, and I agree. However, the reasoning for that and the high quality of Suits would make for a good post in the future. So without digressing further, I love the Suits theme song because it's catchy, enjoyable, and stylishly played over an opening montage that perfectly captures the essence and spirit of the show. A YouTube commentator said "If I keep repeatedly listening to this song I will become successful in life". While that may be an exaggeration, you get the idea as to why this is so perfectly suited to a show about hotshot lawyers living the corporate dream. I'd never heard of IMA Robot before this song but have now checked out and enjoyed more of their work!
I'll be honest, I believe this one is perhaps only so high up on the list because of the recency effect. Only this year did I watch all the seasons of this show and I followed them up with the film. Now, the world has not been kind to Entourage recently and I know that. I will never claim that it was a great show in line with others on this list or that it'll be as memorable. I complete acknowledge all of it's flaws and understand why it has received the hate it has over the last few years.
With all that out the way, I still love it. It's bloody good for what it is. After long days of class, studying and work, myself and a few of my "bro's" would kick back every night with a couple of beers and simply enjoy giving in to this male fantasy. The theme would set the mood perfectly for that. It's not a memorable song but so damn well in context to the show! The way it's synchronized to visuals of the boys riding off and seeing the cast names flashing around Hollywood is genius. The image of the 4 guys getting out of their convertible to the tune of "Ohhhh yeaaaaaahhhh" will be forever ingrained in my memory.
When I started this list, I was fairly uncertain of what order I'd end up ranking these themes in and have shuffled them about a fair amount. The one I had absolutely no doubt about though, was that this will be at the top. 11 years after the show has wrapped up, you can play this song at a party/social gathering and you'd be hard pressed to find someone that doesn't recognize it. Almost every theme song on this list has been done "Friends Style" in a fan video because that's how simple, elegant and iconic it is. That couch. That fountain. All their names flashing as we see glimpses of their antics from the previous season. Chandler's dancing. I would equate this to "lightning in a bottle", as it's incredibly rare and doesn't happen too often. Arguably one of the most popular and beloved themes of all time, I'm a sucker for this one and can never get enough of it. "I'll be there for you" are five words that have gone on to influence and shape many generations - and will probably continue to do so.
And that was my list! Now, do remember - I do not claim that these are technically the best in this very order - in fact I know they're not! These are simply the ones I like the most for many reasons that are personal and everyone's list will look different! Fire off in the comments below to tell me about your favourites!