The Fellowship of the Geeks’ Top TV Theme Songs

Pop culture is weird. I find it to be one of those concepts that defies definition in a lot of ways. But I think that has more to do with the idea that it’s truly different for each of us. Pop culture is essentially what I like, and it’s what you like… each of us has our own pop culture.
Music plays a large role in that, as does television and movies. The things we’re exposed to throughout our experience. Things that evoke an emotional reaction. And another thing that the Internet Age has given us, or at least made “a thing,” is the Top Ten List.
Before I get too far into this, thank you to the Ghosts for giving me this opportunity to ramble at you on their website. And now, before they come to their senses and yank away the microphone, as it were, here’s my top ten TV theme songs.

CSI – This show has been around a while, and has had its fair share of spinoffs. I also think it’s fair to say that the creators are big fans of The Who. I also dig their music, so here they are on my list.

The Flintstones – Confession time: I don’t actually watch a lot of TV. Not now, anyway. But my childhood was loaded with reruns of old shows, and my brain has always latched on to patterns, including musical ones. I’ve got more old show themes on this list than new ones, is what I’m saying. And The Flintstones is a memorable one, even if just for the wide range of sounds in it. Listen and you’ll hear what I mean.

Dukes of Hazzard – Okay, I know this might be a controversial choice these days. The show contained some historically insensitive imagery, and would almost certainly not be allowed on the air today. But what the show did with combining music and narration was a rare thing, and worth noting in a list like this.

Welcome Back, Kotter – I’m not sure the theme for this show was particularly meaningful, even for its time. But it’s actually a good song in its own right, and John Sebastian (who was already a music icon in his own right) gives an awesomely mellow performance. It’s the kind of theme that sets the perfect mood for the show.

Law & Order – This one almost feels like a cheat, because it’s on this list as much for the “dun dun” thing between scenes as for the Mike Post theme played during the credits. Iconic doesn’t begin to describe this one.

Perry Mason – This show is a fundamental one in the history of police shows in general. And its theme is one of those instantly recognizable ones. You’ve heard it, trust me. And that it was gleefully covered by the Blues Brothers doesn’t hurt at all.

Happy Days – I felt that I couldn’t leave this one off of my list. It’s another one that’s so iconic that I recently heard a cover version in a commercial online (I think it was on YouTube, and I don’t remember the product, but even a slowed-down version is easy to spot).

The Monkees – This one also feels like a cheat, given that this show was created as a vehicle for the music. But doggone it, I liked the show and I like the music. Even if it was “master planned” and marketing driven. And seriously, I challenge you to find a hit song in that time period that didn’t use studio musicians 😉

Batman The Animated Series – This is a show that I could write a whole article about (we’ve talked about it on my podcast, so shameless plug, I guess). And yes, they borrowed the theme from the hit film that had just come out. But that honestly just helped to set the tone for the show, and it was an amazing show.

Batman (1966) – I’m sure there are more, or at least equally, iconic TV themes out there. But who doesn’t know the “na na na na na na na na” bit of this song? I mean, seriously. It’s ingrained in the brains of an entire generation, and still has a life of its own today.

Honorable mentions:

Star Trek – I admit to some bias on this one; this show was my “in” to geekdom. It was a different kind of show when it came out, and the theme was a great indicator of that. And it still sounds awesome to this day, in my humble opinion.
M*A*S*H – The theme for this show is actually easy to overlook. Unless, of course, you’ve heard the theme from the film that inspired it. If you’re not aware, the song is titled Suicide is Painless, and yes, it has lyrics. You really should listen to it to judge for yourself…
Sesame Street – You were a kid once, right? Then you know this one. Probably should have made the list, to be honest.
Night Court – This was a good show back in the 1980s, probably as a comedic reaction to the decades of serious crime shows that we’d already been exposed to. But oooooh, that slap bass… gotta love it.
The Twilight Zone – And I just had to include this one; it’s simply too iconic to leave off of any list of this nature. People know this music without knowing anything about the show, and that’s saying something given how iconic the show is.

Again, thanks to the Ghosts for letting me play in their sandbox.

Come check out my show, The Fellowship of the Geeks Podcast, at our website, or search us up wherever you get your podcasts.

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