The 100 Greatest TV Themes: 50 - 43

50. Tales From the Crypt
"Tales From the Crypt (Main Title)"
by Danny Elfman

If you've ever been to a haunted house, you've probably been disappointed by a haunted house. The corridors are poorly-painted particle board constructs designed for ease of assembly and disassembly. Even if you wanted to soak up the ambiance, you're rushed along because the haunted house employees are trying to get as many people through as fast as possible. And even if the effect wasn't completely negated, any genuine scares are ruined because you can hear people twenty feet in front of you screaming, indicating the exact place the cast member jumps out and yells 'boo.' This is why I like the Tales From the Crypt theme. It's spooky, it doesn't linger, but it doesn't feel rushed, and it's not operated by the guy who normally runs the log flume.

49. Party of Five
"Closer to Free"
by The BoDeans

In the future, children will come up to me and ask, "Hey old guy, what were the 90's like?"
And I'll tell them, "Here, watch the theme song to Party of Five."
And they'll say, "What's that?"
And I'll say, "It was a drama about a family whose parents were killed in a car accident, and the slacker eldest brother has to accept the responsibility of raising them. It represents the 90's greatly. Everybody had bangs."
And they'll say, "No, what's a theme song?"
And I'll grumble under my breath and say, "Go play with the holosphere."

48. The Simpsons
"The Simpsons Theme"
Composed by Danny Elfman
Arranged by Alf Clausen

According to legend, when Matt Groening tapped Danny Elfman to compose the theme for The Simpsons, Groening gave Elfman a mixtape for inspiration. This tape consisted of The Jetsons theme song, selections from Nino Rota's "Juliet of the Spirits," a Remington electric shaver jingle (composed by Frank Zappa), some easy-listening music by Esquivel (Google it), and a teach-your-parrot-to-talk record. A show with a reputation like The Simpsons needs an immensely powerful theme, and this smorgasbord of peppy music instantly transports you to the city of Springfield. Also this, this and this.

47. Da Ali G Show
by Sacha Baron Cohen

What do you mean it's not a theme song? I think it's a great song. Listen to those awesome lyrics: Wubwubwubwubwub. Hmmmmmmm. Snap. Whiff whiff whiff whiff. Kick, Kick! Stomp. Jingle. Clang. Wikka-wikki. Vrooom. Bruuum! Hallo.


46. The Big Bang Theory
"The History of Everything"
by Barenaked Ladies

A major facet of The Big Bang Theory is science. The main characters are scientists, their interests are science, and a lot of jokes involve science. Granted, a lot of jokes also involve Batman and space toilets, but you have to reach the widest audience possible on network TV. But science! The Big Bang Theory, apart from being a double entendre, is one of the most widely known scientific theories. But for the three people who may not be familiar, the opening theme song explains the theory in a nutshell better than any Schoolhouse Rock.

45. Secret Agent
"Secret Agent Man"
Written by Steve Barri and P. F. Sloan
Performed by Johnny Rivers

In Britain, it was known as "Danger Man," and it had it's own theme. In America, it was redubbed "Secret Agent," and was given one of the most awesome themes in TV history. Secret Agent Man has become such a staple of the spy genre, most people forget (or never learn) it was originally a TV theme song. Depending on the scenario it can be either genuine or satirical, all while being hip and evocative of 1960's culture.

44. Scrubs
by Lazlo Bane

Scrubs is renowned for its quirky sense of humor, its fast-paced half-improvised dialogue, and its comical fantasy sequences, but also its occasional provocative moments of drama. At its heart, Scrubs is a show about doctors. Even in the lightness of a sitcom, people's lives are still at stake (fictional people, but people nonetheless). The theme song effectively points out this uncomfortable truth: having people entrust their lives to you is an incredibly daunting responsibility, and that's stacked on top of whatever else life may throw your way. Only Superman could deal with the stress.

43. The A-Team
"Theme from The A-Team"
Composed by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter
Narrated by John Ashley

Everybody seems to love the A-Team, and I don't know why. The concept for the show is full of holes, the episodes are completely formulaic, the actors themselves aren't all that talented, and yet this show is revered by television fans everywhere. If I may venture a guess, I don't think people really love the A-Team, they just love Mr.T. I could understand that. I would totally support a show entitled "Mr. T and His A-Team," but alas, all we have instead is the regular A-Team and this theme song.

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