The 100 Greatest TV Themes: 66 - 59

66. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme"
by Nerf Herder

From its series premiere, Buffy the Vampire Slayer knew its place among vampiric lore. The opening organ and church bells evoke imagery of the 1930's Universal Studios horror films, and then crescendos into a guitar-driven alternative rock number. It bridges the past with the present (or at least what the present was in 1997). And what a bridge it is, simultaneously giving off sensations of horror, adventure and thrills. All of which feature sexy, non-glittery young adults.

65. The Outer Limits
1963 Theme Composed by Dominic Frontiere and Harry Lubin
1963 Theme Narrated by Vic Perrin
1995 Theme Narrated by Kevin Conway

Unjustly cast aside as the poor man's Twilight Zone, the Outer Limits was a horror anthology series focusing largely on science fiction themes. The opening theme is a spoken word piece from the viewpoint of a Big Brother-type authority figure. You, the viewer, are not only being observed, but also controlled and manipulated by the mysterious men in black into watching this program. It's a surreal piece of genre-savviness, and a creepy way to introduce a creepy show.

64. The Green Hornet
"Flight of the Bumblebee"
Inspired by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Arranged by Billy May
Conducted by Lionel Newman
Performed by Al Hirt

When The Green Hornet was a radio serial, it's theme was the classical music staple: Flight of the Bumblebee. (Editor's note: Hornets are not bumblebees.) When the series was adapted for television, the theme was updated, too. Interpreted as a fast-tempoed trumpet piece, The Green Hornet theme is a forgotten classic which fused the feel of a 1940's crime drama with comic book crimefighting and classic kung fu flicks. Fortunately, like many other pop culture gems lost to time, the Green Hornet theme was salvaged and resuscitated by Quentin Tarantino.

63. Dawson's Creek
"I Don't Want to Wait"
by Paula Cole

I'm not even going to try to explain or defend this one. You were either a child of the 90's and immediately recognize the cultural and emotional connections of this song, or you don't. And I didn't even like Dawson's Creek. It's that important.

62. Spider-Man (1994)
"Theme from Spider-Man"
by Joe Perry

This song was performed by Joe Perry. The Joe Perry. Of Aerosmith fame. And not 'Oh, we were big in the 70s, now we're washed up and drugged out, give us some money' Aerosmith. This is 1994 'We're totally detoxed, we're ready to rule the world, it's our second golden age' Aerosmith. The comic book industry was going through a lot of crap in the 90's, so I applaud the 1994 Spider-Man series for keeping things simple, straightforward, and free of Liefeldian influence. The theme song is the only indication of the 90's-era EXTREEEEEEEEEME mentality, and it's the only place where such a reputation would be an advantage.

61. Red Dwarf
"Red Dwarf Theme"
by Howard Goddall
Vocals by Jenna Russell

Red Dwarf is a sci-fi/comedy series about the intergalactic and time-traveling misadventures of a motley crew. The series was never intended to be dark or dispiriting, but was saddled with a bleak opening number, highlighting the underlying themes of isolation and the vast emptiness of space. Beginning with the third season, the somber opening was replaced with an instrumental version of the jaunty closing theme, thus emphasizing the comedic aspects of the series. It was a sitcom, after all. Since then, the theme song has become a favorite amongst science-fiction fans, while Red Dwarf has become one of the most popular BBC programs (programmes?) of all time.

60. Baywatch
"I'm Always Here"
by Jimi Jamison

Baywatch may have began its run before I was thrust headfirst into puberty, but I was old enough to remember its effect on the world. The cherry red one-pieces. The slow motion running. The bouncing. And David Hasselhoff was in there somewhere, I guess. While I'm no scholar of Baywatch history, what little I do know comes flooding back from the recesses of my mind as soon as I hear that drum machine and piano combo. And no, that's not The Hoff singing the theme. Many (myself included) have erroneously attributed him as the vocalist. In retrospect, I don't think anybody but the frontman for Survivor could be responsible for such an intro.

59. Northern Exposure
"Theme from Northern Exposure"
by David Schwartz

If I could describe Northern Exposure in one word, it would be 'Moose.' Which is a good indicator of how much I actually remember about Northern Exposure. While I can't think of anything insightful to say concerning the series, I can greatly herald the theme song (Which is good, because that's kinda the purpose of this countdown). I can't even identify the instruments: there's definitely a bass, possibly a harmonica, and I think there's a vibraslap. But that's it. Whatever those instruments are, they sound great, and easily evoke images of frozen tundras and really big pine trees. I didn't even know "Alaskan Music" was a genre, but there it is, crystal clear. I also enjoy that typeface, but who cares about fonts?

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