May 8th, 2008
09:41 AM ET

The best TV themes say so much

The fourth season of "Mission: Impossible" hits shelves next week on DVD. Nothing against the show - it was often stoically clever, and the fourth season added Leonard Nimoy to the mix - but when I think of "Mission: Impossible," the first thing that comes to mind isn't Peter Graves or self-destructing tapes or agents in disguise.

ALT TEXT

It's the theme song.

Lalo Schifrin's tense, jazzy music - its menacing horns like little explosions - IS "Mission: Impossible." It did what the best TV themes did: established a tone and elevated what was to come.

Much has been made of the decline of the TV theme, with most of today's shows' opening credits barely lasting long enough to show a title card, much less air a 30- to 60-second piece of music. But even those discussions often focus on the themes with lyrics - "Gilligan's Island," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Happy Days" - and neglect the great instrumental compositions.

Which gets me pondering some of the classics. Some that come to mind right away are "Hawaii Five-O," Morton Stevens' brilliant, pounding horn-and-organ concoction; Barry De Vorzon's "Theme from S.W.A.T.," a terrific instrumental that was far more exciting than the show it was written for; and Thomas Newman's theme for "Six Feet Under," a yearning, unusual melody that suggested its show's bittersweet mix of joy and pain.

What are some of your favorites? Remember, instrumentals only.

- Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer


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soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. home improvement

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    July 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. el diablo robotico

    Well as far as instrumental theme songs go I'd have to say:
    Angel
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    the Office (US)
    Dexter
    It's Always Sunny in Philidelphia
    and of course X-Files

    June 26, 2008 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. Brian

    How about the theme to NBC Nightly News? It's been an institution for decades, and gives you an immediate sense of importance and boldness.

    June 13, 2008 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mitzie

    The Rockford Files

    June 11, 2008 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. Margo Lynn

    I notice that a lot of people have posted themes that have words (Bat Masterson, Mary Tyler Moore Show, Speed Racer, Cheers, Golden Girls, Addams Family, and when someone says "great to sing along to" you KNOW s/he didn't pay attention to the rules!), and I also noticed that one instrumental-only that is really evocative isn't on here: Perry Mason.

    Also the Alfred Hitchcock theme (which might not count because it was not written for the show, but "Funeral March of a Marionette") and the theme for PBS' "Mystery." What's fun is how many of these theme songs I have heard thanks to stations like TBS, TVLand, E-Western, and so forth. Yea for cable TV!

    June 10, 2008 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ronnie

    Coach & Murder, She Wrote

    June 10, 2008 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nick

    The recent remake of Battlestar Galactica is fantastic and shows that modern series can indeed have a rousing musical score to accompany opening credits.

    Though i do like all of the Star Treks, especially Voyager, and i was a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    June 9, 2008 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Vic

    Let's not forget Matlock!

    June 9, 2008 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kris

    The theme to "Remington Steele" by Henry Mancini! It was terrific!

    June 9, 2008 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob

    The Price is Right!

    June 1, 2008 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Alex

    The best theme of all time, in my opinion, was the classic Ron Grainer/Delia Derbyshire theme to Doctor Who. No theme has ever set the scene for a show better.

    Other themes I highly enjoy include another Grainer theme, The Prisoner, a piece of music called "High Wire" which when it was used as the opening theme for Danger Man (a series that aired in the US as Secret Agent) proved that harpsichords and spies do mix.

    And you could never go wrong with a TV theme credited to Barry Gray or the just-departed (RIP) Alexander Courage.

    Thanks to the decline in shows actually commissioning themes anymore, there are slim pickings for recent themes that I would recommend. Alias had a great theme, and Torchwood has a very good theme that manages to get the job done in less than 20 seconds.

    May 29, 2008 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sharon Donahue

    I loved the theme to Medical Center with Chad Everett. It started with that wailing siren. Excellent theme song.

    May 29, 2008 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lorie

    My favorite is Earle Hagen's "Harlem Nocturne" used for the Mike Hammer TV Series and movies.

    May 29, 2008 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. maltesemom

    The theme from Dr. Kildare (Richard Chamerlain); it was titled "Three Stars".

    May 28, 2008 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lux Magna

    WOW so many to remember, many have already been listed here.

    Here are a few I see that were missed

    Barney Miller, Quincy ME, Cheers
    Nash Bridges – Second Season,
    The Super Friends, Get Smart, Mr Ed.
    The Jeffersons, All in the Family, Crime Story, Adam-12, Emergency
    Law and Order, Home Improvement, The Six Million Dollar Man,
    The Pink Panther, The Streets of San Francisco

    So many more I could list.

    May 27, 2008 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  16. Wolfbx

    In the Golden Age of TV when westerns were king there were a ton of theme songs. From fifty years ago I still remember
    The Theme from Rawhide
    Have Gun Will Travel
    Bat Masterson
    Branded
    26 Men
    Lawman ..etc All great..!!!
    Some of them are posted on YouTube.

    May 26, 2008 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Trustlad

    ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS!!! (I must be older than everyone else)

    My other favorites have all been named time and time again.

    May 26, 2008 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Susan O

    The Waltons. And Star Trek: need I say more?

    May 26, 2008 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  19. Eric

    MacGyver!

    May 23, 2008 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  20. Dave

    "West Wing" comes to mind. It had a really iconic theme.

    May 21, 2008 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  21. Vickster

    "The Simpsons" is my all time favorite and I think one of the most recognizable. I get a smile everytime I hear the "The Simpsons theme" and fond memories always come back. I still watch every episode a million times over and then some. In fact it's in my head right now.

    May 20, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  22. jzmacdaddy

    A-Team is the best, but I can't seem to get "Night Court" outta my head.

    May 20, 2008 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  23. beenz

    I know it's not a TV show, but the Linus and Lucy theme from the Charlie Brown specials always makes me happy

    May 19, 2008 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Joel

    How can Miami Vice not be on the list! Also agree, maybe for nostalgia reasons, Dr. Who is near the top.

    May 19, 2008 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Steve

    Blue Thunder, The Virginian, Rockford Files, UFO, Space 1999, and of course, Captain Kangaroo

    May 19, 2008 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  26. Thomas, St. Petersburg,FL

    Little House on the Prairie – the theme song changed slightly over the years, but always had a great rural flavor to it;
    The Waltons – had a slow, sad theme song that mirrored the sad Great Depression setting of this excellent show;
    The Odd Couple – very catchy theme song to one of TV's funniest shows;
    I Dream of Jeannie – most beautiful woman on TV –
    Bewitched – magical theme song;
    The Flintstones – fun to sing along to this classic;
    The Munsters – one of the first shows I can recall viewing as a child –
    The Adams Family – very unique theme song;

    Roots ("ABC Novel for television" – remember those, in the pre-cable and pre-VCR days?) – theme song has an African flavor to it;

    'North and South' (TV miniseries) – you knew this was going to be something big just by the theme song alone;

    May 19, 2008 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  27. Elaine

    WOW...so many to choose from but here are some of my favorites:

    Hawaii 5-0
    Law & Order
    LA Law
    Newhart
    The Odd Couple
    Hart to Hart
    Kojak
    The Time Tunnel (Even in the 60's John Williams was a GENIUS).

    May 19, 2008 at 4:39 am | Report abuse |
  28. David Walstad

    I notice dramas are favored over sitcoms. Several of my favorites are: The Donna Reed Show (so cheerful & elegant), Adv. of Brisco Co. Jr., The X-Files, Ben Casey, Quantum Leap, Route 66, Peyton Place, Midnight Caller, Hawaii Five-0, The Name of the Game, Miami Vice, Get Smart, Trapper John, M.D. (a very '80s-type score and visual; clocks in at a generous 1 min. 20 sec.!), Bewitched, ER, Police Story, Perry Mason, Eden (very synthetic, but good pairing of score & visuals), Lancer, The Danny Thomas Show, Starsky and Hutch ( year 4), The Court (Sally Field), Cimarron Strip, Mission: Impossible, NYPD Blue, Simon & Simon, Ironside (thanks, Q!), ABC Movie of the Week, NBC Mystery Movie, The Virginian, Twilight Zone, Peter Gunn, Stoney Burke, What's Happening!!, The Fugitive, The Rat Patrol, Vega$ (so '70s!). Quite a trip down memory lane - this survey.

    May 19, 2008 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
  29. EK

    Hill Street Blues is the greatest (as so many have said), and St Elsewhere also comes to mind, but... an honorable mention goes to:

    Family (the Spelling 70s series) – a forgotten masterpiece.

    May 19, 2008 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  30. Tim Morris

    Dallas has to be it, hands down. What theme better catches the feeling of the 80's with the power, opulence, and elegance than that. During its peak popularity, it was played on radio stations, recorder by jazz groups and Floyd Cramer, and even had high school marching bands around the nation playing it in competitions.

    Next to that, Sanford and Son, Bewitched, and how about The Odd Couple.... those are classics. Hopefully some powerful producers are reading this and will bring this wonderful artform back.

    May 18, 2008 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Kate

    Don't forget Northern Exposure!

    May 18, 2008 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
  32. Denise

    The all time Theme song from The Young & the Restless
    Sopranos
    Ironside
    Mod Squad
    In Living Color
    Cosby Show ( can't remember what season)
    Eye Spy
    Different World
    Living Single

    May 17, 2008 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Fyrekithkanan

    Babylon 5/Star Trek: Deep Space 9/Carnivale/Deadwood/Battlestar Galactica (new)/M.A.S.H

    May 17, 2008 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
  34. Donna

    High Chaparral and Babylon 5 – some of the B5 music just made the hair on your arms stand up it was so expressive.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Kevin Veighey

    Both arrangements of the "Farscape" were awesome. Also, the most recent arrangement of the "Doctor Who" theme music really pumps me up every time I hear it. I even have it as my ringtone!

    May 16, 2008 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  36. TV Theme Nut

    As someone who owns a couple TV theme song compilation CDs, I will give you my favorites (in no particular order): Eight is Enough, The Fall Guy, Falcon Crest, Angie (Different Worlds), Rockford Files, Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Hunter, Cheers, Facts of Life, Cagney & Lacy, and, probably my favorite, Paper Chase.

    Also, I did enjoy the theme song to Dallas...I would sing along using the names of the stars as they flashed on the screen. : )

    May 16, 2008 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Barbara - Las Vegas, NV

    Theme from the Monty Python TV show

    May 16, 2008 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  38. John

    'Inspector Morse'.

    The morse code part is brilliant.

    May 16, 2008 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  39. Sandy

    I think the best current instrumental TV show theme, hands down, is Survivor!! Excellent theme that definitely sets the mood for the whole show. It's recognizable, catchy and well....just fantastic!

    May 16, 2008 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  40. jim

    The Odd couple

    May 15, 2008 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  41. sallyrover

    Chiming in for the thems from The Rockford Files (and Maverick), and the theme for Deadwood is haunting, spritely and complex–like the show. Also love the heavy bass on The Munsters theme–made it great for covers by punk bands!

    May 15, 2008 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Linda Smith

    VERY interesting.

    Never even
    thought of this before.

    But you know, it is true.

    Linda
    http://www.attentiontodetailgifts.com

    May 15, 2008 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Patty

    M*A*S*H – Without a doubt.

    May 15, 2008 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Matt

    wow – how could I have forgotten Sanford and Son – a jazzy-little ditty in it's own right – every bit the equal (if not superior to?) of BARNEY MILLER.

    May 15, 2008 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Matt

    Instrumental TV themes:

    MIAMI VICE – if Jan Hammer didn't set the tone for what was to follow for the next hour – then no one did.

    TAXI theme – Bob James crafted a light-jazz beauty that reflected the whimsy and fun of the series

    BARNEY MILLER – Jack Elliot did for the sit com cop show what Bob James did for TAXI – no them ever had a bass line as funky.

    May 15, 2008 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Deby

    I've always loved the theme to Dr. Who the best, partially because it's an instrumental. I can make my own ridiculous lyrics everytime I watch that show!

    May 15, 2008 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  47. chrisfrenzy

    Andy Griffith
    Sanford and Son [Quincy Jones!]
    Arrested Development
    Band of Brothers [HBO miniseries]
    What's Happenin'?
    Sherlock Holmes [The British version with Jeremy Brett]

    May 15, 2008 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  48. anne atwell

    Kolchak:The Night Stalker series! That theme promised mystery and good scares that my then pre-teen self craved from this great old show!

    May 15, 2008 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Lesa

    1) Kolchak: The Night Stalker – very memorable and the change from the whistling to the dramatic music set the tone

    2) Twilight Zone – Even removing Rod's voice from it, the music is immediately recognizable

    May 15, 2008 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Corby

    Seinfeld

    May 15, 2008 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Mike Berkowitz

    The Pink Panther (Cartoon)
    Bob Newhart
    Get Smart
    Hawaii 5-0

    May 15, 2008 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  52. Alice

    Henry Mancini wrote some of the best themes...
    Peter Gunn, Bob Newhart and Remington Steele. Not to mention the theme from the Thorn Birds.

    There were others but can't remember them.

    May 14, 2008 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Nicholas

    Melrose Place...ahh palm trees, cut off shorts and illicit pool activity...all said with an electric guitar. Fabulous!

    May 14, 2008 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Karen Wright, 60's baby

    MASH, The Walton, Betwitched & The Price Is Right.... they are all unmistakably etched in our minds as decent television (and some of it fun, fun, fun!)

    May 14, 2008 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  55. David

    Magnum PI is my favorite of all time. After that it doesn't really matter.

    May 14, 2008 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Linda Smith

    I loved this blog article so very
    much.

    I love reading these blogs on
    Cnn.

    Great job.

    Thanks and Kudos
    for all your hard work.

    I am trying to learn writing
    blog skills and this
    helps me out
    so much.

    Linda
    http://www.attentiontodetailgifts.com
    "Best Father's day gifts"

    May 14, 2008 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Em

    I loved the Dallas theme. I never watched the show, but I watched (and listened to) the opening credits – I'd watch the photographer's helicopter's shadow and compliment myself on my observation skills...

    May 14, 2008 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Anna45

    X Files, X Files, X Files!!!
    Creepy

    May 13, 2008 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Dave

    The MASH theme was called "Suicide is Painless". I agree with the person that mentioned the Tutors, it's great!

    May 13, 2008 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  60. eli

    TAXI...'nuff said

    May 13, 2008 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  61. noname

    My Favorites are definitely:

    The Sopranos (can't believe no one remembered this one)
    All In the Family
    Good Times
    Sanford & Son
    Cheers
    Andy Griffith Show (can't forget the whistling)
    Golden Girls

    May 13, 2008 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Matt

    The Virginian.

    http://www.televisiontunes.com/

    May 13, 2008 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Bear

    I'm surprised to see so few shouts out to the "new" Battlestar Galactica. Technically not a true instrumental, I still feel it's worthy of inclusion because the voice work on it is about as far from a pop song as you can get. It's haunting and melodic and is as chilling today after four seasons of the show as it was in the beginning. I suppose it's only fitting that the best show on television has the best opening theme of any show on television.

    May 13, 2008 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Keith Sisk

    A few more worth a mention

    I Love Lucy
    Bonanza
    The Flintstones

    May 13, 2008 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Donna

    Magnum, PI
    MASH
    Miami Vice
    Hawaii Five-O
    Mission Impossbile
    X-files
    and doesn't anyone remember the theme to due South?

    May 13, 2008 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  66. kathleen

    Batman, buffy the vampire slayer , stargate sg 1 , star trek, and finally DOCTOR *freaking* WHO

    May 13, 2008 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  67. Cheri

    What about L.A. Law?

    May 13, 2008 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  68. No Solace

    The Office and Futurama

    May 13, 2008 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  69. Kari

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 13, 2008 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  70. Mike

    Doogie Howser, M.D.

    May 13, 2008 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  71. Kenneth

    I enjoyed the old "Equalizer" theme by the Police's Stuart Copeland, and the jazzy "Spenser for Hire."

    May 13, 2008 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  72. kim in kentucky

    The West Wing - very powerful and always made me feel patriotic when I heard it! - and this is a great list – why? because as I read the names of the shows, I can hear the theme music – and agree with almost all of the choices!

    May 13, 2008 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  73. Susan - Starkville, MS

    Some of my favorites:

    The X Files
    Wings
    Sex And The City (which also happens to be my cell phone ring)

    May 12, 2008 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  74. JENN

    When I was a kid, my sisters and I would dance around the coffee table to the Miami Vice theme, so I have a soft spot for that. But, without a doubt, the BEST theme from any show is Twin Peaks. It was so haunting and mysterious, I got the complete series on DVD a couple of months ago and while on other shows that I watch on DVD, I speed through the opening, with Twin Peaks I let the opening credits play everytime just so I can hear the song (sometimes I even go back and listen a couple of times).

    May 12, 2008 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Nadine Banton, Inglewood CA

    You guys all have bad memories, HAWAI'I FIVE-O had the best theme!! I have great memories of my childhood in Jamaica. Watching my bro and his friends doing the hula as the show started. We had the biggest tv, a 20" Blk & Whiter, and a huge veranda. We were the center of the universe.

    p.s.
    Let's not forget The Jeffersons, Ellery Queen and Sesame Street!!

    May 12, 2008 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Elaine

    Hill Street Blues...St. Elsewhere...Rawhide...Bonanza

    May 12, 2008 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  77. James Dell

    hart to hart & charlie's angel's

    May 12, 2008 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Kathy

    .........and the original Law and Order........of course!

    May 12, 2008 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Kathy

    The Star Trek Themes.......especially The Next Generation.

    May 12, 2008 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  80. mark

    perry mason

    May 12, 2008 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  81. craig

    KNOTS LANDING!!!

    May 12, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Zollo

    Perfect Strangers!! Oh, Cousin Larry. . .don't be ridiculous!!!

    May 12, 2008 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  83. CptMatt

    There were soooo many good ones in the '70s and '80s.

    "Buck Rogers", "Battlestar Galactic", "Police Story", then Jan Hammer came along with "Miami Vice". You also had Mike Post and Pete Carpenter doing "The A Team", "Magnum P.I.", "L.A.Law". Some of my other favorites include "Stingray" (the guy with the black 'Vette, not the puppets), "Airwolf", "The Equalizer", "St. Elsewhere".

    It was really a "golden age" of TV themes back then.

    May 12, 2008 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  84. Michael Holtman, Newport, RI

    Beverly Hills 90210! This shouldn't even be up for discussion! Dylan McKay for President!

    May 12, 2008 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Kristen

    I love the theme from "Cold Case". VERY haunting and sets the perfect tone for the show. Also love the theme from "Angel". I know Buffy gets all the cred but Angel's theme definitely set the show apart.

    May 12, 2008 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Eddie

    Peter Gunn, Hawaii 5-0, and the ever quirky and evidently not-so-well remembered Dead Like Me.

    May 12, 2008 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Matthew

    Definitely MacGuyver, X-Files and Star Trek.

    May 12, 2008 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Marcos Lopez

    Magnum P.I. ( I can't believe I've only seen someone mention it once, this is a great theme song!). Number 2 would be Miami Vice.

    May 12, 2008 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Grand Nagus

    Star Trek>all of them
    Batman
    X Files
    Doctor Who
    Battlestar Galactica> both
    Twilight Zone and......
    DARK SHADOWS!!!!

    May 12, 2008 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Heather

    Good themes take you back! Twin Peaks, Combat, Batman, Barney Miller, Hawaii Five O, That Girl.

    May 12, 2008 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  91. Barry

    The greatest of all instrumental TV themes was Henry Mancini's theme for Peter Gunn. Far better than the show itself. My other favorites include the themes from Perry Mason, I Spy, Ironside, The Mod Squad, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, The Bob Newhart Show, and Magnum P.I.

    May 12, 2008 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  92. Esme

    Twilight Zone! Made extra awesome with Rod Serling overdubs.

    Also Simpsons (Danny Elfman and the twittering flute lines– brilliant!)

    May 12, 2008 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  93. Linda Smith

    Amazingly interesting
    informative and clear.

    Fantastic to read CNN blogs.

    Linda
    http://www.attentiontodetailgifts.com

    May 12, 2008 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  94. Heather

    Originating from the UK first and foremost in my memory is Doctor Who. Another that i enjoyed actually came from a cartoon show called 'Peter Pan and the Pirates'. A current fav is the theme to Battlestar Galactica.

    May 12, 2008 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  95. Clay

    Peter Gunn theme, but I cannot remember what show it was from...

    May 12, 2008 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  96. Heather C

    I have to say for the instrumental music of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and the Big Valley" are a few of my favorites. The music is so intricate. Then, there is "Lost in Space, Bonaza and High Chapperal" I'd love a CD with all the old 60's and 70's series.

    May 12, 2008 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  97. katie

    The West Wing!!!

    May 12, 2008 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  98. Bethany Ida

    The Tudors. I listen to it 96 times a day.

    May 11, 2008 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  99. jeff joyner

    Taxi, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Space 1999, The Night Gallery, Barney Miller, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Simpsoms, Speed Racer, and Rawhide.

    May 11, 2008 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  100. RevMom

    I hear the Rockford Files theme song and I am immediately transported to my first crush – Jim Rockford, of course.
    And what about the old Tonight Show opening song with Johnny Carson?
    Can't help but love The Office (US version) song and the ominous Law and Order ta-dums. They make awesome cell phone ringtones.:)

    May 10, 2008 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  101. Elvis Manson

    Star Trek Deep Space Nine
    Twilight Zone
    Xena: Warrior Princess (yes it has words, but I think they are Gaelic so might as well be an instrumental)
    Rockford Files

    May 10, 2008 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  102. Laura

    I can't believe no one has mentioned ALIAS!

    May 10, 2008 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  103. wub

    Night Court!

    First TV theme I learned on the bass guitar.

    May 10, 2008 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  104. zach

    great ones mentioned so far, but have to add:
    The Muppet Show – always good to get into a great mood and
    Doctor Who - from all incarnations; its mystery, haunting and power

    May 10, 2008 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  105. Jaipe3000

    SANFORD AND SON!!!!!! Written by Quincy Jones. Though not as dramatic or intricate as the ones mentioned by the author, it is definitely an iconic theme of the 70's Black television era.

    May 10, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  106. goobersmooch

    It would have to be the theme to Dexter. I LOVE that show, and the intro music is great!

    May 10, 2008 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  107. Jon Meyer

    Mr. Belvedere had a great theme song that fit the show perfectly. Let's also not forget about the great cartoon themes "Animaniacs" and "The Smurfs." I have also always liked the theme from "The Muppet Show."

    May 10, 2008 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  108. Don

    I Dream of Jeannie
    Star Trek (all of them)
    M*A*S*H
    MIssion: Impossible

    May 10, 2008 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  109. Simon Applebaum

    A few of my favorites: The Equalizer from Stewart Copeland (whose theme and rich score from the series were never Emmy-nominated); Miami Vice and Vanishing Son by Jan Hammer; Mike Post's NYPD Blue and Silk Stalkings; Kraft Suspense Theater and the various Irwin Allen science-fiction series themes (Lost In Space, The Time Tunnel and Land of the Giants) written by John Williams; Johnny Staccato by Elmer Bernstein, and the Naked City themes by Billy May (hour-long seasons 1-2) and Nelson Riddle (season 3).

    May 10, 2008 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  110. AS

    Angel (Buffy spin-off)

    May 10, 2008 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  111. AS

    Early Edition, Hercules The Legendary Journeys, Xena Warrior Princess, Knots landing

    May 10, 2008 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  112. Gina

    "Dexter," hands down. It's creepy, but cute; whimiscal yet devious – just like the show's title character.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utqoFsMYPKs&w=640&h=360]

    May 10, 2008 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
  113. Rick Y.

    Midnight Caller

    May 10, 2008 at 4:17 am | Report abuse |
  114. Charles

    Leslie, The Sunday Mystery Movie has to be the most haunting instrumental theme ever. You almost had it right, Columbo and McCloud were part of the rotating lineup but not Kojak as it was a CBS series. This version from 1973 also includes Hec Ramsey and McMillan and Wife

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaWuXHMrwXo&w=640&h=360]

    May 10, 2008 at 3:21 am | Report abuse |
  115. Beej

    STARGATE SG-1 – mysteries of the ancients discovered by the US Air Force in the vast unknown of the universe.

    May 9, 2008 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  116. Mandy Turner

    The best all time TV theme song is definitely Hawaii Five-O. I saw the telecast of the Ventures playing the song during this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, and it sounded just as great in 2008 as it did in 1968!

    May 9, 2008 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  117. Billy Mc

    Many great choices noted here. Mine include West Wing, Homicide: Life on the Street, Barney Miller, TAXI, Law&Order, X-Files, Buffy, among others. Like some posters, I think I watch too much TV as well!!

    May 9, 2008 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  118. trumanhorn

    For current shows, I love the theme for "The Office" (when they don't shorten it), and I've always been a huge fan of the theme from "Quantum Leap" as well

    May 9, 2008 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  119. Joni

    My most memorable are:
    Hill Street Blues
    Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
    Mary Tyler Moore Show

    And like you, I love to remember the themes from: Hawaii 5-O and Mission: Impossible.

    May 9, 2008 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  120. Spider

    No one, that I saw, mentioned my personal favorite. The theme from "Dallas".

    May 9, 2008 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  121. Mr Schenk

    What did ever happen to the TV theme? Here are some that are always stuck in my head...

    Mystery Science Theatre 3000
    Unsolved Mysteries
    X-Files
    SImpsons

    that's just a few...

    May 9, 2008 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  122. John

    Come on it has to be Dynasty! for the 80s and the Six Million Dollar Man for the 70s...close runner up...St. Elsewhere.

    May 9, 2008 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  123. Beeber

    Big Valley!!!

    May 9, 2008 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  124. Greg from Thousand Oaks, CA

    Room 222, without a doubt ... The Saint ... Ellery Queen [written by Elmer Bernstein!] ... so many great theme ... Streets of San Francisco ... am I the only one to note that many of the above suggestions actually have lyrics that were sung? People, read the instructions!

    May 9, 2008 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  125. dave, cape canaveral, fl

    I'm glad Dallas and MASH were mentioned! I think ER should be in there somewhere. And I applaud Mike S. for picking X-files. Thanks for the memories and the tunes!

    May 9, 2008 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  126. Melissa

    The Twilight Zone (original of course), X-Files, M*A*S*H, Law & Order

    May 9, 2008 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  127. Garpboy

    I add the original Superman TV show theme (something Zarusthra(?)) and the Syncopated Clock them from the Early Show.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  128. Terence

    Anybody remember... The Green Hornet!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  129. Joanne, Edmonton Alberta

    Hey all you Canadians, how about "King of Kensington" from the 70s? Ya gotta love a theme song that you can polka to!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  130. Garret

    "Top Cat" plus countless cartoon themes from the 60s/ early 70s. Yes, I said "Top Cat". The song compressed a lot of quality and personality into a very short span. "Top Cat" had class and swing. It may be a cartoon but it blows the doors off contemporary theme writing, in terms of originality and catchyness.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  131. cindy c

    Law and Order has a great music theme song. I have it on my phone as a ring tone even.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  132. Fitz

    MacGyver is the most recognizable for me. Knight Rider and Airwolf get you ready for the tech heavy action that is about to come. X-Files is appropriately weird.

    Sure, Stargate SG-1's theme was originally written for a movie, but it gives the impression of sweeping vistas and epic adventure so it should be mentioned because it was a terrific move to keep it for the TV show.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  133. Tudorguy

    Oh, and My So Called Life.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  134. Tudorguy

    LIttle House on the Prairie! Now let's go run down a hill.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  135. Cat Poll

    I really liked Bonanza and I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show. I know there are lyrics to I Love Lucy, but I still giggle when I hear the opening them. And the Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Peter Gunn.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  136. Duckie

    Gotta agree with Julia R. Mike Post had some of the greatest music on TV...and still does!

    Law & Order
    L. A. Law
    Hill Street Blues
    CHiPs

    Then again, what about Dave Grusin's theme to St. Elsewhere or Henry Mancini's Pink Panther?

    And finally, what about daytime shows - Days of our Lives!

    May 9, 2008 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  137. Catherine Horne

    The West Wing always made me feel like I was watching a great movie. Other faves include L.A. Law, Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, Wings, Northern Exposure, Picket Fences, Dallas, and my all-time face: Monday Night Football.

    May 9, 2008 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  138. Catherine Poll

    Agree that MI was the best. But how about "Bonanza" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

    May 9, 2008 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  139. Rick

    The Peter Gunn Theme was not only the the best but the first. Henry Mancini wrote it and won an Emmy and 2 Grammys for it.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  140. Tom

    AIRWOLF!!!

    May 9, 2008 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  141. Tom

    I too deeply lament the "lost art" that the TV theme has become ... loved them ever since I can remember. In fact, I still have a handful of obscure favorites that I taped through the TV speaker when I was a kid and have since transferred to CD.

    Two favorites that come to mind immediately are "Quantum Leap" (and, hey, for that matter, ANYTHING by Mike Post) and "Angel" - two of the most unique and memorable TV themes in modern history!

    May 9, 2008 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  142. RR

    The definitive list (or at least a start):

    Peter Gunn
    Jonny Quest
    Miami Vice
    MASH
    Law & Order
    The Lone Ranger (to be fair, it was on radio first)

    for longetivity: Doctor Who (30 years and eight recordings)

    most prolific: Mike Post

    May 9, 2008 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  143. mikemoffit

    Don't forget Simon & Simon

    May 9, 2008 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  144. Sharon

    I love the 'Twin Peaks' theme. It was soap opera-ey with a certain amount of mystique. The visuals of the saws juxtaposed with the beautiful nature shots really set up the location.

    May 9, 2008 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  145. Jim

    HBO's Deadwood. A great show with a great theme that would instantly carry me back to 1876.

    May 9, 2008 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  146. Robert Meza

    I like Peter Gunn, Route 66, The Rifleman, The Andy Griffeth Show, Perry Mason, Star Trek, Mission Impossible, but the one I like best is Hawaii 5-0!

    May 9, 2008 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  147. Roger

    The original "Dr. Who" theme. The grating glissando sliding into menacing bass. The ethereal theramin dropping in over the top. It all combines to paint the picture of what is to come, or what just happened.

    Coming as it did after the opening scene (usually at some critical moment), the opening blast always made me jump.

    May 9, 2008 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  148. chris

    Oh wow, this is pretty much the best question ever.

    -Twin Peaks is probably the best show-theme fit I can think of.
    -The Addams Family is also ones that just sounds like the show feels.
    -Sanford and Son. Quincy Jones!
    -Knight Rider. The theme song totally outshined the show.
    -Hawaii 5-0. Again, the theme song was better than the show.
    -The Simpsons.

    But, to me, the absolute winner is one I haven't seen mentioned yet. I think most of my generation will agree: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. That one's stuck in our collective consciousness forever.

    May 9, 2008 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  149. Marla

    The Waltons

    May 9, 2008 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  150. emmy

    The Waltons! Hawaii 5-0, Stingray, Magnum, Mission Impossible

    May 9, 2008 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  151. sara

    The Colbert Report's theme is my current ringtone... it's really catchy and upbeat. The theme song is one of the reasons I bought his audiobooks instead of the hard cover book. I also LOVE the Addams Family theme song...

    May 9, 2008 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  152. Xgflek

    Deadwood's theme has to be one of my most recent faves.

    May 9, 2008 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  153. Amy

    M*A*S*H. The greatest.

    And I love the theme from House.

    May 9, 2008 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  154. shallowwit

    The 70's TV shows had the best themes.

    Police Woman
    Ironside
    And all those Quinn/Martin productions

    May 9, 2008 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  155. MIKE

    MUNSTERS
    BEWITCHED
    BATMAN
    ADAMS FAMILY
    GET SMART
    MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
    BANANA SPLITS
    MONKEES
    COURAGEOUS CAT

    May 9, 2008 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  156. Terrance G. Shults

    The soaring theme of "Father Knows Best"
    The legit-sounding cello-featured theme of "The Tony Randall Show"
    and, way back in the vault, the jazzy xylophone rendition of "Charlie My Boy" for the "Charlie Farell Show."

    May 9, 2008 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  157. Diana K

    XFILES is one of my favorite theme songs, it is errie like the show, the show never disappointed me. And Henry Mancini could write some great songs for movies.

    May 9, 2008 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  158. vaianp

    Streep Hawk. It was a music peice for a short lived 80's show by Tangarine Dream.

    May 9, 2008 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  159. deejer

    I didn't see St. Elsewhere mentioned!

    May 9, 2008 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  160. Chase

    Apparently all but one of those who have posted so far have forgotten the epic intro theme to the old Jonny Quest cartoon. That is by far, the most fun to replicate in a small jazz band.

    May 9, 2008 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  161. Ken

    Man from Uncle, which I believe was written by the great Jerry Goldsmith. I would add his later work, Star Trek: The Next Generation. and Deep Space Nine. The latter has a "suite" feel to it, and represents terrific neoclassical music.

    May 9, 2008 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  162. Charlene Z

    That 70's show theme will always remind me of growing up in the late 70's early 80's. Soap, The days of our lives theme, never watched it but knew it theme very well, used alot in the movies. The Muppet Show, and Electric Company show. Currently I would say Smallville, The Simpsons, and King of the Hill are very reconizable.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:10 am | Report abuse |
  163. Marty

    Hawaii 5-O is the best theme ever.

    May 9, 2008 at 5:09 am | Report abuse |
  164. Neil

    The theme From St. Elswhere and Hillstreet Blues. I still hum them Today after all these years.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
  165. Neal Hallford

    Unquestionably, my recent favorites have ALL been Jeff Beal composed themes: Rome, Carnivale, and Monk.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  166. Barbara

    Definitely the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme, hands down.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  167. DS9Sisko

    11. The West Wing
    12. Murder One
    13. The Beverly Hillbillies
    14. Hawaii Five-O
    15. Picket Fences
    16. Mannix
    17. Bewitched & The Dick Van Dyke Show
    18. Dallas
    19. Dynasty
    20. Guiding Light (1982-83), Texas (1982-84) & Another World (mid-70's & 1996)

    May 9, 2008 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  168. DS9Sisko

    1. Star Trek: The Next Generation
    2. The Edge of Night (1980-1983)
    3. Mission Impossible & MASH
    4. Falcon Crest
    5. Law & Order (Original Series)
    6. Get Smart
    7. I, Claudius
    8. Good Times
    9. X-Files & Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    10. Hill Street Blues & Magnum, PI

    May 9, 2008 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  169. R Casady

    For me, there is no more exciting theme than Earle Hagen's driving, odd-metered 'The Mod Squad.' Earl OWNED the television scene during the 60's and early 70's.

    May 8, 2008 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  170. teri

    m*a*s*h had a great haunting theme.

    May 8, 2008 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  171. david

    More recently... two of my favorites instrumental themes were Carnivale (HBO) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    May 8, 2008 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  172. Spelly

    M*A*SH with the instrumental version of Suicide is Painless without a doubt is the best of the best.

    May 8, 2008 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  173. Gaia

    Millennium.
    And The Waltons.

    May 8, 2008 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  174. Michele

    M*A*S*H takes it hands down....... I know the actual song has lyrics but the show used an instrumental version.

    And Homocide:Life on the Street.

    May 8, 2008 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  175. David

    The Office, anytime I hear the song, it gets stuck in my head for the next few days.

    May 8, 2008 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  176. Samantha

    The theme song from The Commish. I'll whistle or sing it for hours after hearing or just thinking of it. (THANKS A LOT!) 😉

    Also the A-team. But for the lyrical ones, I'd say Who's the Boss and Growing Pains had excellent lyrics and music. I especially like how the Growing Pains one evolved over the years to the harmonizing a capella style.

    May 8, 2008 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  177. Angela

    They all have their nostalgic place in my heart. The Rockford Files and MASH themes remind me of watching TV at my grandma and grandpa's as a child in the 70s. Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere remind me of high school and X Files reminds me of college. Ah, the good old days.

    May 8, 2008 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  178. Leslie

    In the 70's, there used to be theme music thatintroduced one of the network's "Sunday Mystery", for original episodes of Columbo, McCloud and Kojak. That haunting network theme music was synced to a lone figure sweeping a flashlight across a stretch of blue/black ground...and the hairs on my seven year old arms would go up and I would be fixed to the screen.

    May 8, 2008 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  179. JasonZ

    Wow! It's amazing that The Office is such a wonderful show and regardless of if you like it, every time you hear the theme song, you automatically think of everything that is politically correct with this fantastic show!!

    May 8, 2008 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  180. Elliott Truman

    Gee, so many themes, so little time to discuss.

    For the 50's/60's: Andy Griffith Show, Leave it to Beaver, The Munsters, Addams Family, Star Trek, Gilligan's Island & Batman are the ones that stick out to me.

    In the 70's my favorites are Sanford & Son, Good Times, Barney Miller, Maude, Hawaii 5-0, The Electric Company, The Muppet Show, Mash (movie theme was great too), Welcome Back Kotter & of course One Day At A Time.

    Hmm, the 80's: St. Elswhere, Hill Street Blues, Cheers, Family Ties, Pee Wee's Playhouse, The Facts of Life, Different Strokes & The A Team.

    1990's – Current: Friends, Law & Order (all variation of the show), CSI (I like the Who), Monk, Survivorman

    ...I'm starting to think I watch too much TV...

    May 8, 2008 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  181. Susie Q

    Bewitched, Bewitched, you've got me in your spell
    You witch, you witch, you know your craft so well
    My heart was under lock and key, but somehow it got unhitched.
    I never thought my heart could be had
    But now I'm caught and I'm kinda glad
    to be
    Be, be, be, be...
    Bewitched!

    May 8, 2008 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  182. Austin

    There are too many!

    60's: Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Courtship of Eddie's Father

    70's: H.R. Pufnstuf, Alice

    80's: Dynasty, Family Ties

    etc. etc. etc.

    May 8, 2008 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  183. stubby

    room 222, lost in space (the second one), get smart

    May 8, 2008 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  184. Mike S

    Any good action show from the 80s. Macgyver, Magnum PI (probably the most recognizable of them all), Simon & Simon, Miami Vice, The A-Team and even a few shows from more current times, such as The X-Files.

    May 8, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  185. John

    Macgyver was definately great, but i also really appreciated the murder she wrote theme, again kind of old school but suited the tone of the show

    May 8, 2008 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  186. veh

    Hill Street Blues, Miami VIce, Barney Miller, The Avengers. Each of these successfully evoked the feel of their respective shows.

    May 8, 2008 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  187. B. E.

    Some of the themes that evoke the strongest memories for me are:

    The Theme from S.W.A.T., Jonny Quest, Rockford Files, Dr. Who, Thundaar the Barbarian, Voltron, Battle of the Planets, Space Ghost/Herculoids, Miami Vice, A-Team & Knight Rider

    May 8, 2008 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  188. Sarah

    how about murder she wrote?

    May 8, 2008 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  189. jmw

    Taxi and Hill St. Blues!

    May 8, 2008 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  190. G. Clare

    Perhaps it's my age or my undying support of Richard Dean Anderson - but I always thought the theme from MacGyver not only well suited the show, but also the opening visuals. A great theme song builds the excitement for the show.

    May 8, 2008 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  191. Kate Kelly

    Some of the western's themes – Branded, The Rifleman, Gunsmoke. If you're including British series you can include The Prisoner, The Avengers.

    May 8, 2008 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  192. julia r

    Hillstreet blues...it's my all-time favorite!! Mike Post has a talent for ?Show theme songs!

    May 8, 2008 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  193. Gerald

    Knight Rider, A-Team, and Airwold. Basically any 80's action TV show.

    May 8, 2008 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  194. M,Labonte

    – The A-Team !!!!

    May 8, 2008 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  195. Tom Nelson

    One of my favorite T.V. themes is the theme from "Airwolf ". Just hearing the opening rythm of the music gets you excited for something high tech flying super helicopter. I get the vibe from the theme to " Knight Rider ". One of the most recgnizable themes is the theme from "Magnum P. I. Themes like these really get you in the mood for the type of show that you will be watching. I enjoy watching CSI and itsd' spinoffs because they feature the music of the WHO, but then they weren't written for the show. They were written over twenty years before the shows existance. They still get me in the mood for the show. The other current show with a original theme is NCIS. This dates me, but one of my favorite theme songs is the theme to "Cagney & Lacey ". Many of the best themes came out in the 80's. Some of them I've already mentioned, while others include: The A-Team, Hunter, The greatest American hero, and Hardcastle & Mccormick. Many of these were written by Mike Post. I miss great theme songs. They set the tone for the shows we watch, make them more memorable.

    May 8, 2008 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  196. Ray

    I've always appreciated theme songs that "felt" like the show – that previews the feeling of the series. Some of the ones that capture the appropriate attitudes IMHO are St. Elsewhere, Picket Fences, The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Lois and Clark ... the list could go on and on.

    May 8, 2008 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  197. Wendy Pederson

    "Peter Gunn" of course! Law & Order (the original) is a great one from more recent times. It sounds cliche to mention it, but the theme from Jeopardy is iconic as well.

    May 8, 2008 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  198. Danl

    Growing up in the '60s my favorites were Combat!, Wild Wild West, Wagon Train, and later on the theme from The Rockford Files.

    May 8, 2008 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  199. Meg

    Themes from "The Rockford Files" and "Magnum, P.I." – the one they started using in the second season and is most recognizable.

    These two tunes both conjure action, drama and intensity – with a large dose of humor bubbling through – as befitting the charming, dynamic heros of the shows themselves.

    Another good P.I. theme was the one from "Mannix" – delving a little deeper into the archives here, I guess. It was more dramatic and hard-hitting than the others- but Joe Mannix was just a grittier kind of a guy.

    May 8, 2008 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  200. Jon B

    Rockford Files !!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNzabxjknJo

    May 8, 2008 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  201. Christine

    The Route 66 theme by Nelson Riddle is by far the best. And I have a soft spot in my heart for Glen Larson's theme to Magnum PI.

    May 8, 2008 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  202. K-Dawg

    The A-team. Hands down the best TV theme.

    May 8, 2008 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  203. ohsohappydaddy

    Everytime I hear the theme to Twin Peaks I can just smell the coffee and apple pie.... And the X-Files theme just seemed to enstill the mystery that was about to be unravelled in the show. Other greats would be Police Squad, All the Star Trek themes especially the original and next generation ones, Father Ted from my homeland in the UK, Dexter and finally Buffy.

    May 8, 2008 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |

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