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Friday, August 26, 2005
Theme Songs
Last weekend, I found a pre-viewed box set of one of my favorite TV shows from the 80's, Sledge Hammer.

For those of you who missed it, Sledge Hammer was a half-hour comedy that aired on ABC for two seasons and was in the vein of such shows as Get Smart or Police Squad. The show is probably best remembered for two things--Sledge's catch phrase of "Trust me, I know what I'm doing" and the cliffhanger to end the first season. As the first season came to a close, it looked as if Sledge and company wouldn't get a second season, so creator Alan Spencer wrote what he thought would be the final episode. He pretty much threw in everything but the kitchen sink and ended the story with Sledge blowing up the city trying to disarm a nuclear weapon.

Somehow, this episode got huge ratings and ABC renewed the show, leaving Spencer in a quandry. He now had to get himself out of this corner he'd painted himself into as the second season started. Spencer took the only way out he could--he set the second season of the show five years before the first season and began the season with a voice over telling viewers this. It ranks right up there with the April Fool's episode of South Park featuring Terrance and Philip a few years ago as one of those great TV show cons.

As I've been watching the episodes this week on DVD, I'm reminded of just how funny this show was. It's in the same vein as Arrested Development in that it doesn't have a laugh track and it assumes you can catch sarcasm. Oh yeah, and Hammer's solution to everything is to use more violence which often means hilarity will ensue.

It's still as funny as I remember it being (I saw all the episodes in syndication one summer a few years back) but I'd forgotten how great the theme music to this show was. And it's a good thing as it's very catchy and you immediately can identify what the show is. But the bad part is--the stinkin' theme song has been stuck in my head for days on end. (Click on the link above to give it a listen!)

It got me thinking a bit about memorable TV theme tunes.

In a lot of ways, a good TV theme is an essential part of the formula. Yes, I know these days with the greater amount of commericals out there, that a lot of shows can't have a long theme because they'd lose that necessary minute for plot development, which I think kind of stinks. Having a good theme song is almost essential. Indeed, think of some of the forgettable shows from the past that live on because they had catchy theme songs--I'm thinking of things like Mr Ed, Welcome Back, Kotter or Green Acres as prime suspects.

Indeed, if I had one real beef with the new Battlestar Galactica, it'd be that I don't care that much for the theme song. It's just OK...not really inspiring or note worthy, not in the way the one from the 70s was.

As I contemplated this, I started to think about some of the truly memorable theme songs from over the years. One of the first I was exposed to was, of course, Sesame Street. And then, there was the opening to the Electric Company which was cool, but I remember the yelling of "Hey you, guuuuuuuuuuuuys!" more than a theme. And then there was the theme to the classic 60s Spiderman cartoons.

And, of course, nothing quite stirs me down to the tips of my toes like the themes from Doctor Who or the classic Star Trek theme (the original and still the best..sorry TNG).

So, what are some theme songs that stand the test of time for you? I've mentioned a few year and I now open the floor to my readers and visitors. I could make a huge list of great themes, but I want to hear what y'all have to say. Yes, it's a shameless plug for comments, I know that...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/26/2005 02:27:00 PM | |
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