14. Quantum Leap
Composer: Mike Post
Third appearance for Mr. Post. The music is almost too subtle for a sci-fi show, but I just love listening to it out of context.
13. Corner Gas
Composer: Craig Northey and Jesse Valenzuela
Artist: Craig Northey and Jesse Valenzuela
Northey is a Canadian singer from the band The Odds. Valenzuela is a member of the Gin Blossoms. They teamed up to do the opening and closing themes for the most popular comedy in Canadian history. Consider it the Cheers of their country; it was so popular that they were able to get famous comedians, athletes, and two active prime ministers to appear on the show. I’m also crazy about it. Probably a top five show for me.
I think the like the closing credits song “My Happy Place” even better than the opening credits. Unfortunately, the only videos I can find for it are the album version, which is terrible, or a full episode.
Composer: Andy Partridge
Artist: Andy Partridge
Brilliant comedy that was cut by Fox just four episodes in after putting it on a Friday night time slot. Despite an entire season being filmed, it was given no chance. If you like wit and talking ceramic animals, watch it. Have a pancake. And some Lee Pace.
There’s a full-length music video of the song, which is pretty awful. Here’s the main credits sequence.
15. 21 Jump Street
Composer: Liam Stermberg
Artist: Holly Robinson
So yeah, one of the primary actors sang the song. Not unusual, but I didn’t know it in this case. I was crazy about this show when I was seven. Johnny Depp was just so radical. Talk about a good looking cast.
Composer: Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo
Artist: Gary Portnoy
This song is so popular it has its own Wikipedia page and is often hailed as the best theme song ever. Every DJ played it at every high school dance I went to. I like it quite a bit, and it fits the theme of the show perfectly, but perhaps I’ve just heard it too much.
Here’s the full version, which isn’t as strong as the main opening title sequence, but still fun.
17. Night Court
Composer: Jack Elliott
Artist: Ernie Watts (saxophone)
It’s Harry Anderson day at Death By Troggles! I miss him and John Larroquette in these roles. I also like me some jazz.
20. Doogie Howser, M.D.
Composer: Mike Post
Iconic, silly show benefited from a great theme and also introducing the world to Neil Patrick Harris, who would become great to have around about 15 years later. This is the second entry from Mike Post on the list.
19. Star Trek: Voyager
Composer: Jerry Goldsmith
Jerry Goldsmith was one of Hollywood’s most prolific composers, doing the music for Logan’s Run, Planet of the Apes, Patton, Chinatown, Alien, Poltergeist, Gremlins, Total Recall, L.A. Confidential, and on and on and on. He was nominated 18 times for an Oscar. He doesn’t let down here either.
22. Tiny Toon Adventures
Composer: Bruce Broughton, Tom Ruegger, Wayne Kaatz
So yeah, those guys won a Daytime Emmy for this song. Not sure what that means, really, but yeah this song’s awesome.
Composer: Johnny Mandel
While I’m crazy about this theme, I’m not a big fan of the lyrical version of the song “Suicide is Painless.” Funny thing, though, it was written by the 14 year-old son of the director of the movie, Robert Altman and the song made ten times more money in royalties for the boy than his dad did for the movie.
I suppose it’s not an original theme song in that it was taken from the movie, but eh.
24. Diff’rent Strokes
Composer: Alan Thicke, Gloria Loring, and Al Burton
Artist: Alan Thicke and Gloria Loring
Robin Thicke’s parents could write and sing catchy tunes too. They also did The Facts of Life, which I like, but didn’t quite make the cut.
23. Babylon 5
Composer: Christopher Franke
Never seen the show, but like most space sci-fi shows, a lot of talent is put into the music.
Composer: Silversher & Silversher
Artist: Jim Gilstrap
Gilstrap is a funny name. Also, the Silvershers have done a lot of stuff for Henson, including writing some good songs for Sid The Science Kid and The Pajanimals, two shows my sons a fan of.
Composer: George Aliceson Tipton
Holy crap. Rene Auberjonois was on this show?
28. Orange is the New Black
Composer: Regina Spektor
Artist: Regina Spektor
Already a pretty big fan of hers. “You’ve Got Time” probably isn’t even my top 10 of her songs, but it’s catchy without being trite and it fits the theme of the show perfectly. Here’s the full version.
27. 3-2-1 Contact
Composer: Tom Anthony
Oh, another show from my wee childhood. It totally got me jazzed for learning and stuff. I even had a subscription to their magazine for a short time.
30. Perfect Strangers
Composer: Jesse Frederick and Bennett Salvay
Artist: David Pomeranz
Never seen the show (and I wish I would have, seeing that Bronson Pinchot stars), but of all the cheesy 80’s theme songs about love and family, this is easily my favorite.
29. Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers
Composer: Mark Mueller
Artist: The Jets
I had no idea this was performed by The Jets, nor did I know The Jets were from Minneapolis and performed The Star Spangled Banner during the 1987 World Series. Crazy.
Here’s the extended version of the theme song you don’t see on TV.
32. NYPD Blue
Composer: Mike Post
The first of several entries in this countdown by Mike Post. The guy was good at his job. For the life of me, I couldn’t find just the regular opening credits sequence to this show anywhere on-line, so here’s an extended mash-up that ain’t too bad.
31. Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Composer: Philip Pope
The American version of the show is weaker in every single way (save Wayne Brady) than the British version. The British version had the funnier and less obtrusive host. They got more games into each episode. They had a wider variety of comedians that kept things fresh. It was less censored. And the theme song was miles better.