Monday, October 09, 2006

Great TV Themes

The most overlooked aspect of any given TV show is often its opening theme. While some programmes are content to utilise standard-issue orchestral scores as their themes, other edgier shows prefer to tap the talents of somewhat leftfield composers to write and perform the music for the opening sequences. Here are some significant examples of unique TV opening themes for some innovative shows:

Veteran score composer Mark Snow manages to come up with an instantly memorable electronic-based theme for one of television's most artistically prominent programmes. A recurring, echoing sequencer line, coupled with an eerie-sounding modified whistle sample, equals one of the most recognised TV themes anywhere.

Mark Snow is on board once again for Chris Carter's second most well-known series, producing a relentlessly grim, disheartening threnody that aptly suits the general mood of the show. Juxtaposed alongside protagonist Frank Black's perpetually glum, world-weary expression and the bleak, rain-lashed environment of Seattle (where the show is primarily set in), Snow's dark-toned, cello-based lamentation almost seems like a musical commentary on the hopelessness nand despair of it all.

A dramatic theme by experimental group ES Posthumos that incorporates electronica textures and orchestral theatrics. A perfect musical companion to the desolate, forlorn atmosphere of one of the most underrated detective shows around.

Angelo Badalementi's stately, elegant theme is actually derived from "Falling", a composition by Badalamenti and avant-garde auteur David Lynch (who also created "Twin Peaks"). Taken from the debut album of Julee Cruise, an icy-voiced chanteuse whose heartbreaking soprano has soundtracked many a nightmarish Lynch production, the majestic temperament of "Falling" glibly masks the horrifyingly bizarre nature of the show.

Nerf Herder's post-grunge theme is a fun, punkish ditty that brilliantly complements the insouciant nature of the show, and also underscores the turbulence and confusion of post-adolescent youth culture portrayed on the series.


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