Sometimes Better Than The Show: Listing The Top 10 TV Opening Theme Songs

The Leftovers

We are in the golden age renaissance for TV, people. What this means is, TV has NEVER been as good as it is right now, and there is a chance it will never be again. From the sweeping epic that is Game of Thrones to the shambling ‘walkers’ from The Walking Dead, TV has never been as entertaining (or as widely popular) as it is now, and for good reason. The shows we are getting are insanely ambitious and wickedly entertaining. Fargo, anyone? That show is so close to perfect is scares me. Thing is, with this great advancement in TV, we have also had a killer change made to how shows are scored. No longer are opening themes songs ABOUT the show. Now we have orchestral themes and hip hop influences opening themes and simple, short openings that still evoke responses because of the very shows they are opening. 

With that in mind, I decided to make a list of the 10 best TV show opening themes out there. Keep in mind there will be a classic or two in here for those uninitiated and these are presented in no particular order.

Jessica Jones

What I love about the JJ opening theme song is it sways in musical influence from beginning to end, seemingly starting like a slow jazz number (sort of how the show started a little slow) and then by the end, the inclusion of hip hop elements tell you that the show is NOT going to be what people expect, which is very true in this case.The theme bursts to life by the end much like the titualr heroine does of the show does.


The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

They Alive, Dammit! The fact that this extremely likable show opens with an extremely likeable theme doesn’t hurt it at all. Just the genius of the people behind the scenes to use the police report from the first episode and turn it into an auto-tuned, songified version of those same lines was not only very hip, but also made for one of the catchiest theme songs in a long, long time.
Hell, the DAMMIT from the opening is my text tone on my phone.


The Leftovers (ALL Opening Themes)

Okay, if you watch the video above you may be in for a shock. You see, without saying too much, season three of this (frankly, spectacular) show began with a mindfuck. They changed their theme song (for one episode) into the theme song from the 90’s sitcom Perfect Strangers.
Now I am not going to tell you why they did that, but I AM going to tell you it is pertinent to the show and it was one of the greatest, most meta “fool your audience” moments in TV history.
Would also like to mention the other two themes they use for season one and two, which are also phenomenal.

It is also one of the best openings of all time, even visually (in that first season, at least).


M*A*S*H

Throwing you suckers a curveball for a moment. While Millennials may be screaming “WHAT IS a M.A.S.H?”, any of us a little bit older know this show about life in wartime for some doctors had an opening theme song that kind made you want to die, which fit well with the themes of the Vietnam War.
Funny side note, the song was already written by the show creator’s son and he just decided to use the song because thematically, it fit so well.
By the way “Suicide is Painless” might be the most depressing name of a song, ever.
But war IS hell, so it worked.


The Misfits

If you have not seen this show from the UK you have no idea about the magic you are missing out on. Think about the TV show Heroes from America and now make it suck less and boom, you have Misfits. A show about a ragtag group of punk kids who get some badass and freaky powers.
The show is frenetic and chaotic and surreal, and the opening theme song for the show sets the pace for that perfectly.
And outside of that, it is just a damn good song on its own, makes you bop your head like your Michael J. Fox. Heh heh.


Weeds

Little Boxes ended up being the best thing about this show by the end of its run. A song about how life forces us all into ‘little boxes’ where we are forced to live cliche’’ lives like everyone else. In a show about a Mom choosing to deal weed, it is a song that fits in really well, as you know her lifestyle is anything but “Little Boxes” despite how it may look from the outside.
Another cool side note, this song became so popular the showrunners began letting famous bands do covers for certain episodes. Very cool, but I chose to share version one with you because it just fits LIKE A GLOVE.


The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Introduce me to the one person who doesn’t know every single word to this opening theme and I will reveal to you they must be an alien because every self-respecting person on earth knows this opening theme song, word for word.
Hell, I even do a gentle, soft acoustic cover of it for people and they go apeshit and sing along. If that is not a testimony to greatest opening theme songs of all time, I don’t know what is.


Mad Men

RJD2 is a genius, and if you don’t listen to his music, I feel bad for you. That said, using RJD2’s song A Beautiful Mine about a show where under the surface, the tension is bubbling, works on so many levels. 
While the song is great on its own (as all his music is), this song mixed with the stunning visuals for the opening leave you with a theme you will never forget, even long after show vanishes (kinda like Fresh Prince and M.A.S.H).


Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders is, without question, the best TV show not enough of you are watching. Cillian Murphy. Tom Hardy. Sam Neill. What more do you need? Well, how about Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song Red Right Hand opening the show? That doesn’t sell you, you might be dead inside.
Suffice it to say, Red Right Hand is an incredibly intimidating and daunting song, and that is just what the Peaky Blinders are (Irish gang, long story, watch the fucking show).
I must also give more musical credit to this show. They licensed three Radiohead songs for use in their last season, and their use of You And Whose Army by said band for a titular scene in season 3 was truly chill-inducing.


Game of Thrones

Hahahaha, what, you thought this wouldn’t make the list? Come on, we don’t even need to say anything about this epic intro except if it didn’t exist, this list probably wouldn’t either.


Honorable Mention:

Steven Universe Theme Song

I know people do not take cartoons as seriously as they tv with actual actors and actresses in it, but Steven Universe opening theme, its vibrant energy, and its constant use of music on the actual show puts it leagues above most cartoons out there, and if you are undermining this because it is a cartoon, you really have no idea what you are missing out on.
They have even released an OST (original soundtrack) that placed in Billboards top 100, which is unhead of.
Check it out and thank me later.