Wednesday, October 11, 2006

On Theme Songs

So I was watching Boston Legal last night (that show is all kinds of fun), and as the title credits began and I started dancing in my chair to the theme music, it occurred to me how perfect the Boston Legal theme is in setting the tone of the show. It's offbeat, fun, and funky, with a generous side portion of sex and sleaze. It fits the show perfectly, letting viewers know what they'll be in for for the next sixty minutes, and getting them in the right mood.

A theme song, obviously, can be a powerful thing. Where would The X-Files be without the spooky whistling giving us the chills right off the bat? Where would The West Wing be without its noble, patriotic orchestra? Hell, even bad shows can have great theme songs. I often watch Las Vegas at least through the opening credits just because I enjoy their "A Little Less Conversation" remix so much, and sometimes I even get suckered into watching a whole episode.

So with that in mind, what the hell, Veronica Mars? You HAD a good theme song! The lyrics may not have had a ton to do with the show after the first season or so, but the song was great, and it always got me hyped up and energized for a new episode. So...Rob Thomas decides to keep the somewhat irrelevant lyrics, but put the song on downers or something so that it's all slow and moody. Um, yeah, I don't watch Veronica Mars for the moodiness, and if this is Rob Thomas's way of telling us that moody is what he's bringing to the table this season, I'm not on board (although to be clear, I've really liked the first couple episodes).

And Veronica Mars isn't the only show to mess with a perfectly good theme song this season, either. America's Next Top Model went from fierce to blah, muting the "NA na na's" I loved so much. For shame, Tyra! Don't you "wanna be on top?"

And don't even get me started with Studio 60. What the hell is that, Muzak? Um, if you don't want people to think your show is boring and generic, Sorkin, how about letting someone who ISN'T Kenny G compose the theme? Maybe if you had a dramatic theme song that let people know where you were going with the tone of the show, instead of a ten-second elevator ride, they'd stop whining about how Studio 60 isn't funny. Just a thought.

Wow, that really turned into a rant, there. Who knew I felt so strongly about theme songs? I guess you don't realize how important the theme is to a show until TPTB start messing with them...


Lori said...

CSI has another great theme song. "Who Are You" is irreverent, cool, and gets the point across (namely, that if you've committed a crime, they want to know who you are). Also: Futurama. Because you can't not love the chimes.

Liz said...

Good call on Futurama. CSI kind of lost me when they chose the Teenage Wasteland song for CSI: NY, just to stick with the Who theme.