You know those shows with with fucking perfect theme music?
Some theme music is good, or fun, or suits the show well, but truly amazing theme music is rare. To me, the best theme music/songs are the ones that I look forward to hearing on each episode. The ones I do not fast forward through on the DVR. A great theme isn’t just a vehicle used to roll the credits and title; rather, it actually adds something to the show and it tells first-time viewers something about what they’re watching.
My favorites are The Walking Dead, The West Wing, and ER.
The Walking Dead because it ratchets up the intensity so perfectly. The first few minutes of the pilot didn’t completely sell me on the show. Not that it wasn’t an outstanding pilot (it totally was), but it was really the theme music that initially hooked me. It starts of with a jolt, and then builds the tension so that by the end when the title comes up, the mood is perfectly set for the show - I’m anxious and slightly nervous for what’ll happen next but also dying to see whatever it is.
The West Wing because it’s so inspirational and moving. There’s a reason why NBC used TWW's music for their fluff pieces in the Olympics. It's not a subtle theme, but a little past the halfway mark it gets quieter, and then finishes with a big swell of music that makes me so emotional and proud of all the characters and everything the show is about.
And, finally, ER, the first theme music I loved, is sort of like a combination of TWD and TWW - it builds the intensity but also makes me emotional. Just like the show was a combination of fast-paced medical cases and emotional storylines about the characters. The theme music from the first twelve seasons is about 50 seconds long, and my favorite part is the last 20 seconds or so. It’s when it switches from intense to poignant, followed by the three beats at the very end. I know it’s just all wrapped up in my love for the show and everything, but ER's music just gets to me more than anything other theme.