Music Break: 5 Favorite TV shows’ Opening Credit Themes

tvshowsmusicbreak

My hubby was listening to Spotify the other day and he was playing some really great music, which turned out to be scores from some TV series. It might have been the Westworld one that made me take notice, and of course it’s by one of my fave composers, Ramin Djawadi. I remember growing up in the 80s, some of my fave shows have memorable opening themes, i.e Dallas, Miami Vice, MacGyver, Mission: Impossible, Knight Rider, A-Team, etc. Boy listening to those for this post definitely took me back, ahah. Well, contemporary themes perhaps aren’t as catchy, they sound much darker, more ominous, but more emotional and indelible. So here are five great TV scores from the past five years. This post also doubles as an opening credits appreciation, because first impression is everything and the best ones are absolutely indelible.

Netflix’s Daredevil

Definitely one of my fave opening titles. Normally I’d fast-forward the opening just to get the show, especially when you’re bingeing 2-3 shows at a time. But I’d always watch this one as it’s just so striking and it gives you a hint that our protagonist is blind in a graceful way. Composer John Paesano said he didn’t want to create something that sound like a typical superhero sound. Well he totally achieved that.

Westworld

This is one of the two Ramin Djawadi‘s work I’m featuring on this shortlist. He’s definitely one of the best composers working today. I’ve highlighted his awesome Pacific Rim score here, but his scores for the two HBO series are definitely much darker and foreboding. This one certainly has a western/sci-fi feel to it that is absolutely perfect for the show. And man, the visuals of the opening credits totally gives me the chills!

Downton Abbey

Elegant, lush, classy and wonderfully evocative. I absolutely adore the theme music by Scottish composer John Lunn. It’s tailor-made for fans of period dramas like yours truly, as it just makes my heart turns to mush every time I hear it. Such a gorgeous melody that puts you in the right mood to watch all the dramas unfolds both upstairs and downstairs of the Crawleys’ household.

Game of Thrones

I actually haven’t seen a single episode of Game of Thrones, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate its music. It conveys the sense of a journey in the vast medieval world chockfull of intrigue, volatility and sheer unpredictability. I’ve started to recognize Ramin Djawadi‘s signature sound, I can’t explain it but it’s there.

Sherlock

As an Anglophile, I LOVE the London scenery of the opening credits, with a score that has a certain wit about it to match the titular hero. The score is by David Arnold and Michael Price. Arnold’s done quite a few Bond soundtrack, including one of my all time favorites Casino Royale. The show isn’t overly dark and I think the music reflects that. It has a hint of mystery and the idea of puzzle solving, but in a rather playful way.

Honorable Mentions:

Stranger Things

Jessica Jones

Black Sails

Well it seems plenty of Netflix’s original series have pretty awesome theme songs! These two are definitely memorable, and the Black Sails one (which I have posted about it here) also has an incredible opening credits visuals to go with its haunting music.


Well, these are just some of my fave TV opening credits’ scores. What are some of YOUR faves?

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27 thoughts on “Music Break: 5 Favorite TV shows’ Opening Credit Themes

  1. I really like the openings of DareDevil and Stranger Things. Westworld’s opening is pretty cool too, the show itself was kind of meh, not sure if I’ll watch the second season.

    My favorites are The Walking Dead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4xrJ_r6PUs
    House of Cards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w-O60x1bYk
    X-Files: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBoMEKL7HFc
    Unsolved Mysteries, a show I used to watch back when I was younger and it really creeped me out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwAG-DnWhiY

    And the shows I watched religiously with my family back in the days, Quantum Leap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE_L2NSuSNs

    1. Wow you’re like the first person who’s not wowed by Westworld. I can’t wait to see it later this month as we like to binge on shows. I hope to finish at least 1 season of Black Mirror.

      I remember House of Cards had a good opening sequence.

      1. Don’t get me wrong, Westworld is a well made show but it tried too hard to be clever and personally I got annoyed by its so-called mysteries they want the audience to figure out. I’m not the only one who’s not crazy about the show, go to this site and read the author’s recap each episodes AFTER you watch the first season: http://www.highdefdigest.com/blog/?s=westworld+recap&submit=Search

        I pretty much agreed on a lot of his points about the show.

          1. Thankfully Black Mirror don’t have a lot of episodes of each season, I think season two only has 4 episodes including the White Christmas one. I watched two episodes of the new season over the weekend and so far I’m very impressed.

  2. You happened to mention a few of my favorites, too! DA–absolutely. I love Ramin Djawadi’s genius. I am hooked by his style and complexity of his score. As far as I’m concerned, the score and opening sequence of Westworld is the best part about it. I enjoyed binging on Sherlock Holmes. The score for it was great. A personal favorite for me is “Hell on Wheels”. Building the Continental Railroad took guts and a motley crew of survivalists.

    1. Glad you love Ramin’s work, too! Haven’t seen Hell on Wheels, but that is an intriguing topic that no doubt makes for a fascinating series.

  3. I prefer the old main themes you mention which I think are more iconic and instantly recognizable. But as you say, the new stuff has its own mood, and I do like the theme to Stranger Things.

    1. I just think the catchier themes fit better for more playful series, which are what most of the 80s shows are. I like the darker, moodier scores that’s more emotionally resonant.

  4. PrairieGirl

    My favorite on your list is Sherlock, but another one very high on my list is BBC/PBS Zen, very reminiscent of the 1960s and Bond, but very much it’s own:

    1. No I haven’t watched the show but my hubby was listening to the soundtrack the other day and I immediately loved it. Man that Ramin Djawadi guy is super duper talented!

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