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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
29 thoughts on “Music Break: 5 Favorite TV shows’ Opening Credit Themes”
The score for Westworld is awesome as I love what Ramin Djawadi does as well as his takes on those songs by Radiohead, NIN, the Stones, and the Cure.
I’ll listen to the whole soundtrack, but yeah Ramin’s work is amazing. He’s definitely a talented composer.
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
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
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.
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.
Black Mirror is great, watch the White Christmas episode soon, it’s brilliant.
We still haven’t got time to watch more episodes of Black Mirror but yeah the premise is VERY intriguing and REALLY gets under your skin.
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.
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.
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.
I enjoyed it very much. More and more as the series went on.
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.
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.
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:
Ah yes, kind of like a retro Bond, I love it!
All great choices! Glad to see Stranger Things got an honorable mention! 🙂
I think the music of Stranger Things is very good, I like the inherently retro vibe!
Yey you featured Westworld! Are you watching the show? The soundtrack was released on Monday and this is just incredible, it’s from episode 3 ending – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGNjpgSC2ZU
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!
American Horror Story (every season gives me the heeb), True Blood, Orange is the New Black… just off the top of my head.
Hi there Abbi, glad to see you, been a while. I remember seeing even the ads for AHS and man the visuals are incredible and incredibly creepy!
I would say American Horror Story has some excellent ones that send shivers down the spine. And The X-Files is pretty iconic.
Hi there Vin! Yeah I saw the AHS one, it’s definitely VERY creepy. The X-Files theme is indeed iconic.
AHS gets creepier with every season. And although the X Files one is creepy, it really gets in your head!
Totally! And it’s one of those instantly recognizable score too even hearing just a few notes. Brilliant score indeed.
It’s unforgettable.Totally 😉 Great post 😉
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