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Any Major TV Themes

September 12th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

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As we prepare to say goodbye to two of the finest shows of this new Golden Age of Television, Breaking Bad and Dexter, it seems a good thing to have a TV themes compilation.

On this mix of 84 television themes, most from the US and a few from the UK, I am giving you an overview of my television-watching habits over a lifetime. These themes were not chosen for quality (though many are very good), but because they announced the beginning of a new journey in a succession of one might call appointment TV shows — programmes which I have made it a point to watch, at least for some stages of their run.

Some I persevered with for the duration (such as Hill Street Blues, The Wonder Tears, Seinfeld, The West Wing, Sopranos, Homicide, The Shield, etc), others I followed faithfully before becoming bored with them (such as Desperate Housewives, LA Law, Mad About You and Curb Your Enthusiasm). Some I followed when I didn’t know better, until I did (Dallas, Dynasty).

The most obscure inclusion here might be Kaz, in which Ron Leibman (Rachel’s dad, Friends fans) played an ex-con lawyer. I have no idea if it actually was any good — it lasted only one season — but I watched it faithfully every Friday night when I was in my mid-teens.

Towards the end are the themes of the international shows I loved as a child in Germany in the early ’70s, most of them being shown then as re-runs. My favourite at the time was Bonanza. I’ve not included the themes of my favourite German-language shows, but I’m running them here as separate mix. It does, however, include a few themes from British TV shows. I have also omitted cartoon shows, hence the absence of The Simpsons.

The composers’ names, if I could find them, are in the ID3 Tags. The mix is timed to fit on a CD-R, so it might come in useful as an addition to a trivia night. It includes home-tuned covers. PW in comments.

L.A. Law (1986-94) • Magnum PI (1980-88) • Hill Street Blues (1981-87) • thirtysomething (1987-91) • Night Court (1984-92) •  Cheers (1982-93) • Frasier (1993-2004) • Mad About You (1992-99) • Murphy Brown (1988-98) • Spin City (1996-2002) • Seinfeld (1989-99) • Quantum Leap (1989-93) • Law & Order (1990-2010) • NYPD Blue (1993-2005) • Homicide – Life On The Street (1993-99) •  The Practice (1997-2004) • The West Wing (1999-2006) • The Sopranos (1999-2007) • Six Feet Under (2001-05) • The Shield (2002-08) • The Wire (S4) (2002-08) • Freaks & Geeks (1999) • Veronica Mars (2004-07) • Entourage (2004-11) • Arrested Development (2003-9,13) • Flight Of The Conchords (2007-08) • Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-11) • Desperate Housewives (2004-12) • Prison Break (2005-09) • Justified (2010-  ) • True Blood (2008-  ) • Breaking Bad (2008-13) • Dexter (2006-13) • Mad Men (2007-  ) • The Walking Dead (2010- ) • Lie To Me (2009-11) • Shameless (US) (2011-  ) • Louie (2010-  ) • Everybody Hates Chris (2006-09) • The Big Bang Theory (2007-  ) • Modern Family (2009-  ) • Pushing Daisies (2007-09) • Downton Abbey (2010-  ) • The Office (UK) (2001-03) • The Inbetweeners (UK) (2008-10) • Father Ted (1995-98) • Bottom (1991-95) • Blackadder II (1986) • Blackadder The Third (1987) • Fawlty Towers (1975/79) • Three’s Company (1977-84) • Police Squad (1982) • Sledge Hammer (1986-88) • Just Shoot Me (1997-2003) • Friends (1994-2004) • Wings (1990-97) • The Wonder Years (1988-92) • Wiseguy (1987-90) • Matlock (1986-92) • Moonlighting (1985-89) • Family Ties (1982-89) • Taxi (1978-83) • Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-79) • Soap (1977-81) • Dallas (1978-91) • Dynasty (1981-89) • Family (1976-79) • Kaz (1978-79) • Petrocelli (1974-76) • Streets of San Francisco (1972-77) • The Waltons (1972-81) • The Partridge Family (1970-74) • The Brady Bunch (1969-74) • Riptide (Australia) (1969) • Star Trek (1966-69) • Gunsmoke (1955-75) • Bonanza (1959-73) • The Virginian (1962-71) • Get Smart (1965-70) • Daktari (1966-69) • Tarzan (1966-68) • Flipper (1964-67) • Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo (1966-68) • Lassie (1954-73)

And the listing for the German themes:
Der Kommissar (1968-74) • Derrick (1974-97) • Tatort (1970- ) •  Der Bastian (1973) •  ZDF Hitparade (1969-2000) •  Das aktuelle Sport-Studio (1964- ) •  Sportschau (1962- ) •  Der Grosse Preis (1974-93) •  Dalli (1971-86) •  Die Montagsmaler (1974-79) •  Aktenzeichen XY…Ungelöst (1967-  ) •  Ein Herz und eine Seele (1973-76) •  Pan Tau (1970-78) •  Die Sendung mit der Maus (1971-  ) •  Dick und Doof (1970-73) •  Percy Stuart (1969-72) •  Pippi Langstrumpf (1969-70) •  Sesamstrasse (1973-  ) •  Sandmännchen (West; 70s-80s)

Any Major TV Themes
German TV Themes

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  1. halfhearteddude
    September 12th, 2013 at 07:58 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. JohnnyDiego
    September 12th, 2013 at 12:40 | #2

    I stopped watching network TV in the late 60s. To me nearly all TV dramas were over-loud, overacted, over-dramatic soap operas; all sitcoms sophomoric and filled with the same sex and bathroom humor. Of course I watched the classics. (To name only a few: Hill Street Blues, Seinfeld, Cheers, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, and of course Fawlty Towers.)
    But its funny how I recognize nearly every TV theme you have included in this set, the majority of which I have never viewed. Somehow during everyday life these things get imprinted on our brains. Of course it helps to have had two children who grew up in the 80s.
    With my iPod on shuffle, these little snippets will be fun to hear mixed in with Any Major Soul or Country.
    Thanks.

  3. tom
    September 13th, 2013 at 22:03 | #3

    thanks so much for creating this collection…..it’s outstanding
    channel surfing has never been so much fun!

  4. dogbreath
    September 15th, 2013 at 00:17 | #4

    Yes, lots of fond memories recalling the shows that went with the themes – and some don’t need recalling, of course, as they are being infinitely recycled on satellite tv. Great collection, many thanks!

  5. September 16th, 2013 at 10:46 | #5

    Now that`s what I call hard work…

  6. September 22nd, 2013 at 17:50 | #6

    Good list. It’s part of American pop culture to know all of these and if you don’t you are deemed weird and out of touch.

    I’d suggest watching “Gilmore Girls” – a bit on the chick flick side, but there’s a great remake of Carole King’s “Where You Lead” (sung by her) for the credits, and the entire show is filled with witty dialogue and references to obscure bands. Sam Phillips (not the old guy) does a lot of the music, but you’ll also hear XTC, Altered Images and Grant Lee Buffalo.

  7. RonNasty64
    September 25th, 2013 at 03:06 | #7

    Next time you could include the original theme to “Party of 5”: “Closer to Free” by the BoDeans. The song became their biggest hit 2 years AFTER being released because of the TV show.

  8. October 3rd, 2013 at 12:58 | #8

    Great selection (the German as well), brings back memories of my childhood. Thank you very much.

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