There are certain theme songs from genre television that are immediately recognizable after just a few notes have been played, such as Game of Thrones or Star Trek. But what shows have the best opening credits music of them all? The discussion topic each month on Sci Fi Fidelity has the daunting task of narrowing the choices down to three for each host, and that was quite difficult here in January of 2020. Luckily, we had plenty of help from our listeners, who contributed their own favorites to the conversation.
Even the hosts themselves interpreted the topic at hand differently. In some cases, the iconic nature of the theme was at play, such as the synthesized whistling in the opening music for The X-Files or the similar sliding tune in Doctor Who’s opening credits. Other times, the instrumentation was more important for the theme’s standout status, as with the electric guitar riff in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even the inclusion of vocals was a key element in choosing between the haunting, vaguely Middle-Eastern voice in Battlestar Galactica versus that in The 100 opener.
And then, of course, there’s the sheer catchiness of themes like the one in Preacher, with its mixture of grittiness and choir singing suited exactly to the themes of the show in which it appears; it’s hard not to hum, clap, or sway along. But for that essential singalong quality, an opener needs lyrics and none are quite so inviting as the bluesy, folksy theme of Firefly, which was actually composed and written by showrunner Joss Whedon himself. You can’t visit a convention these days without hearing the “you can’t take the sky from me” refrain emanating from the filk end of the con hall.
In our feedback segment, the listeners went classic with their examples submitted via the podcast’s Facebook group, including the theme from Thunderbirds and the original Lost in Space. What are your favorite genre TV theme songs? Be sure to subscribe to Sci Fi Fidelity so that you never miss an episode! Each week we review a currently airing show, discuss a topic of interest to genre television, or interview someone from behind the scenes of our favorite series. Find us in your podcast app of choice or simply listen below!
Michael Ahr is a writer, reviewer, and podcaster here at Den of Geek; you can check out his work here or follow him on Twitter (@mikescifi). Dave Vitagliano has been writing and podcasting about science fiction television since 2012. You can read more of his work here.