Theme songs and credit sequences

AP: Television theme songs are fading fast: “Today, show themes are doing a fast fade as the networks crunch their programming budgets.”
The theme song can put the viewer in the mood and mindset to watch the show. The Sopranos does this particularly well. The opening theme song is the voyage through the Lincoln Tunnel to Tony Soprano’s New Jersey. Danny Elfman’s theme for The Simpsons is a throwback to the classic television show themes. Even when The Simpsons debuted back in 1989, that long orchestral theme was an anachronism.
And, over the last 17 years, television shows have become shorter, in order to fit more commercial time into that same hour or half-hour. On mid-era and later Simpsons episodes, the full theme is rarely shown, to have enough time for story in the episode.
The theme song is all about setting the mood and tone. One of my favorites is Lost’s non-song theme. The simple black and white title card and disturbing shifting chord is disconcertingly eerie. Since Lost usually does a good job of setting up some odd event or feature in the cold open or previouslies, the disconcerting evil chord works.
Of the other BRR-favorite shows, Doctor Who’s theme is a classic. TAR works well at setting mood, but isn’t particularly memorable.
Battlestar Galactica’s theme music not only conveys a sense of the isolation and loneliness of the surviving colonists, but also manages to be almost the exact opposite of the vaguely-John Williams theme from the 1970’s BSG series. All distance from the Lorne Greene series is good. Unlike the traditional series that run the same credit sequence week after week, Galactica flashes forward to scenes from later in the episode. Not only that, but the credits did (until this third season) update the count from the whiteboard of extinction.
Finally, I’m simply ambivalent about the The Office theme music.

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