1/17/11

The Boob Tube #23: The Greatest Sci-Fi TV Themes and Intros

Star Trek

Like any "greatest ever" list, it's just someone's opinion. Take it or leave it.  I've had over forty years of science fiction intros entering my skull. Before I could even walk, I was watching Doctor Who with my dad.  Naturally, my choices are affected by nostalgia and sentimentality, and not a purely objective look at the pieces themselves.  It's unavoidable.

Before I ramble on even further, here's my choices for the greatest science fiction television show intros and theme songs.  The best part is, I've included audio clips so you can listen to each one!



1. Star Trek

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How can the Star Trek intro not be at the top of the list.  No matter what you think of the show, you'll have to agree this intro captures the thrill of exploration about as good as can be done.  We may be office workers or school children, but when this intro plays, the dashing and adventurous Magellan lurking deep inside all of us gets conjured up.

2. Doctor Who

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Ominous and futuristic, this theme song has been going strong for decades, and it's been imitated countless times.  Nostalgia aside, for my money, the sound of this track captures the "sci-fi feel" better than any other.  Only Star Trek trumps it due to Kirk's brilliant prose.

3. UFO

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Takes a few seconds to kick in; but once it does, this theme music is about as groovy as it gets.  You can just picture the Moon Maidens in go-go boots rockin' to the groove.

4. The Twilight Zone

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Is there an intro to any show, science fiction or otherwise, more iconic than this? The "doo dee doo doo, doo dee doo doo" notes have become a part of our lexicon.

5. The Tomorrow People

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Like Doctor Who, the theme for this one has that kinda creepy vibe, with nice science fiction sound to it.  While not as recognizable as many other on this list, it's no less amazing.

6. The Six Million Dollar Man

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“We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better...stronger...faster.”.... Yes! Gives me goosebumps to this day.

7. The Outer Limits

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"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture."

8. The Jetsons

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Like The Brady Bunch theme and The Flintstones, you've got to give it props for being so damn catchy.  People will probably be reciting the lyrics till the day we actually are flying around in space cars.

9. Lost in Space

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10. The Bionic Woman

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11. Thunderbirds

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12. Time Tunnel

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13. Max Headroom

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14. Fireball XL-5

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15. My Favorite Martian

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16. V: The Series

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17. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

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Bionic Woman

22 comments:

  1. For me, The Outer Limits and Doctor Who are the most science fictiony tunes. They offer the most starkness and spine-shiveriness. I don't even like Dr. Who, but that song is amazing, especially when you consider that it wasn't played in real time or with synthesizers.

    Man, somebody what's up with the 2 drum parts in the first part of Bionic Woman after the quiet intro? Not together at all. And the 2nd half of that song kinda sucks - so stiff and empty.

    Way back when VHS was king, my friend and I edited some sex scenes from a porno together and timed it so it would sorta play along with The Jetsons' theme song. "Jane, his wife," "daughter Judy," the weird *splurp* noises and such, and of course "Jane! Get me off this crazy thing!" Not a lot to do with your great collection of theme songs, but I just had to tell about it. :)

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  2. At times, the UFO theme song sounds kind of like the Laugh-In theme song. Both go well with martinis and women in miniskirts and go-go boots.

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  3. I was going to include space 1999, but thought my list would be to Gerry Anderson heavy. One brazen omission is the iconic Land of the Lost theme... we'll pretend it's on there.

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  4. Armpit Studios: your tape MUST see the light of day on the Internet!

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  5. Well done! I would have included Space:1999 & Battlestar Galactica and I would have chosen the "countdown" version of the Lost in Space theme, but it's a good list.

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  6. I don't believe I've heard the Dr. Who theme before. Odd since I've seen a couple episodes, but perhaps I didn't watch the beginning or the end of the show.
    A pretty eclectic mix. All these TV theme things you've been doing really help a person appreciate the really great theme songs.
    RetroHound.com

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  7. Lucky for you, I digitized it a couple years ago. The tape was in poor shape, plus the source tape for the edits (Nurses of the 4077 IIRC) was already probably 3rd generation, and at least one of the two VCRs didn't understand the concept of tracking. I forgot that the whole concept was to have fun with the Mike & Stacy sex scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Also, there were more songs used than I remembered. And we didn't get the timing right for the video, so there's a few seconds of original porno audio at the end. But what the hell - parts of it still make me laugh.

    Just got it uploaded to my DropBox.

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  8. What? No Logan's Run TV series theme? It was catchy, can't deny that.
    Here's the Youtube link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owNi60LLK1c

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  9. I was in a band long ago who's niche was doing covers of most of these theme songs...

    http://www.thenickatoms.org

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  10. My definite favourite s the intro from Spphire & steel. Used to scare the bejesus out of me when I was a kid.

    Just a short while ago wathced the the 1st season of Space: 1999 and it has pretty funky theme as well! Ah, mattr already beat me to it...

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  11. I love the Space:1999 first season intro, at least they got something right. I like the Knight Rider theme, I have never watched the show though.
    What about Jerry Goldsmith's Star Trek theme?
    I also miss the Buck Rogers theme vocal version.

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  12. Just my comment I posted on flicr about the Star Trek image:
    "Then it's maybe not just me thinking Spock hints more to a Zachary Quinto appearance than Nimoy. I think I'm getting paranoid.
    Uhura looks great but her and Spock are giving Kirk their butts."

    I agree that Sulu looks disturbingly more like that-Cho-guy from the 2009 film than Takei.

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  13. Thanks for those....UFO gave me that "retro" chill up my spine...MM good! (Moon-Maiden Good)

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  14. OK, now for my 2 cents worth.

    Very good collection and I agree with all of them.

    Omissions: "Countdown" theme for Lost in Space.
    Land of the Giants (either year, they were both good)
    The Star Lost - Cheesy show but great opening.
    Airwolf and/or Knightrider - How could you miss those (except they were 80s shows)?

    AND the OPENING theme to Fireball XL-5. You have the closing credits.

    Stingray - Stand by for action!

    and finally, "Wild Wild West."

    Like you said, no list can please everyone, but I have to agree with all the ones you did include.

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  15. Oh, and if you are going to include "The Jetsons,"
    how the heck could you forget "Johnny Quest"???

    Possible the best "cartoon" theme ever done.

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  16. Great list, esp. Doctor Who. My brother and I have been a fan of that show since the late 70's.

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  17. Great list, but I would have included "Space 1999" too.

    Hey I've just discovered that "Time Tunnel" episodes are available for view on Hulu. They have the entire series!

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  18. Terrific list of t.v. themes! But check out CATHERINE BUJOLDS Space:1999 site which has the theme from "STAR MAIDENS" which had a slow sounding "beeping" theme which sounded like 10 cc's "I'M NOT IN LOVE". Go under video and click the "end theme" -it's totally funky, and it was best remembered here in the UNITED STATES IN THE 1970'S!

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  19. Great selection of golden oldies..

    Raster

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  20. Love the theme songs but even better is that incredible Bionic Woman poster at the end!

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  21. I agree with Space 1999 and Buck Rogers.

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