Top 20 TV Theme Songs from Genre Series, part 1 of 2

I think you will agree…

Sometimes, the music in a TV series can make a good series great or a great series even better. (Or, even a bad series tolerable.) This is especially true with the opening theme, which sets the mood for what the audience is about to watch. In fact, beyond the opening and closing credits, you might only ever notice any real music during transitional shots. But, those few times can make all the difference.

In this post and the next, I want to focus on the theme music from some of my favorite shows — from stuff already in syndication during my early childhood to new stuff currently airing. My first criterion was, of course, that the series had to fall under the sci-fi/fantasy and action/adventure banner that this blog is about. The theme couldn’t be taken from a movie (e.g., “The Highlander” series borrowed Queen’s “Princes of the Universe” from the original movie). And, the theme had to be — to my mind, at least — particularly catchy or otherwise memorable.

How many of these can you remember before playing the video clips? I have likely left out some of your favorites, but you’ll probably agree that these are among the best of genre theme songs. Moving in chronological order…

1) The Lone Ranger (1949-1957)

2) Peter Gunn (1958-1961)

3) Star Trek: TOS (1966-1969)

4) Mission: Impossible (1966-1973)

5) Batman (1966-1968)

6) Hawaii Five-O (1968-1980)

7) The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-1978)

8) Wonder Woman (1975-1979)

9) The Bionic Woman (1976-1978)

10) Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979)

That was fun! Did I get to your faves, yet? I hear you humming something….

Stay tuned until next week, when we continue the nostalgia trip into the 1980s and beyond!

P.S.  Just for the record, #s 1 & 2 were before my time, and #s 3 thru 6 I only ever saw in re-runs. I’m not that old!

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Dark Reflections

“Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who’s the fairest of them all?”

This post is about Star Trek’s “mirror” universe and the original series crew. Well, to be honest, it is mostly about the third and latest episode of “Star Trek Continues” (STC). But, before I watched it, I decided to re-watch the ST:TOS episode (#4 of Season 2) that started it all: “Mirror, Mirror”. It had been several years since I last saw it, and I had forgotten how much fun it was. (Amazing how much a gold sash and a beard or bare belly can do to change a person!) One of my favorite TOS episodes, I’d have to say.

poster for ep. 3 of Star Trek ContinuesThe STC episode in question is titled “Fairest of Them All”, and it picks up immediately following the events of “Mirror, Mirror”. Or, actually, it begins with the speech “our” Kirk gives right before beaming back to the prime universe, trying to convince “mirror” Spock of the illogic of letting the Terran Empire continue and urging him to be an agent of change. Then, “our” Kirk, McCoy, Scott, & Uhura are beamed out, replaced by their “mirror” counterparts, and we get to see what happened next in and to the “mirror” Enterprise.

In my first review of STC, I commented on how well the creators were able to duplicate the look, feel, and sound of the original series — from the costumes to the sets to the music and F/X. I am happy to say that they continue to please, this time with “mirror” costumes and sets. Same music and F/X, too, of course, except for one small deviation. I have to say I got a chuckle out of the “mirror” version of “Space, the final conquest….” for the opening voiceover. Nice!

The roles of Kirk, Spock, Scottie, Sulu, and Uhura were reprised by Vic Mignogna, Todd Haberkorn, Christopher Doohan, Grant Imahara, and Kim Stinger, respectively. Chekov, as charmingly played by Wyatt Lenhart, returned, after having been absent from the 2nd episode. Larry Nemecek was replaced as McCoy, this time, by Chuck Huber. New crew member Dr. Elise McKennah, played by the lovely Michele Specht, was present in the “mirror” universe, as well. (Though, she had a rather unorthodox way of “counseling”.) Plus, we were introduced to another attractive addition: Crewman Smith, as played by Kipleigh Brown. (Trivia: Brown also appeared in the first episode of “Star Trek: Enterprise” that Seth MacFarlane did.) Finally, there was Asia DeMarcos, who made a fine replacement for Barbara Luna as the exotic Lt. Marlena Moreau. More finally, the Halkan Leader Tharn was portrayed by Bobby Clark, one of the actors/stuntmen to play the Gorn captain in the TOS episode “Arena” (another favorite). Even more finally, Michael Dorn makes a stealth “guest appearance” as the voice of the “mirror” ship’s computer. (Apparently, Marina Sirtis did the computer voice in “Pilgrim of Eternity”, which I hadn’t realized at the time.) Cool, huh?

Mignogna continues to impress as Captain Kirk — even a merciless and slightly unbalanced, “mirror” version. Haberkorn really got a chance to shine in this episode, too, and I am definitely warming up to him as Spock. There wasn’t much of Dr. McCoy this time around, and I can’t really make a fair assessment of Huber. (I didn’t think Nemecek really fit, so I’m hoping the new guy will be an improvement.) Unfortunately, Imahara’s Sulu just bugs me. I’ve read others say they love him in the role, but… I just… don’t. Doohan’s Scottie is very reminiscent of his father at times, and other times a bit off the mark. (Not sure if this is good or bad.) Lenhart really fits the young Chekov role, and I’m glad he got more lines (and screams) in this episode. Specht’s McKennah only had one, brief scene, but Stinger/Uhura and Brown/Smith had some nice scenes on the bridge.

Emblem of mirror universe's Terran EmpirePlot-wise, I thought the writers were again able to create a story that seemed at home within ST:TOS canon, and I am sure the direct connection to a fan-favorite TOS episode helped both the creative process and fan’s enjoyment. (On the other hand, if the writing, production, acting, or directing were poor, it could have all backfired, as fans would be especially annoyed.) It seemed to fit right in and flowed naturally from the original “Mirror, Mirror”. Without giving too much away, I will note that the evolution of Spock’s thinking seemed to progress a bit faster than is probably realistic for such a situation. But, then, he is known for processing information very quickly and making logical choices. The familiar rhythm of scenes and dialogue was also there, which goes as much to the credit of the performers and director as to the writers. (Of course, Mignogna was once again both writer and actor.) At times, I could just picture Shatner and Nimoy saying the Kirk/Spock lines….

Overall, another satisfying production that serves to both honor and contribute to the Star Trek universe. Well done, Mr. Mignogna and company!