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

Music is often an integral part of a TV show, especially the opening theme. Last week, I shared ten of my favorite, most memorable themes from sci-fi/fantasy and action/adventure series of the past few decades. As promised, this week we continue by easing our way into the 1980s and up to the present. I hope you enjoy them, especially if you’re old enough to remember watching some of these yourself.

Are we ready? Continuing in chronological order…

11) The Incredible Hulk (1978-1982)

The “Lonely Man” ending theme was particularly poignant and memorable, too.

 

12) Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988)

 

13) The Greatest American Hero (1981-1983)

 

14) Knight Rider (1982-1986)

 

15) The A-Team (1983-1987)

 

16) Miami Vice (1984-1990)

 

17) Star Trek: TNG (1987-1994)

 

18) Quantum Leap (1989-1993)

 

19) The X-Files (1993-)

 

20) Game of Thrones (2011-)

 

There you have ’em! Wow, that brought back a lot of good memories, going through all of those plus several I left out! And, since I couldn’t even bring myself to stop at twenty, here are five more honorable mentions:  Return of the Saint (1978-1979), The Fall Guy (1981-1986), Airwolf (1984-1986), Babylon 5 (1994-1998), Alias (2001-2006)

Now, when am I gonna find the time to track down and binge-watch these shows again…?

Fan-Cast: A-Team Reboot, part 2

A-Team - Season 5 DVDContinuing from last week, I am re-casting for the in-development “A-Team” remake/reboot. Don’t know for sure how many of the original characters will return, let alone in what gender, but I’m sticking with a “traditional” casting. In the original show, I think “Hannibal” was 10-20 years older than the other three core members. So, these should be experienced soldiers who are (or look) in their mid-30s to mid-40s.

B.A.

First, the muscle of the group: Sgt. Bosco Albert “B.A.” Baracus. As per the original, he’s gotta be big and black and have a “bad attitude”. But, the character also has a soft side. Not sure if the overabundance of gold chains would still work, but maybe. Anyway, I considered both Michael Jai White (6’1″,b.1967) and Terry Crews (6’2.5″,b.1968). Either would be great, I’m sure, but they are a few years older than I’d prefer.

Bob Sapp

Bob Sapp

"Kimbo Slice"

“Kimbo Slice”

Instead, I suggest Bob Sapp (6’5or7″,b.1973) or Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson (6’2″,b.1974). Both Sapp and Ferguson are in their early 40s, fit the physical requirements, and are even more muscular than Mr. T was. As wrestlers, they are used to playing very physical, over-the-top characters and could have a lot of fun with the “B.A.” role, I’m sure. Ferguson is my preference, mostly ‘cuz he has that “wild man” sort of persona.

 

“Faceman”

Templeton Peck may be a soldier, but he is also somewhat of a con artist, who uses his (very) good looks and charm to convince others to do or give him just about whatever he wants. He’s a snappy dresser, likes fast cars and expensive things. He’s roughly 6′ tall, in good shape but more lean than muscular. I considered both Max Brown (6’2″,b.1981) and David Paetkau (5’10”,b.1972) but eventually decided on three others as better choices.

Taye Diggs

Taye Diggs

Ian Anthony Dale

Ian Anthony Dale

Ian Anthony Dale (5’11”,b.1978) should be a familiar face to genre fans, having had starring or supporting roles in “Charmed”, “Surface”, “Day Break”, “The Event”, “Mortal Kombat: Legacy”, and now “Hawaii Five-O” and “Murder in the First”. He’s also a great looking guy and would be believable as Peck, who continually amazes with his ability to acquire whatever is needed for the mission. Former model Taye Diggs (5’10”,b.1971) starred in “Day Break”, Equilibrium, has played a lawyer in a couple shows, as well as voiced Marvel’s Black Panther, and now stars in “Murder in the First”. He would also be quite believable as the charming and resourceful “Faceman”.

Michael Weatherly

Michael Weatherly

My third choice is Michael Weatherly (6’2″,b.1968), who will soon be leaving “NCIS”. When I first started thinking about re-casting “The A-Team” a couple years ago, Weatherly was the first guy that came to mind. His “NCIS” character is a bit of a handsome rogue, after all. Yes, he is already in his late 40s, but he can pass for younger, and I just think he would be perfect to play the “Faceman”.

 

 

Murdock

They don’t call H.M. Murdock “Howlin’ Mad” for nothing. Sometimes he seems quite sane — almost normal, even. Other times, he’ll go off on some oddball, Shakespearean rant or maybe demand at the top of his voice that he be given every trash bag in the place. He isn’t violent, just weird, unstable, and definitely unpredictable. On the other hand, he can fly just about anything with wings and/or rotors, which makes him quite valuable to the team. If we stick with Dwight Schultz as the model, Murdock should be lean, wiry, and quite physical.

Naturally, the first actor who came to mind for this was Jim Carrey (6’2″,b.1962). But, a) he’s too old, b) too expensive, and c) he’d probably steal the show (though that’s not necessarily a bad thing). I know there are more comedic actors out there who might be a good fit, but I had trouble coming up with many. I did, however, think of two that fit the bill. They are both in their mid-40s, which is a little older than I’d prefer. But, as long as they are fairly fit….

Silas Weir Mitchell

Silas Weir Mitchell

Matthew Lillard

Matthew Lillard

Matthew Lillard (6’4″,b.1970) does a lot of voice work these days, mostly as ‘Shaggy’ on various Scooby-Doo productions. But, he can also be seen on “Bosch”, and in the past he has been in “The Bridge”, Deep Dark Canyon, Return to Nim’s Island, Messages Deleted, In the Name of the King, Thir13en Ghosts, Wing Commander, SLC Punk, Scream, Hackers, etc. Some of his characters are just weird, even nuts, so… I thought of him. Silas Weir Mitchell (6’2.5or3″,b.1972or1969) is seen regularly as beloved blutbad ‘Monroe’ on “Grimm” these days, but it was his role as the psycho inmate named ‘Haywire’ on “Prison Break” that made me first think of him as a potential ‘Murdock’. Just f.y.i., he has also appeared in “Dark Skies”, The Patriot, “The X-Files”, “The Pretender”, “24”, “Birds of Prey”, Fist of the Warrior, The Gray Man, the Halloween II remake (2009), and three CSI series. On the one hand, Mitchell would make a great “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock; on the other, I’d hate to seem him leave “Grimm”.

Before we go, let’s throw in an attractive female journalist, a la Amy Allen or Tawnia Baker. I came up with two actresses I thought would do a great job in the role, though I’m sure there are others….

Scottie Thompson

Scottie Thompson

Shantel VanSanten

Shantel VanSanten

Scottie Thompson (5’7″,b.1981) has been seen in “NCIS”, “12 Monkeys”, “Zoo”, “The Blacklist”, “Nikita”, Skyline, Star Trek (2009), and others. I can definitely picture her as an intrepid, investigative journalist who finds herself aiding-and-abetting a group of framed do-gooders. Same goes for “One Tree Hill” alum Shantel VanSanten (5’8″,b.1985), who was most recently in “The Flash”. Prior to that, you may have seen her in The Final Destination, “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Glades”, Something Wicked, “Gang Related”, or “The Messengers”. She’s another one that I can see as a “plucky reporter”-cum-sidekick.

That about does it, ladies ‘n gents. As always, let me know what you think. ‘Til next time…

Fan-Cast: A-Team Reboot, part 1

A-Team, season 3I have a lot of fond memories from the 1980s, many of them TV-based. I’ve mentioned it before, but “The A-Team” was one of those shows that I loved to watch. The weekly capers/rescues/breakouts — with their over-the-top mission plans (among other projects), makeshift weapons/tools, inevitable firefights and general mayhem — were simply great, “mindless” entertainment. Of course, adding to the madness was the fact that one team member was certifiably insane, and another was notoriously stubborn and had his own… peculiarities. What more could you want in an offbeat “family”/unit of soldiers-for-hire, righting wrongs against others while trying to avoid their own capture, having been “framed for a crime they didn’t commit”?

Former “Banacek” star George Peppard was great as the very clever, unconventional, cigar-aficionado Col. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith, the group’s leader and main strategist. Eccentric tough-guy Mr. T was at the height of his popularity (following Rocky III) and perfectly cast as the scowling mechanic, B.A. ‘Bad Attitude’ Baracus. Handsome con-man Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck was charmingly portrayed by “Battlestar Galactica” alum, Dirk Benedict. Then, of course, there was “Howlin’ Mad” Murdock, gleefully played to perfection by the multi-talented Dwight Schultz — later known to genre fans as Star Trek’s Lt. Barclay and for his voluminous voice credits for animated TV shows and video games. Other recurring accomplices included reporters Amy Allen (Melinda Culea) and Tawnia Baker (Marla Heasley) and special-effects guy Frankie ‘Dishpan’ Santana (Eddie Velez).

Lance LeGault as Col. Decker

Lance LeGault as Col. Decker

Pursued by the ever-enjoyable Lance LeGault as the persistent maverick Col. Decker, as well as other military types (e.g., retired General Stockwell (Robert Vaughan), General Harlan ‘Bull’ Fulbright (Jack Ging), and Col. Lynch (William Lucking)), the team endured a lot, but they gave as good as they got and rarely was anyone seriously hurt. Like many such shows of ’80s TV (e.g., “Magnum, P.I.”, “Knight Rider”, “MacGyver”, “The Fall Guy”), they managed to keep a generally light and family-friendly tone to it all, despite the violence.

As I reported back in October, a reboot or “remake” of the A-Team series is now in development. (Get some of the details here.) My first reaction was a groan. But, I suppose it could work. A few changes will have to be made for a “contemporary take”, of course. For example, the team will probably be veterans of Iraq and/or Afghanistan rather than Vietnam. I imagine it will be a bit more realistic, possibly dark and gritty, as many such shows lean these days. I would be OK with this, as long as they also maintain the humor, comaraderie, and moral clarity of the original.

So, what did the 20th Century Fox news release say?

“The new A-Team revolves around a diverse team of American Special Forces operatives. Unlike the original all-male squad, the new team will include both male and female members. The group has been framed for a crime they didn’t commit…. It’s described as a fun episodic mission-of-the-week show that mixes big action-adventure sequences with compelling characters, inventive cons and lots of humor.”

That sounds a lot like the original, actually, which is a good sign. The fact that there will be female members may mean the team will be bigger in this incarnation. Or, maybe not. In fact, last I read, it had not been confirmed whether or not the original four, core members will be in it, let alone what gender. (Big mistake if they aren’t retained, preferably all or mostly male, IMHO.) But, my casting suggestions are, naturally, for the original four male cast-members. [Note: I will keep this a little briefer than usual, in order to fit them all in 2 posts.)

“Hannibal”

As usual, I think it best to keep the general look and personality of the characters roughly the same. So,… Hannibal would be the oldest (roughly early-50s to early-60s), maybe 6′ tall, give-or-take, and either white or black would work. He should be a charismatic leader, not too much of a hardass, good sense of humor but perhaps a little less oddball than Peppard’s version. The cigars are a must, as is the signature line, “I love it when a plan comes together!”

A few I considered but rejected for one reason or another: Ray Winstone (5’10”,b.1957), Robert John Burke (6′,b.1960), Mark Harmon (6′,b.1951), Richard Dean Anderson (6’1.5″,b.1950), Bill Paxton (6′,b.1955), Arnold Schwarzenegger (6’2″,b.1947), Aaron Eckhart (5’10.75″,b.1968). My final three?

Ray Stevenson

Ray Stevenson

Andre Braugher

Andre Braugher

Ray Stevenson (6’4″,b.1964) has played everything from mobster to Punisher to Cobra operative to Asgardian warrior, so he’s certainly no stranger to the genre. I can definitely see him as an on-the-run soldier-for-hire, trying to keep himself and his unit out of jail while playing hero(es). Andre Braugher (6′,b.1962), of course, should be familiar to genre fans, as well, and I have written about him before. He has had military roles, but he also plays characters with a certain sense of whimsy, which might be a good description for “Hannibal”, too.

Adam Baldwin in "The Last Ship"

Adam Baldwin in “The Last Ship”

If I had to choose, though, Adam Baldwin (6’4″,b.1962) is my favorite. We know him from his roles in “Firefly”, “Chuck”, and most recently “The Last Ship”. He tends to play tough and/or gruff types, usually military or federal agent, and he can often be seen appreciating a good cigar. Sounds like a great match to me!

“Col. Decker”

I’ll keep the other three core members for next week. But, before finishing up, I wanted to propose a couple candidates for the Team’s arch-enemy (so to speak), Col. Roderick Decker. Filling LeGault’s shoes for this tough-as-nails, unpredictable, obsessed character ain’t easy, but I think I found a couple of worthies.

Stephen Lang in *Avatar*

Stephen Lang in *Avatar*

Giancarlo Esposito in "Revolution"

Giancarlo Esposito in “Revolution”

Genre fans know Stephen Lang (5’10.5″,b.1952) from things like Avatar and “Terra Nova”. In these and other productions, Lang has played formidable military and law-enforcement officers, so Decker seems right up his alley. Giancarlo Esposito (5’7.5″,b.1958) has been seen in “Once Upon a Time”, “Breaking Bad”, and Allegiance. He even has a deep voice like LeGault. But, it was his role as the resolute and vengeful Neville character in “Revolution” that convinced me he’d make a great Col. Decker.

To be continued in Part 2…