Top 20 TV Theme Songs from ’70s Action Shows, part 2 of 2

As promised, this week we continue our nostalgic countdown — or is it a countup? — of 1970s-premiering cops/detectives TV shows that had particularly cool, memorable theme songs. You ready to lay down some happenin’ tunes? Groovy!

Let’s get to it…


11) The Rockford Files (1974-1980)


12) Police Woman (1974-1978)


13) S.W.A.T. (1975-1976)


14) Baretta (1975-1978)


15) Starsky & Hutch (1975-1979)


16) Quincy, M.E. (spun off from “The NBC Mystery Movie”) (1976-1983)


17) Charlie’s Angels (1976-1981)


18) CHiPs (1977-1983)


19) Vega$ (1978-1981)


20) Return of the Saint (1978-1979)


So, whaddayathink? Feel like chillaxin’ with some ’70s cop-show goodness? Or, maybe in the mood to boogie at the local disco? (Good luck with that.) Anyways…

I gotta split, dudes ‘n dudettes. Peace out!


Top 20 TV Theme Songs from ’70s Action Shows, part 1 of 2

Great shows with great songs!

Last year, you may remember that I did a pair of posts listing my “Top 20 TV Theme Songs from Genre Series” (parts 1 and 2). Most of them had a sci-fi or superhero/spy bent to them, but there were a few from shows about cops and private detectives, too. And that’s what I want to focus on in this post and the next. Specifically, I noticed that a lot of great TV series that centered on police and/or P.I.’s came out in the 1970s, and a lot of them had great theme songs, too. (Well, assuming you dig the ’70s groove!)

Of course, the downside to limiting myself to those that debuted in the ’70s means that several other worthies that actually debuted in the ’60s — e.g., Ironside (1967-1975), Mannix (1967-1975), The Mod Squad (1968-1973), It Takes a Thief (1968-1970) — aren’t included. (Maybe another time.) Still, there’s plenty of great stuff here to remind you of or introduce you to, and I hope you enjoy checking out these themes (and maybe the shows themselves) as much as I did. Pretty cool seeing famous, now-older (or dead) stars from their younger days, too!

Let’s begin…

1) Dan August (1970-1971)


2) The Persuaders! (1971-1972)


3) The NBC Mystery Movie (i.e., rotating stars Columbo, McCloud, McMillan & Wife, etc.) (1971-1977)


4) The Rookies (1972-1976)


5) The Streets of San Francisco (1972-1977)


6) Banacek (1972-1974)


7) Barnaby Jones (1973-1980)


8) Kojak (1973-1978)


9) The Magician (1973-1974)


10) Shaft (1973-1974)
— extended intro, w/ music beginning about 30 seconds in and singing by Isaac Hayes (and the ladies) about 3 minutes in


Far out! I’ll see you cats next week!

Amazon Takes Us Back to Middle Earth

“We are honored [and] thrilled to be taking The Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.” — Sharon Tal Yguado, new Head of Scripted Series at Amazon Studios

This one’s for real, folks! Honest!

Unlike the April Fool’s Day joke announcement of earlier this year, this deal looks to be entirely legit. Specifically, following a “bidding war” between several networks, Amazon has reached an agreement with the Tolkien Estate and the Tolkien Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, making Amazon Studios “the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for The Lord of the Rings.”

Rivendell by Alan Lee

To clarify, they aren’t actually going to be re-doing the LotR (or Hobbit) material, which I think is a good thing. What exactly they will be doing apparently hasn’t been decided on, yet, which makes it all that more surprising that the Tolkien people agreed to it. What we do know is that the series will focus on events that occur sometime prior to those in The Fellowship of the Ring. Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins, publicly expressed confidence in the “exceptional ideas” by Tal Yguado and the rest of the Amazon Studios team.

Shaun Gunner, Chair of The Tolkien Society, speculates:

“[T]here is also a lot of excitement about the possibility of exploring the epic saga that is The Silmarillion, or even a series focussed on Aragorn’s background. Christmas has come early for many of us today.”

No cast or premiere date have been set, but the series will eventually stream on Amazon Prime. If things go well, there is also an option for a spin-off series down the line.

This deal comes on the heels of legal issues and a recent executive shake-up at Amazon Studios, as well as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ new mandate that they shift “away from niche, naturalistic series such as “Transparent” and “Mozart in the Jungle” and toward large-scale genre programming with potential for broad international appeal.” Bezos, who is a big sci-fi/fantasy fan, reportedly even got personally involved in negotiations for the Tolkien property’s TV series rights.

Naturally, fans will be concerned that the sets, writing, acting, etc., will be up to par. And, assuming the storylines are adaptations of existing Tolkien works, it needs to be at least as faithful to the source material as the Peter Jackson movies were — some would say “much more faithful!” Re-creating the various lands and peoples of Middle Earth ain’t gonna be cheap, either. Plus, as Entertainment Weekly‘s James Hibberd asks:

“Can a network find writers who can successfully bootstrap a relatively new-ish story set in these familiar fantasy worlds that capture at least some percentage of the original work’s worldwide appeal?”

I haven’t seen anyone else mention this, but I wonder if the talented Robert Kirkman might be a creative resource for the project. If you can’t place the name, Kirkman is the creator/writer of the “Outcast” and “The Walking Dead” comic series, who then went on to work with Tal Yguado (when she was at Fox) on the TV adaptations of those titles. When his special 2-year development deal with Amazon’s Prime Video was announced back in August, Kirkman and Tal Yguado spoke of their mutual admiration and anticipation of working together again. I’m not sure if he can or would work on a licensed property that he hasn’t at least co-created. Don’t know if he’s a Tolkien fan, either. But, if so, that could be an interesting match.

Regardless, all we can do is pray, hope, and wait & see….

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited. Enough so that I may actually, finally re-read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for the first time in many years, just to get in the mood. Who knows, I might even give The Silmarillion another try and possibly some of the lesser known tales of Middle Earth. I’ve had my hardcover editions of The Hobbit and the LotR trilogy with the amazing Alan Lee paintings on display for awhile, so it’s about time I read ’em!


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…?


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!


If I Was Doing a S.H.I.E.L.D. TV Series…

Let me preface this article by saying that I enjoy the current “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” series, even if I don’t care for some of the directions they have taken with story and characters, particularly as demanded(?) by events in the big-screen films. I understand that the films are the big moneymakers, so they take precedence. The TV/Netflix series, beginning with MAoS, must follow their lead. I get that.


So, when the powers-that-be in charge of the Avengers (and many related properties) decided to introduce and interpret S.H.I.E.L.D. the way they did and then blew it apart — physically, organizationally, metaphorically, etc. — with the HYDRA infiltration, that basically set the parameters for a lot of subsequent stories and eliminated the ability to tell others. If it isn’t obvious by now, I think they did a fine job, but I personally would have preferred that they not virtually destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. — at least, not so soon. In fact, if I had my druthers, S.H.I.E.L.D. would have been handled much differently and hewed more closely to the “classic” look and feel of the comics from the 1970s-2000s.

marvel___the_avengers_shield_logo-t2.jpg>I would have established the agency as an international peacekeeping organization, possibly with U.N. oversight, and gone back to the original name of “Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-enforcement Division” or “Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate”. But, then I’d have kept it more in the background of the movies and less prominently involved in all the Avengers’ and other hoopla. Though, with an alien invasion, I guess they would have had to be involved to some degree. But, generally speaking, there wouldn’t have been so much focus on them. Of course, this also means that I probably would not have gone the “Ultimate” route, with Nick Fury being the one to pull the heroes together to form the Avengers.

With those changes as a backdrop, what would my S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series look like? To begin with, it would feel much more like the classic spy movies and shows that inspired it — e.g., James Bond and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” — but without the ’60s & ’70s campiness. There would be a mix of Bond-like superspy stuff, counterterrorism ops, high-tech espionage, superhero/villain interaction, and dealing with extraterrestrial threats. There would be both overt activity (e.g., when working with local LEOs/military and publicly-known superheroes to apprehend supervillains and fight off alien invasions) and covert missions. There would be occasional turf clashes with national security and law-enforcement agencies, both foreign and domestic, as well as with Interpol. And, of course, I would demonstrate the bureaucratic, diplomatic, logistical, and financial nightmares of being and running a huge, international, UN-supervised organization (assuming this is the case).

Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD 1I would split story arcs between an assault team and intelligence operatives, with a couple op tech support people. There would be occasional appearances by classic S.H.I.E.L.D. agents (e.g., Clay Quartermain, Jasper Sitwell, the Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Dum-Dum Dugan and other surviving members of the Howlin’ Commandos, etc.). In fact, one or more of them might be regulars. There would also be occasional cameos by superheroes and other adventurers. Our main protagonists would be based on a heli-carrier, or at least have one heavily involved. It would probably be assigned to a particular sector in the U.S. but would occasionally, temporarily move to another location for a major operation.

I like some of the tech being developed and used by FitzSimmons in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”. But, in my version of the show, there would be more of it. I’d like to see more use of flying cars, jetpacks, laser(?) blasters, and various other weapons and equipment of the spy trade. And we must bring back the Life Model Decoy (LMD)! (Before they finally revealed how Agent Coulson survived his seemingly-fatal injury from the Avengers movie, I was so sure that the Coulson in the TV show was an LMD….) Finally, for normal, day-to-day operations, both on-base and in the field, I would bring back the navy blue S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms with white belt, boots, straps, and shoulder holsters. Those were snazzy!

OK, that about exhausts my fantasies for a real S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, as always faithful to the comics they sprang from. What do you think?