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The 8 Best TV Theme Songs That Live In Obscurity

Updated on August 28, 2013

We're all aware of, and appreciate, the most popular TV theme songs; The Simpsons, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, etc., but what about the great ones that slip through the cracks and wind up in obscurity? Well, I dug through all of those long forgotten themes to bring you the most underrated of the bunch.
Caution: May cause severe nostalgia.

8. The X-Files

I know the show itself is anything but unpopular, but I rarely hear much about how great the theme song is, so I am here to correct that error. The theme to the X-Files is nearly perfect; it's dark, ominous, and creates a wonderful mix of horror suspense and sci-fi mystery. Kudos to Mark Snow for his masterful work here.

7. The State

You may not be familiar with this 90s MTV sketch comedy show, but you know every cast member, as they have been working steadily on many different projects since, from Reno! 911 to Wet Hot American Summer to various small comedic roles in TV, movies and web videos. Ahead of it's time, it was raunchy, irreverent and just plain nuts.
The theme song, by Theodore Shapiro, was fitting then, since it too was weird and wacky. With oddball screams, muffled lyrics, and a catchy riff, it was hard to get out of your head, like a good Pixies or Nirvana song.

Embedding has been disabled, so follow this link to view the intro and see all the familiar faces.

6. Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Words can't describe Aqua Teen Hunger Force, you either get it and love it, or you don't and hate it. To me, it's genius lies within it's utter randomness.
It's theme song, written and performed by rapper Schooly D, it's unbelievably catchy and if you've heard it once, you most likely felt compelled to memorize it and show your friends your mad funky skills.

5. That 70s Show

In case you weren't aware, That 70s Show was the sitcom that made the 1970s cool for today's youth. It gave the world the often hilarious Topher Grace and, more importantly, the smokin' hot Mila Kunis, who has yet to accept my marriage proposal.
It also gave us Ashton Kutcher, which I'll let you decide if that was a good or bad thing.

The theme song is a simple 70s-inspired rock track called "In The Street" by an obscure 70s band called Big Star. After season 1 of the show, the band Cheap Trick performed a modified version of the song that would last for the rest of the show's 8 season run.
It's a great song in that it emphasizes getting together with friends and just having a good time, with no real plan and no worries whatsoever.

4. Mystery Science Theater 3000

I normally never go back and edit/alter my articles since I usually like to let whatever I write stand as it was written, but I forgot about this theme song! Corrections had to be made!
This zany rhyming theme song tells the viewer the entire setup of what the show is about; a mad scientist exiles a regular Joe employee named Joel into outer space and forces him to watch terrible movies in hopes of making him lose his mind. If successful, the scientist will weaponize the experiment and take over the world, but, as the song explains, Joel builds some robot pals and together they stay sane by mocking the movies as the play.
The cast had some changes along the show's long run, so the theme song changed a few times over the years, but here is the original:

3. Batman Beyond

This spinoff of the original Batman animated series, which sees an elderly Bruce Wayne mentoring a new futuristic Dark Knight, Terry McGuinness, has a very different opening theme than it's predecessor, thanks to composer Kristopher Carter. Where the original had a dark and ominous score, Carter's Batman Beyond theme has an amazing hard rock/techno riff that fits the young and energetic Terry's attitude (and the shows overall feel) perfectly. Add to that, the random, spooky images that pop up, that seizure inducing flashes and Se7en-esque style, and you've got one badass opening theme.

2. Tales From The Crypt

Agruably, the single most hum-or-whistleable theme song ever, the legendary Danny Elfman's score let's the viewer know right away that, while you are about to be scared by the Cryptkeeper's weekly tales of twisty terror, you are going to have a ton of fun along the way!
To this day, I find myself occasionally whistling the tune, having not seen an episode in a few years.

1. Bucky O'Hare

Not many people remember this cult show, about a ragtag group of parallel dimensional anthropomorphic animals that fly through space battling an evil toad empire. The show was created as a means to hop on the early 90s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bandwagon. It was one one the better knock-offs, too, adding outer space sci-fi elements, and if the idea of TMNT and Star Wars mixing together doesn't appeal to you, then your childhood sense of fun is truly dead.
The theme song itself, by Doug Katsaros, is interesting, as it combines rock and hip hop long before the age of Korn and Limp Bizkit, and for all intents and purposes, it should be awful, but it isn't!
It's lyrically great, extremely catchy, fun to listen to, and still sounds great to this day in a 90s cliche way.

Your turn!

Well, that's my list of great underrated TV themes.

What do you think?

What would you add to the list?

Let me know in the comments below and I might add them accordingly in a future edit, with credit given.

Comments, Thoughts, Opinions and Shenanigans

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    • Andy McGuire profile image
      Author

      Andy McGuire 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Yeah!

    • Yvonne Decelis profile image

      Yvonne Decelis 3 years ago from Boston, Massachusetts

      BTW Andy - I voted this up and interesting and also wanted to know - did you want me to let you know when my book is published? I have added some chapters (not all) to my hub but I have the book completely written and proofed. I'm just waiting for an introduction from a person in Phoenix along with decisions on a cover (plus I believe I may add one more section. It depends on how many requests I get.)

    • Andy McGuire profile image
      Author

      Andy McGuire 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I can't believe I forgot MST3K!

    • Yvonne Decelis profile image

      Yvonne Decelis 3 years ago from Boston, Massachusetts

      Love it Andy (I always loved the theme to the Dr. Who show - the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker))! Mine may not fit since it was a BBC show.

    • Andy McGuire profile image
      Author

      Andy McGuire 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thanks!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, what a great list here you have come up with for us! You have brought back a lot of memories for I loved the X-files, That 70s Show (as I actually was a teen in the real 70s - l0l), and Tales from the Crypt. That's it for me, as I must have missed out on the others.

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      Clever topic for a hub!

      Faith Reaper

    • Kevina Oyatedor profile image

      kevina oyatedor 3 years ago

      I love the the Aqua Teen Hunger Force theme song. Do they still show it? I also love That 70s show song as well. I still watch the reruns. Great hub.