I think part of a TV show's charm so many times, is the opening theme. Whether it has lyrics or not, the opening theme is just as important as the main characters. Growing up, I couldn't have told you the name of anyone on Cheers, but I sure knew the song.
That said, here are the TV theme songs that have stuck with me the most.
Knight Rider This is where my TV show watching began. Michael and KITT. Whenever it could be found on, I was watching. What more needs to be said?
Airwolf At one time, this kickass helicopter came on following Knight Rider. I think one of my local stations ran them back to back on Saturdays. I always wanted to see KITT and the Airwolf team join up in a crossover episode.
Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers This show is what weekday (Disney) afternoons were invented for. Get home from school, ignore your homework, grab some Teddy Grahams and Ecto Cooler, and see what scheme Chip and the crew could solve. Then of course, reenact it on the school playground with your pals the next day!
Duck Tales Part crime drama, part Indiana Jones, and part sci fi, Duck Tales was probably the most versatile cartoon of my life. The song was catchy, and it even had my dad going "woo oo!" when it came on each day.
TaleSpin Right up there with the Rescue Rangers, this too was a staple of the old Disney Afternoon lineup. Planes, air pirates, and Tony Jay as Shere Khan. And as the intro shows, they used guns! Oh yeah.
Equalizer Robert McCall had a shadowy past, and worked as an equally shadowy P.I./Vigilante. I love the way this intro builds up, then kind of explodes when the title is revealed.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine When DS9 premiered, it was pitched as "the Rifleman in space". Made sense, a man and his son arrive at a distant place on the edge of a new frontier. DS9 went where Trek had rarely gone before, with it's continuing story lines and recurring character development. It also boasted a much more reserved theme. A stark contrast to the somewhat loud theme from TNG.
The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest This was probably the last cartoon I watched regularly, before I fully got into my teens. I always found the original Jonny Quest pretty campy, but this one was much more to my liking.
ER I think I've seen a grand total of 2 ER episodes in my time. In fact, in it's early years, I was either already gone to bed, or was about to when ER came on. My mom watched it off and on, but my aunt was a huge viewer. Often I'd be at her house some nights, and ER would crank up. I guess I liked the ambulance-siren style of this theme. It was pretty different.
Thundercats Mumm-Ra scared the crap out of me. But, then the intro showed Lion-O deflecting his blast with the Sword of Omens. Some days, I still want to yell Thundercats! HOOOOOO whenever I need help with something.
Renegade Not only were Lorenzo Lamas and Branscombe Richmond total badasses, not only was Kathleen Kinmont a babe, but their theme was led by a harmonica. And that's cool.
Perfect Strangers Mark Linn Baker and Bronson Pinchot were comedy geniuses!
Baywatch The greatest hour of television ever created. Don't lie, you watched it too.
The Real Ghostbusters I was a mere 2 years old when the movie Ghostbusters was out, so it would be several years before I saw it. But, I have many vivid memories of the show! Not only that, but I had a lot of the merchandise like most of you probably did. The proton pack, ghost trap, the Ecto-1 with ghost capture claw, Fright Feature figures and so on. From Kenner!
COPS As a kid, I was often confused when adults would mention watching Cops. I thought they meant this show. But, they were typically referring to a show about Bad Boys or something. The end part, where the bad guys are surrounded by Bulletproof and his team? Classic.
Batman: The Animated Series The Batman was already burned into my brain at this time, thanks to the wonders of the Tim Burton films. THEN, this show comes along, using the original Danny Elfman music? Oh yes. This, and the show's stellar voice cast had me hooked from the start.
Cheers Really, that's where we all want to go. Where everybody knows our name.
Honorable Mentions 1. M.A.S.K. (didn't watch it enough to know much about it) 2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I wasn't allowed to watch it. Don't ask me why.) 3. Super Mario Bros. Super Show (mainly because of Do The Mario!)
These are the ones that meant the most to me. Thanks for reading.