More Forgotten Themes

This week: the readers’ choice. Ten more great themes to forgotten, undervalued and not-so-great shows, chosen by you…

Last week we presented our list of great themes from forgotten SF and fantasy shows , to redress the balance of the fact that whenever there's a “Best SF and Fantasy Theme Tunes” poll, the top places always seem to go to the same shows that win “Best SF and Fantasy TV Shows Polls” (with a few exceptions, such as The Tomorrow People , which truly must rate as the biggest difference between quality of theme tune and quality of programme ever). The problem with dealing with forgotten shows and forgotten theme tunes is… well… we forgot some. You lot suggested some great alternatives, and we’ve spent the week sifting through your emails, forum posts, Facebook posts, Tweets and comments to come up with this alternative readers’ Top 10 (but we still think Earth Final Conflict blows everything else out of the water).

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Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased)

Sung by Nina Persson of Swedish pop combo The Cardigans, the music for the Viv and Bob remake of the ’60 series about a cop and his ghostly partner was written by David Arnold, who’s been in charge of the Bond music since The World Is Not Enough . And doesn’t it sound like it? Even the piano riff at the very end sounds like it’s going to burst into the 007 theme. But it is effortlessly cool and well deserves another hearing.

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Friday The 13th The Series

In our first feature we highlighted the theme from Forever Knight , by Fred Mollin, not a name that immediately springs to mind when you think of the TV and film music greats. However, maybe it’s time he was re-evaluated, as a lot of you suggested his theme for the Friday The 13th TV series needed exhuming from the grave. And what a bizarre composition it is – you certainly couldn’t hum it, but on the other hand it’s as unsettling as waking up in bed with the severed head of a TV game show host. And it works a lot better without the visuals, so close your eyes.

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Eureka

A cross between The X-Files theme, the music from a ’70s advert for butter, a hurdy-gurdy and a slight hangover, this random ditty by Mark Mothersbaugh is a perfect for the distinctly odd Syfy show.

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Dead Like Me

Composed by Stewart Copeland of The Police, the jazzy theme to Dead Like Me remains oddly melodic despite sounding, at times, like a bunch of musicians in a race to see who can reach the end of the song first. It’s also accompanied by one of the greatest ever opening title sequences too… SF, fantasy or otherwise.

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Battle Of The Planets

Hell, this one got a lot of votes (and Rich in the office did have a but of a sulk when I didn’t include it last week – sorry Rich!). To be honest, it sounds like a rejected theme from Dallas or Dynasty, but wow, does it sweep you up and take you on a ride. The way the music swells at one point convinces you that this “Sandy Frank”, whose name looms up in the credits, must be one of the most important people in the history of existence!

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Millennium

The extended mix here gives you a chance to fully appreciate a beguiling theme tune that never really had a chance to make an impression chopped down for TV. It’s not as immediate as some, but let it wash over you, and after a while you are totally immersed in its mysterious rhythms and enchanting melodies – it’s a distant relative of the Twin Peaks music (but then, isn’t a lot of Mark Snow’s output?) with odd little moments when it threatens to break into The Last Of The Mohicans , before drifting off into something else completely. Whether it quite fits the dour and hardboiled show it was written for is another question – sounds more like a theme for The Mists Of Avalon or The Dragonriders Of Pern to us.

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Ulysses 31

Look, personally, I loathe this theme tune. Not so much for the theme tune itself, as for the fact whenever you mention the name of the series, you can bet you’ll suddenly get a room full of people all tunelessly singing, “Ulyseeeeeeeeeeeee-Ehhhhhh=Ehhhhhh-Ehhhhhhh-Eeeeessssssssssss!” Argh! But yeah, there’s no denying it’s the catchiest theme tune ever written, and loads of you lot clearly absolutely adore it. If you haven’t heard it before – be warned: if you click on the clip above you won’t get it out of your head for days. It’ll just stay there like a wasp buzzing around in an upturned jam jar.

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Kingdom Hospital

Gotta admit, we overlooked this theme because we had successfully managed to wipe this Stephen King-written snorefest from our brains. The show must rate as the dullest telefantasy series ever – a US adaptation of Lars Von Triers’ The Kindgom which moved at a glacial pace. The theme tune, though, called “Worry About You” by Ivy, is wonderfully odd, like the musical equivalent of amusing eccentric who always seems on the borderline of going totally psycho.

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The 4400

Sung by Amanda Abizaid, an American Lebanese singer-songwriter, and co-produced and co-written by Bosshouse, this track had the feel of a pop song that had been co-opted as a theme, but was actually specially composed for the show. Which probably explains why there are so few lyrics (they only had to fill out a 90-second slot). File under haunting… which is presumably what the producers were after.

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Saving Grace

While a track by a fat, white, rocker/rapper isn’t the first kind of music that springs to mind for a show set in Oklahoma, somehow the raspy, grungy theme with its mock-gospel lyrics to Saving Grace suits the series perfectly. Writer/performer Everlast was the lead singer of House Of Pain, most famous for “Jump Around” which, thankfully, hasn’t been used for the theme to anything.