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Home U.S.A ‘Yo houses, odor ya later!’: is the TV theme doomed?

‘Yo houses, odor ya later!’: is the TV theme doomed?


Within the Information’s weekly Solved! column, we glance into an important pop-culture query you’ve been burning to know the reply to – and settle it, as soon as and for all

It has been two years since geeks, masochists and “narrative arc” consultants the world over gathered to sing “Dun dun, dun-dun-dun dun, dun-dun-dunnnn …” for the final time as Sport of Thrones lastly ended. Now, because of the small matter of a worldwide pandemic, “occasion TV” is usually binged in seclusion, with the lengthy gaps between government-mandated walks stuffed by inhaling as a lot telly as attainable. Lockdown binge-watching has sparked an vital realisation: TV themes – resembling GoT’s epic 1 min 40 secs of title music – have gotten a lot rarer. Is the once-great TV theme tune doomed?

As soon as, reveals had correct themes. My early years have been soundtracked by The Contemporary Prince of Bel-Air’s opening rap, The Simpsons’ jingle and Malcolm within the Center’s angst-filled “You’re not the boss of me now!” The very point out of The OC’s opening music (“Californiaaaaa”) sparks an avalanche of awkward teen flashbacks. Theme songs deliver up reminiscences of iconic nights of TV, such because the Friday evening in 2004 when Channel 4 aired the ultimate episode of Associates simply earlier than the launch of Large Brother 5, kicked off with a banger of a theme from Paul Oakenfold.

Issues have modified, nonetheless. From Fleabag and Killing Eve to Regular Folks, I Could Destroy You and It’s a Sin, a title card flashing throughout the display appears to be the brand new norm. Relatively than losing priceless operating time on prolonged credit, it feels as if there’s now extra emphasis on music inside TV reveals – soundtracking memorable scenes, with playlists uploaded to Spotify shortly after. Lena Dunham may need opted towards a theme track for Ladies, however do I nonetheless keep in mind Marnie and Hannah dancing to Robyn’s Dancing on My Personal in season one? In fact.

The decline of theme songs in TV can be linked to the unavoidable reality that our consideration spans are shorter than ever. Netflix (relatively passive-aggressively) asks if we’re “nonetheless watching” as a result of its algorithm expects so little of us. Most crucially, together with most streaming platforms, the leisure behemoth additionally appears to have admitted defeat by making it straightforward for us to skip the opening titles altogether.

That stated, theme songs haven’t disappeared fully. HBO’s penchant for opening title songs – made well-known with The Sopranos , Intercourse and the Metropolis and, after all, GoT – has continued with Succession and Large Little Lies. Netflix’s The Crown and Home of Playing cards even have themes you’ll be able to hum alongside to. However these now really feel extra just like the exception than the norm, and it doesn’t appear a coincidence that longer reveals with the budgets to purchase helicopters, dragons and Nicole Kidman are those specializing in mood-setting themes.

So are TV theme tunes completed for? There’s all the time going to be area for high-end efforts, even in case you do skip them after the primary pay attention. However now that so many people have eyes that simply wander from one display to a different, plenty of reveals are deciding {that a} theme track is much less vital than plunging shortly right into a compelling story. The decline of the once-great TV theme displays how reveals are adapting to our viewing habits. However there’s nonetheless affection for a great one: have a look at what number of of them we’re in a position to hum a long time later. TV showrunners ought to take observe.



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