I am a gamer to the core but I don't half watch a lot of TV as well!
The theme music is usually the first thing anyone hears when watching a series. There are some that get repetitive and tiresome very quickly, however some are so good it's like a little reward for deciding to binge another episode!
In game music it's all about creating something that can hold up to hundreds of listens and loops without becoming annoying or unwelcome. There are tricks that can be used to achieve this, but essentially all that's required are inventiveness, satisfying chord resolutions and a big dose of creativity. It’s also important to hint at the world they are describing.
Here are my top 5 TV tunes which I feel do a great job at all of the above.
For a show that so meticulously recreates a bygone era, it’s interesting that the director chose to use modern music for Mad Men’s title. The original track by RJD2 (A Beautiful Mine) is a chaotic mash up of samples and drums, but with some clever editing it becomes a moody, slick, indulgent and reflects the unpredictable nature of this exciting time.
Game of Thrones
The Game of Thrones theme by composer Ramin Djawadi is surely one of the most iconic melodies of recent times. This relentless and throbbing behemoth of a tune reflects not only the clockwork nature of the animated titles, but also the scale of the huge world, the ebbing of time and the danger of the unknown.
Archer is a hilarious pastiche of every spy trope going. The Archer theme suitably matches this, with wild bongos, wild brass and tons of sexy intrigue. Massive fan of that bassline as well!
American Vandal II
American Vandal’s first season has an impressive soundtrack that mimicked the harsh, almost scary tone of successful true crime documentaries. For Season 2, composer Darien Shulman took the impressive decision to write a whole new score that keeps the serious tone and ramps up the sense of mystery, but in a more considered and elegant way.
I don’t think there is any single TV theme that has nailed a brief harder than the Stranger Things theme. 80s? Check. Adventure? Check. Mystery? Check. Horror? Check. This eerie retro-wave music immediately takes you into their world. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein break down their process in the video and it’s well worth a watch!
Have I missed any of your favourites? Let me know!