I was in a bookstore in Montreal, browsing for some suggested reads for my sister, when a song started to play over the P.A. system.  It was a great tune, very catchy, but my attempts to Shazam and identify it proved futile, so I flagged down one of the floor staff and asked if she recognized it.  She seemed downright enthusiastic I’d inquired.  “That’s the theme song to Veronica Mars!”  Really?  How the heck did I miss that?

Anyway, it just reinforces the importance of a great opening theme.  I know, I know.  The recent push has been away from actual theme songs in favour of those brief single digit note openers –

And who could forget –

As effective as they are, I still prefer the lengthier, more robust themes that ramp up the excitement and really sets the tone for a show, like –

And, of course –

We’re a long way from finalizing a theme song for my new show, but I already have one in mind.  In fact, I’ve had one in mind for over two years now and it’s been my iPhone ringtone for the past three months.  Of course, there’s no guarantee we’ll be able to license the song, but it’s interesting to note that, as I developed the series, I had two songs I was convinced would be PERFECT for the series – one for the opening (30 second) credit sequence, and one for the heart-stopping sequence that closes the season one finale.

Of course, much will depend on how we’re looking, budget-wise, late in the production schedule.  We may get one – or both!  Or we may have to settle for me humming a few bars of my own creation, Ship Happens.

But first things first.  The writers’ room shifts into gear this Monday and, in preparation, I’ve gone ahead and started beating out stories.  Working off my 13 episode game plan, I’ve completed beat sheets for episodes #2-7 and am presently working on episode #8. Nothing is written in stone and all is up for discussion, but at the very least these narrative blueprints will give us a terrific head start.  We’ve got 12 episodes to break (the pilot having already been written) over the month of July!

I will, of course, download our prospective theme song from iTunes for inspiration.

28 thoughts on “July 3, 2014: The series theme!

  1. That’s all very exciting!

    I loved Veronica Mars. The theme song was great. Hmmmm I don’t have it on my mp3 player. I should.

    I wish you all the luck. 🙂

  2. I agree totally that the opening should be like an anthem or overture, an appetizer to build excitement for what is to come for the main course.

    Very excited about this new show!

  3. When are you going to reveal the name of the series? Huh? Huh? When? Oh, very well. I’ll wait.



    Still waiting.

    *taps foot impatiently*

  4. I think “Space Between” by Dave Matthews would have made an infinitely better intro for Enterprise than what they used. Just feels right for a sci-fi show.

  5. I would love to hear the song you have in mind. Maybe a hint? Perhaps just the artist and we can guess from there?
    I always thought ‘The Pass’ by Rush would make an excellent theme song for something.

  6. Veronica Mars is awesome, it’s one of those shows that you can’t just nibble, you will want to binge season after season.

    Speaking of great shows with great theme songs, I must have replayed the Handsome Family’s opening credits song from True Detective a hundred times this week.

    I am not even a bit worried about your new show having fabulous music, Joe. I still groove to the songs from SGU. Greys Anatomy soured me on “the music montage finale with accompanying voiceover” bit, but SGU always had great cinematography and gorgeous music so that those scenes felt earned.

    Misfits has a kick ass theme and great music throughout.

    I just watched Congress hold a panel discussion with SETI on CSPAN, it aired originally in May 2014 and it just filled me with so much hope and joy for the future hearing congress members chatting fondly about the movie Contact with SETI directors:


  7. Oh, I’ve always loved The Sopranos’ theme song. Another theme “song” I loved was the one for Chuck. Also agree with Paul Tenny that the Enterprise theme song didn’t really fit the show. Felt a bit misplaced.

    Lately, however, I’ve come to appreciate the shorter versions like Breaking Bad and even Lost. I guess this has to do with how I watch series nowadays; Netflix/on-demand instead of broadcast TV.

  8. can’t wait to hear more about the new series. I do hope that having to shoot in Toronto turns out better for you than last time when you were there doing The-Series-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named.

  9. I find the Game Of Thrones theme very slow and dirgy. Not like the show so far at all – although I’m about half way through A Feast For Crows and it is very slow and matches the theme very well.

    I think the theme for True Blood fits the show extremely well:

    WARNING: Not safe for work, children or those with sensitive dispositions.


    And, of course, we can’t have a conversation about TV theme tunes without mentioning Firefly but I can’t seem to find a clip of it on YouTube. The Fox lawyers must be working overtime.

    Generally, though, I just want the show to get started after the tease so I skip over most opening credits.

  10. I vote for you humming a few bars of Ship Happens. With a coral arrangement of the rest of the writing room humming.
    Perhaps about rhythm and minimalisms in music you can enjoy some Steve Reich work as inspiration.

  11. An epic theme is such a great way to hook the audience. Something original, of course, would be best. Really in anticipation until the big reveal of the show,

  12. Best opening theme song imo was the 4400. Not a great show but a great opening

  13. Dark Matter or not Dark Mater! That’s the question!
    TT or not TT That’s the question!!

  14. I agree about the importance of opening music. Not that I think the “barely more than a title-card” openings are bad (I was sad when I saw what Continuum did with season 3), but if you choose well, the theme music becomes an emotional short-hand that helps bring the audience back to the state they were in the last time they saw your program.

    But! You left out my favourite three intros! Hell on Wheels’ opening perfectly catches what this show is about. It’s catchy, it’s light on the surface but it’s got a darker base to it, AND the voice is that of a locomotive. (I just try not to stress too much about the accuracy of their engineering techniques …)

    RDM’s Battlestar Galactica: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu0FMaEneO0 Love it or hate it (or something in between) the intro music told you everything you needed to know about it. High-concept (perhaps debatable) alternating between spiritual musings and intense action.

    And the one that I think is most at odds with the material in the show but still does an awesome job of communicating the tone. Boardwalk Empire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVD8VIuX0bA

  15. I like a good theme song/music – I think it does put the audience in the right mood for the show. I wonder what music you have playing around in your head? I’m not sure a known song is the best thing for a new show however. It’s like when I hear a Beatles song that I absolutely hate pushing some product that I could love, if not for the music. Original themes allow the audience to associate the music solely with the show, and not with something else that may have a negative emotion attached to it.

    It’s like today whenever I hear the original Star Trek, or Hawaii Five-O, or…remember that show with the hawt, pallid, long-locked fellers with the sucky palms?…yeah…when I hear those themes I immediately – and only – think of those shows…not some bad date I had while listening to a pop song on the radio.

    Does that make any sense?


  16. ARGH!! I want to know what this mysterious series is already. It’s driving me crazy!!!

  17. One of my favorite theme songs is from the show “Scrubs.”
    @ David Kirby – I am with you with “the Pass.” I have often thought if I were to write a show or movie I would include many of Rush’s songs. In fact I find it interesting how many talk shows now use Rush as part of their bumper rotation.

  18. @dasndanger: I can’t hear the Hawaii Five-O theme without thinking of this from my favourite movie:

  19. A theme song should have a goofy catch like the clapping in the “Friends” opening so when the song comes on the radio and your friend starts doing something weird to it, you ask, “what the hell are you doing?” Then, word of the show can spread…never mind, word of mouth is obsolete. I’ll write an app game for the show and include a Facebook share button.

  20. Hurricane Arthur brought us some much needed rain today; it was a wonderful, relaxing morning with rain showers and gusty winds. Anyone who hasn’t experienced the outer fringes of a hurricane, or a mild nor’ester in winter, doesn’t know what they’re missing. Absolutely the best weather systems to experience when they are MILD. Certainly not a pleasure when they’re fierce and destructive (the little tree branch that fell in our yard does not constitute ‘destructive’). It’s been just about the most relaxing holiday I’ve experienced in a long time…I wish it would last all weekend! But, alas, the vacationers want their beach days, and it looks like they’ll be getting them…but at least today was a day for me! 🙂


  21. I have to agree with Ponytail, as soon as you mentioned theme music Joe, I thought of Joel Goldsmith and his amazing, wonderful musical talent. I have MP3s of all published Stargate music and play them often. Very stirring and well written, solidly performed music. Joel is still missed.


  22. I still prefer longer credits with music, too. The X-Files theme (and its images) will always stick with me. I also find Carnivale and The West Wing’s themes to be excellent; they just set the mood for the show. Plus, who can forget SG: Atlantis’? Although I suppose some shows don’t need it. Castle’s title card works sometimes I think Teen Wolf would be better off without the long credits.

  23. @fsmn36, Teen Wolf’s second season intro was cool, matching how cool the show got that second season. My new parameter for a great theme is if I don’t fast forward through it when I’m bingewatching. Buffy, VM, Voyager, SGA, Xena and Battlestar are favorites. Its hard to think of a genre show with a sucky theme song.

  24. I’m so behind AGAIN. And the next two weeks for pet sitting are crazy busy. How crazy? Crazier than Christmas busy!! I need to catch up because I’m so afraid I’ll miss important information that will inform a future post that is now in the past, too.

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