The choice of music in a TV show is a significant factor.
A well-conceptualized opening sequence accompanied by a great song can be more memorable than the TV show itself.
We have compiled 20 excellent opening theme songs to which one cannot help but move their body. And if they don’t, their mind does the work for them.
20. I Don’t Wanna Wait by Paula Cole on Dawson’s Creek
The song marries well with the show’s theme about a bunch of teens trying to figure life out. They don’t wait for life to pass them by.
The opening sequence has the cast being playful and carefree in places around their town as Paula sings the lyrics.
You watch it several times and soon feel like part of the group.
It is easily one of the most recognizable opening songs ever.
19. Luck You Got by The HighStrung on Shameless (US)
When the guitar chords start ripping through your sound device, you know that the credits are about to roll. This song captures the chaos that happens in Gallagher’s bathroom perfectly.
As the song gets to the instrumentals part, it takes some energy not to play your inexistent guitar.
The lyrics are not particular to the song since the Gallaghers are the unluckiest bunch, but who cares when it’s catchy?
18. All Things by Betty Who on Queer Eye
This song was written and sung specifically for the show. The most repeated phrase is “all things keep getting better.”
The song not only captures the whole vibe of the show, where the cast is all about making people’s lives better but also gives us and the cast of Queer Eye something energetic to dance to.
The song is upbeat, daring the viewer to try and outdo the cast.
17. Second Chance by Peter, Bjorn, and John on 2 Broke Girls.
This song serves not only as the opening theme song but also as the general tune for the show.
Due to the frequency with which it appears, it gets stuck in your head.
It is so addictive that finding the complete version is the cure. The few seconds that are sampled are not enough.
16. Red Right Hand by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on Peaky Blinders
You might have heard the song in a movie or two, but it works so well with Peaky Blinders you might think it was written for it.
The song talks about a mysterious man, a trait exuded by Tommy in the show.
The beats and lyrics have a calming effect; you can’t help but jump in if you know the song.
15. Speak Out Now by Oh Land on Rita
The first couple of times you hear this one, it’s nothing special.
However, the more you hear the flow of the beats and the voice of Swedish singer Oh Land, it might turn out to be your favorite song.
It is part of Rita as Rita herself is to the show.
14. Express Yourself by Diplo on Hit the Floor
Hit the floor is about dance. The usage of this song couldn’t be more perfect.
It is high energy with insane beats that dancers die for. And the lyrics? Chefs kiss.
When you hear it long enough, you might start envisioning yourself as part of the Devil Girls.
13. Down in the Valley by Jucee Froot on P-Valley
You might think that the highly seductive sequence of the opening credits in P-Valley attracts you. And yeah, sure, it might be, but the song was written specifically for the show.
As Jucee’s flow comes through the speakers with the southern drawl, you might get yourself a stripper pole.
The lyrics are written specifically for the show.
12. Up All Night by Alex Clare on Class
Class was short-lived and is one of the biggest cancellation crimes. It samples Alex Clare’s song from his 2012 album.
The opening theme is nothing special, but you’re hooked when you hear the sampled part of the song.
The opening sequence is a bit slower than the original version but well sampled to match the visual depictions.
11. The World is Mine by Sam Henshaw on Alex Rider
The show samples a section of the song for its opening credits.
Its kaleidoscopic opening sequence is nothing special, but this song makes it something of beauty.
It also sounds familiar because it has been used more times than once and is perfect every time.
10. Nemesis by Benjamin Clementine on The Morning Show
Adding to basic opening sequences is The Morning Show. The little animated bubbles and cast names are nothing impressive.
However, it cleverly utilizes sections of this song, which makes the difference. The song has upbeat instrumentals, and the lyrics are a thing of beauty.
It doesn’t take much to start humming along.
09. Where You Belong by Kari Kimmel on The Fosters
The beauty of the song lies in the message.
The show focuses on a family of two moms, their biological, adopted, and foster kids.
“You’re surrounded by love, and you’re wanted. So never feel alone. You’re home with me. Right where you belong.” The lyrics go.
It draws you in, and you feel like part of the Fosters. Why not sing to them, then?
08. Part of the Game by 50 Cent on Power Book III: Raising Kanan
The song was written and performed by 50 Cent. It might feel a little dated, but it works well with the show.
With 50 Cent rapping and Rileyy Lanez vocalizing, it feels like the perfect song for it.
The lyrics sum up the show’s theme, and the beats are not bad either.
07. Along the Watchtower by Devlin on The Young Pope
One of the most memorable opening sequences in HBO’s shows, it utilizes Devlin’s instrumental take on Jimi Hendrix’s Watchtower.
The original song is iconic, but Devlin does something with it that is addictive.
The opening sequences are some of the most creative, and this song accompanies them well.
06. Bad Things by Jace Everett on True Blood
The opening sequence for True Blood can’t be rivaled.
It is chaotic and gives you a glimpse of the “bad things” you can expect.
The song’s rock beats and masterful lyrics accompany the sequence well. It has a sort of religiosity to it that makes you feel possessed.
05. Skye Boat Song by Bear McCreary on Outlander
Super scorer Bear McCreary did a great job with Outlander and even better with the opening sequence.
The sequence changes every season showing the landscape of the location the main characters find themselves. Sometimes, even the language of the lyrics changes.
As Raya Yarbrough’s angelic voice cuts through the air and the sequence rolls, it transports the viewer into the show’s universe, making them want to join the dancing women.
Skipping it should be a crime.
04. This is the Hunt by Ruelle on Shadowhunters
Ruelle has sung a lot of music for TV, but her best work is arguably in Shadowhunters.
The show samples the song as images of the beautiful cast transition on the screen.
The sweeping beats are something to die for, and her voice lures the viewer in, making them feel as beautiful as the Mortal Instruments.
The lyrics make you want to join the hunt.
03. Big Rich Town by 50 Cent on Power and Power Book II: Ghost
The song is as iconic as the Power universe. Like most songs in the universe, it summarizes the show without spoiling.
In this song, 50 Cents brings the flow, and Joe the vocals, transporting the viewer into the big rich town.
It makes you invested in the struggles of these characters.
02. Good Time Girl by Sofi Tukker on The New Pope
Like its predecessor, The Young Pope, the opening sequence is also a masterpiece. The opening sequence varies by episode.
In a particular iteration of the sequence, nuns are seen dancing sexily in their nightgowns in front of a huge glowing crucifix.
EDM duo Sofi Tukker’s music has been used in many shows, but this is the best usage yet. It is the sequence that made the Vatican write to HBO saying, “can you like not?” Or something of that sort.
As the nuns or other characters in the show dance, the viewer starts feeling sexy too! You can’t skip it.
01. Woke up This Morning by Alabama 3 on The Sopranos.
Anyone who has watched The Sopranos half expects this song to come blasting through after the HBO static. That’s how iconic it is.
It is iconic because the song is great. The show samples an extended version as it accompanies Tony home.
It starts with head-bobbing beats before the lyrics come in. The lyrics marry well with the show’s general theme. It is unskippable.
And those were the songs.
Is there one that you feel was unfairly left out?
Do you agree with the ranking?
Let us know in the comments.
Denis Kimathi is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.