Hearts were broken over the recent change to New Girl’s opening credits, and understandably so. Becoming attached to a TV theme is easy, considering you hear them every week, you hum along with them, you know every nook and cranny of that addictive little tune. It’s almost as though the song can read into your soul — it is a love stronger than anyone outside of the relationship will ever understand. Even if you initially hated the song, it grew on you and you suddenly fell in love and, henceforth, couldn’t get it off your mind. Then they go an change it on you in, say, season four? The audacity!
Often times a change in theme song can be rewarding and altogether a step in the right direction. Perhaps we should be open to change, or at least reflect on times before when change brought great relief and new beginnings. With that in mind, we present to you a list of TV themes that have changed mid-season, for better or for worse.
The original theme to Felicity reflected that lost-in-New York, wide-eye-wonderment, I-just-chased-Ben-to-college feel. It was a haunting, therapeutic gem of a song that featured a humming Judith Owen. In season three, the theme went from this beautiful tune to “New Version of You” from J.J. Abrams and Andrew Jarecki which, honestly, was harsh on the ears.
Rocko’s Modern Life
There are three versions of the Rocko theme. Early on, the song was considerably different, while the later two underwent subtle changes. So subtle that if you were a child at the height of this show’s popularity and you told your older sister that there had been a change in the show’s theme, she wouldn’t believe you. You would have to wait 20 years to prove this to her via an online article and the power of the Internet. Although quite similar to young ears, in later seasons the theme featured vocals from Kate Pierson and Fred Schneider of the B-52’s.
Boy Meets World
Boy Meets World went through three-different inceptions during its seven seasons. Understandably, the theme changed with the growth of the actors, the pace, and the themes of the show. Can you imagine the twee tune from season one preceding an episode where Shawn becomes a teenage alcoholic? It would be absurd. Thank God for change, in this case.
I Dream of Jeannie
The classic theme from I Dream of Jeannie didn’t come around until season two. So charming was this theme that the original from season one is like a forgotten dream.
Roseanne started with a theme heavy on the growling sax and sassy harmonica. If the theme could walk, it did so with great swagger in studded leather boots. In later seasons we were met with a rendition from Blues Traveler, who were brought on to re-record the song. The beloved saxophone was gone; in its place, the crooning John Popper.
In Living Color
Sketch comedy show In Living Color had a great theme performed by Heavy D & the Boyz. In later seasons the theme underwent a slight re-mix. Both are equally enchanting and fulfilling.
That ’70s Show
While there is some debate on which That ’70s Show theme is better, I find both quite jarring. Hearing it gives me that horrible feeling of washing un-glossed, clay pottery, which is something I did a lot of when I was twelve.
Suddenly Susan’s varying openings are so different you wouldn’t even think they represent the same show. Season one preps us for a zany early-‘90s San Francisco sitcom with likely too much laugh-track, while the later iteration is a pseudo-sophisticated flirt fest.
A delightful instrumental number that feels very Woody Allen circa 2008 was the theme for early episodes of Monk. Then Randy Newman came along with “It’s a Jungle Out There,” which was cute and charming.
An amazing change happened for Happy Days. They went from using classic ’50s song “Rock Around the Clock” (re-recorded for the series), to having their own theme written just for them. A mark of true love is having something made just for you. The “Happy Days Theme” was peppy and delightful and re-recorded throughout the series’ run.