10 Best TV Show Theme Songs, According To Ranker


While not as big as it was two decades ago, there was a time when a TV show theme song was as popular and well-known as any mainstream band song. People could often sing along to a song as it played before a show, and it seemed like there were shows where everyone knew the lyrics, even if they weren’t actively watching the show.

RELATED: 10 Best TV Theme Songs From The 80s

At the same time, there were also themes that had no lyrics but remain well known. The mere sound of a few notes would remind someone of the show they played before and even hearing it in 2022 might bring back memories of shows long buried in the annals of time. Ranker Voters have even come up with what they consider to be the ultimate TV show theme songs.

ten Hawaii Five-0 (1968)

Steve and Danno investigate a case on Hawaii Five-0.

  • Available to stream on Paramount+

One of those popular TV theme songs that has no lyrics, but is still an earworm nonetheless is the theme to Hawaii five-0. Created by Morton Stevens, the theme was instantly catchy and was even released as a single by the Ventures, which saw it reach number four on the pop charts.

There was even a version with lyrics by Don Ho and Sammy Davis Jr. To this day, it remains a popular song for middle and high school marching bands. The song was so beloved that the rebooted series in 2010 reused it.

9 Gilligan’s Island (1964)

  • Available to stream on DirecTV.

Gilligan’s Island debuted in 1964 as a sitcom with a unique idea that was what if a group on a boat trip got lost at sea before stranding on a desert island? There, the group must learn to survive, despite being completely different from each other in every way.

The theme song told the story perfectly, introducing each castaway member and showing how different they are. Anyone who saw the show can immediately tell a person that there was a millionaire and his wife, a teacher, a movie star and Mary Ann, all with the skipper and his first mate, Gilligan. It was a perfect way to present the Gilligan’s Island TV series.


8 The Pink Panther Show (1969)

pink panther cartoon

  • Available to stream on DirecTV.

The Pink Panther was the name of two things that were both related. One was the series of films starring Peter Sellers as French inspector Jacques Clouseau. The other was the Pink Panther anime series which was also featured in the movies intro.

“The Pink Panther Theme” was an instrumental by Harry Mancini written for the first film which also served as the theme for the cartoon. It was an Oscar-nominated theme for the film and won three Grammy Awards.

7 Scooby Doo (1969)

Scooby-Doo Gang and Mystery Machine

  • Available to stream on HBO Max.

scooby-doo is the only cartoon that has outlasted almost any other cartoon in history, debuting in 1969 and still airing to this day. There were a lot of changes, both in animation and in the cast of characters, with Shaggy and Scooby really the only two who lasted through them all. There was even a series where they teamed up with other celebrities to solve crimes.

RELATED: 10 Best Disney Channel Theme Songs, Ranked

Regarding the scooby-doo theme, it’s a song everyone should know because it’s remained pretty much constant over the past five decades. Larry Marks performed the original theme, and although it was re-recorded in the future, the lyrics and beat remained essentially the same.

6 Friends (1994)

recaster friends in 2022 who could play them

  • Available to stream on HBO Max.

The theme song that opened the sitcom Friends every week could be the most successful ever, even if it’s not the best. The song is “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts and it was just as much a piece of pop culture history as the show itself.

The song was not only immediately catchy and singable, but it was also a radio hit. The song peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was number one on the Mainstream Top 40 (via Billboard) and it’s easily a song more famous for being featured on a TV show.

5 To Your Health (1982)

Norm and Cliff in Cheers

  • Available to stream on Hulu.

One of the most famous TV theme songs arrived with the sitcom Cheers in 1982. Gary Portnoy’s song “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” became his main claim to fame, even though he also wrote the theme for Punky Brewer as well. In the end, it was the perfect song for Cheers and a TV theme song that will get stuck in your head.

The show was about a bar owned by Sam (Ted Danson) and followed a day at said bar, with the bartender, waitress and patrons all knowing each other. The song was the reason everyone loved the show – it was the idealistic thought of having a place to go where everyone knows your name.

4 Happy Days (1974)

Happy days characters in a portrait

  • Available to stream on Paramount+

In 1984, Garry Marshall created the hit sitcom Happy Days. The series was set in the 1960s and followed a suburban family, which included main character Richie Cunningham and his friends (including the ever-popular Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, a too-cool-for-school biker).

RELATED: 10 Best TV Theme Song Lyrics

While the first season used Bill Haley & His Comets “Rock Around the Clock”, it was quickly replaced by the official “Happy Days” theme, first by Jim Haas and then, in Season 3, by Pratt & McClain. This latest release was a major hit, reaching number five on the Billboard Hot 100 (via all music).

3 The Flintstones (1960)

Fred and Barney running down the stairs scared in The Flintstones

  • Available to stream on HBO Max.

One of the most successful cartoons in history arrived in 1960 and changed everything people knew about animation on television. This show was The Flintstones and it was clearly a Stone Age remake of Honeymooners for the children to watch.

Just saying “modern stone age family” should bring back the rhythm and melody of the classic TV theme song for anyone who’s ever watched the show. In some interesting trivia, this well-known and beloved TV theme song wasn’t the show’s official theme tune until Season 3.

2 The Addams Family (1964)

The cast of the 1960s TV series The Addams Family

  • Available to stream on Roku, Tubi and IMDb TV.

They’re scary and they’re crazy, and that was enough of a rhyme to make The Addams Family theme song so memorable. The author of this track was Vic Mizzy, who also wrote the theme song that opened Green Acres as well.

The song was perfect for the series, with a harpsichord as the lead instrument and Ted Cassidy adding his voice as Lurch for several words, like “neat”, “sweet” and “petite”. It even had a one-off release and fans remembered it well three decades later when the movies came out, and it’s still a perfect TV theme song for your Halloween playlist.

1 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990)

Will and Uncle Phil Heartbreaking Scene Fresh Prince

  • Available to stream on HBO Max.

According to TV fans on Ranker, the best TV theme song of all time was for The prince of Bel-Air. At the time of this show’s release, Will Smith was already a music star in DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, with catchy rap songs like “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” This made him the perfect person to sing his own theme song.

Produced by Quincy Jones III, Will Smith did more than sing a catchy intro song. The lyrics told how he ended up leaving West Philly for his aunt and uncle’s house in Bel-Air.

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