Laser Time – Shows That Changed Their Theme Songs

Whether it was a major makeover, a temporary pilot tune, or a costly song that couldn’t come to DVD, we compare (and vote for) tunes for TV shows that had more than one theme song!

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TV THEME POLL!

Which MST3K is better?

 

Which Garfield Theme is Better?

 

Which South Park Theme is better?

 

Which Attack on Titan Theme is better?

 

Which Rocko's Modern Life Theme is better?

 

Which Transformers Theme is better?

 

Which Pokemon Theme is better?

 

Which Steven Universe Theme is better?

 

Which Drew Carey Show Theme is better?

 

What's the better DVD replacement theme song?

 

Which In Living Color Theme is Better

 

Which is the better SNL Theme?

 

Which Gilligan's Island Theme is better?

 

Which Baywatch Theme is better?

 

Which Fantastic Four Theme is better?

 

Which Seinfeld Theme is better?

 

Make your voice heard, people: VOTE!

40 thoughts on “Laser Time – Shows That Changed Their Theme Songs

  1. Wow..,that Seinfeld Chronicals theme is weird. Sounds like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZGvnI37mxk

    Ignoring the no-anime-rule to show a few examples weird North American themes

    Dragon Ball

    FUNimationhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnYYepoUbkk
    Original https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROnd7d4axHo

    Dragon Ball Z

    Dragon-Dragon Ball (Dragon Ball Z) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAOCnSKz-x8
    Rock the Dragon – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4vjJrGeh1c

    Home Movies

    Season 1 (Open and closing) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeoaaQ65F9Q
    Season 2 (Theme) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkAjJ4_Fuvw

  2. The first show that popped into my head was That 70’s Show. The first season had a version of “In the Street” sung by Todd Griffin where Danny Masterson (Hyde) screams “Hello Wisconsin!” at the end https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdDC0XzhOEo.

    Starting in season 2 and onwards, a new Cheap Trick version of the song was used where they yell at the end https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdDC0XzhOEo

    I definitely think the Cheaper Trick version is better, but I still think Masterson has the best “Hello Wisconsin!” in the game

  3. Hold on to your hats, folks, there are SEVEN MST3K theme songs…

    1) KTMA
    2) Season 1 through Joel’s departure in season 5
    3) Mikes arrival in season 5 through season 6
    4) Season 7 (to remove TV’s Frank)
    5) Seasons 8 and 9
    6) Season 10 (to add the Castle Forrester premise)
    7) Season 11

    Crazy

  4. The original “Cleveland Rocks” song has its own weird alternate version: the song was originally released two years before as “England Rocks,” but the artist says that it was always supposed to be about Cleveland and he changed it for the sake of getting airtime in England. He thought it wouldn’t get national airtime in the US if it was just about Cleveland

  5. Alf is on every episode of Laser Time, but no mention of his change of theme? And I know SJWness requires erasing the Cosby Show from your mind if you aren’t full of hate, but that’s the second most prominent music change I remember.

    Why are toys fighting other characters not real stories, or deserving of orchestral music? Why always deride cartoons that had toys instead of seeing them as stories about cool, varied characters?

  6. The SNL theme is so frustrating, cause I can remember a few distinct ones that I like, but it’s impossible to find which specific season they’re from. Anyway, I like this one from 2000
    https://youtu.be/-oSKiXFQxmY

    And I remember both Garfield songs, cause I think where I was, we’re ready to party was the opener, and friends are there was the closer.

  7. The joke Diana makes about Drew Carey being Dilbert is actually made ON the show several times! Drew had a Dilbert plush on his desk, his friends would call him Dilbert, and once on Halloween he distracted Mimi by saying, “Look, two guys dressed like Dilbert!” and the guys were dressed exactly like him.

  8. Chris’ enthusiasm for Steven Universe has convinced me that he and Henry need some sort of venue to discuss episodes. If not individual episodes then just something cuz’ I love hearing Henry talk about all the earnestness and beauty of that series.

    And if I may plug a non-Laser Time podcast, Larua Dale’s Crystal Clodcast is a very insightful look at episodes through the lense of latter episode revelations.

  9. Chris, here is your mission: find the Steven Universe pilot, that’s where the long version of the song came from originally and the first incarnations of the Gems including Garnet with long flowing hair. GO! NOW!

  10. I wrote this on the facebook page too:

    I’ve never heard of Steven Universe and almost cried at how beautiful the theme song was. I’m going to check out that show.

    Also King of the Hill had two openings too. One was the original and the other one starts with a “yahhhooo!!!”

  11. I wrote this on the facebook page too:

    I’ve never heard of Steven Universe and almost cried at how beautiful the theme song was. I’m going to check out that show.

    Also King of the Hill had two openings too. One was the original and the other one starts with a “yahhhooo!!!”

  12. I wrote this on the facebook page too:

    I’ve never heard of Steven Universe and almost cried at how beautiful the theme song was. I’m going to check out that show.

    Also King of the Hill had two openings too. One was the original and the other one starts with a “yahhhooo!!!”

  13. I wrote this on the facebook page too:

    I’ve never heard of Steven Universe and almost cried at how beautiful the theme song was. I’m going to check out that show.

    Also King of the Hill had two openings too. One was the original and the other one starts with a “yahhhooo!!!”

    1. I’m watching Quantum Leap on Bluray, and halfway through season 2 the music still sounds different than I remember as a kid, but the opening narration has finally changed to the lady’s voice instead of Sam recapping the last few episodes, though it still isn’t the narration I remember. In the first season there were a few episodes that reworked the theme music in the episode into the style of the subject (like a How the West was Won style,) but now halfway through season 2 the background music is getting to be really “TV” music, not as subtle as earlier.

  14. It’s so weird that “OG” is just part of the lexicon, it literally means Original Gangsta it was a term that got popular in the 90s because OGs from the 70s when the gangs were invented were often dead or coming home from decade+ prison sentences and the kids from the 70s who idolized them were now adults and would rap about them and reference them in movies…yet here it is being referenced on a pop culture podcast by a bunch of nerds talking about TV songs and a nerdy gay Jewish Scientist is explaining the meaning of the phrase…so weird.

  15. Regarding Transformers (I promise I won’t scream with rage at you guys), I don’t think you can really call it anime just because the animation was farmed out to Japan. The cartoon (and comics, and entire backstory) was designed, written, and produced by an American company (Sunbow, Marvel Comics’ 80’s animation company) for an American audience. Would you call The Simpsons a Korean cartoon because the animation was originally subcontracted to a Korean company?

    In fact Transformers is one of the rare cases of IP flowing the opposite way from the US to Japan. Yes, Hasbro originally licensed the toys that would become Transformers from several Japanese toy companies’ toy lines. But Hasbro (subcontracted out to Marvel Comics) created the backstory of the Transformers being alien robots fighting a galactic civil war, came up with the names Autobot and Decepticon, and all the characters and personalities. The original toys were meant to be lifeless robots and came with tiny human pilots (this is why toys like the original G1 Dinobots have cockpits for human drivers). Takara imported the original Transformers cartoon from the USA and dubbed it into Japanese. After it was canceled in the US, the cartoon was continued in Japan with Japanese productions that continued the story for later toy lines (these could rightly be called anime).

    Up until the 90’s (when TV show intro songs died), I think it was pretty common for shows to change their theme song every year or every couple of years. Off the top of my head 80’s sitcoms like The Facts of Life, Charles In Charge, and Who’s The Boss? have multiple versions. A lot of the time the song will just be a rerecording with some new stylistic elements (extra jazzy or more electric guitar added) but it’s noticeably different.

    The Facts Of Life songs were pretty different:
    Early (featuring vocals from Mrs. Garrett herself Charlotte Rae):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qN4bH8cmJpY

    Middle (this is the one most people remember and starts with “You take the good, you take the bad…):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGS56qJ0xIw

    Late (overproduced extra electric guitar-y version of the middle one used towards the end of the series where Cloris Leachman replaced Charlotte Rae and they brought on a young George Clooney as a handyman):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAX7WGCvP7c

    Also, the Jem cartoon (another Sunbow production) has a second theme song version different from her “Truly Outrageous” one:
    “Truly Outrageous” version:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6G_o1MYECg

    “Jem Girls” version:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcWUliMb3E4

    Thanks for the nostalgia trip into TV show theme songs. It’s one of the things I fondly remember from growing up. In the 90’s I bought those CD’s that collected a bunch of TV show themes just to listen to them over and over. Of course now YouTube makes finding them much easier. 🙂

  16. As a white man, I’m required to mention The Wire, which had a different cover of Tom Waits’ “Way Down in the Hole” for each of the five seasons. My favourite version is the original, which is used in the second season (um, thanks for that). Tom Waits is so delightfully weird and has written so much of pop culture’s soundtrack (Downtown Train, Jersey Girl, Ol’ 55 are all Tom Waits songs) (seriously, people have released entire cover *albums* of Tom Waits), but sometimes it’s best to go with the original.

    A compilation of all five versions is on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jR9_wbTrInI

  17. Hey guys. Thanks for not ragging on Cleveland too much. It’s really not that bad of a city. Our river is clean now and we’ve won our championship. Plus we’ve got a small but pretty good food scene and a great local brewery, Great Lakes. Cleveland is a city that brings people closer together by kicking the shit out of them be it loser sports teams or weeks upon weeks of grey sky. But, most people in north east Ohio love love their city regardless.

  18. The first time I watched The Doctor House Show M.D on Netflix the non Massive Attack theme song caught me off guard. Luckily Luther hot to keep his when he got to streaming!

  19. Was disappointed (but not surprised since I’ve never heard any of the LT’ers mention being fans) to hear no mention of The Leftovers in this episode. I was never a fan of the first season’s opening theme/credits (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PTNHQND6MA) that was composed by Max Richter who I believe does the score for the rest of the show.

    When the second season started I was pleasantly surprised to see the song and images had been significantly upgraded with Iris Dement’s “Let The Mystery Be” and a series of images that are a perfect fit for the show IMO.

    The third season has ditched the Iris Dement song but kept the images from the second season credits while using a different song each week. I don’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t gotten around to watching yet but the song choice for episode two was one of my favorite moments on TV this year.

  20. Monk changed it’s theme for season 2 onward.
    The first season it was a cute little acoustic guitar diddy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZZm1Zqo_Ns
    Then for season 2 they got a Randy Newman song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j5Be5a86uA

    Almost every fan preferred the original. Not sure why they changed it, or why they never changed it back when it was clear no one liked the new one. But they did make the original theme the end credits song, so there’s that at least.

  21. Not sure why I took so damned long to follow the plugs to check out Hotdad’s music, but holy shit.

    That whole Light Sleeper album feels like it should exist in an alternate reality where it is the complete soundtrack to a Real Genius sequel from the 80s.

    I mean that in absolutely the most complimentary sense possible. Those 80s-infused synths hit my ear like hot buttered orgasms. This’ll be the soundtrack to my getting ready for work in the mornings for the foreseeable future.

  22. Several 80s shows had mutiple themes, especially those that lasted several seasons and crossed from the “end of the 70s” period to the “full on 80s” period.

    Facts of Life:
    Season 1 – https://youtu.be/VDVpP7fWurA
    Seasons 2 thru 6 – https://youtu.be/gGS56qJ0xIw
    Seasons 7 thru 9 – https://youtu.be/iAX7WGCvP7c

    A-Team:
    Seasons 1 and 2 – https://youtu.be/N1HMCArgqWM
    Seasons 3 and 4 – https://youtu.be/-pqK1DaxJG4
    Season 5 – https://youtu.be/U1ftQ03aV14

    Alvin and the Chipmunks:
    Intro 1 – https://youtu.be/OxD6mmJaYqk
    Intro 2 – https://youtu.be/OvJu15fw1sc

    And those are just a few. Just about all the long running 80s shows changed their theme songs to keep up with the current trends.

  23. I know you didn’t want to get into anime themes, but one thing of note would be Sailor Moon, which kept the same opening song for the first four series, 166 episodes. Then, for the final series of 34 episodes changes to a completely different song. So bizarre to keep the same opening music for so long, then change it just for the last series.

    I remember the original Weeds opening so well because the aerial shot with the time lapse building of the neighborhood is actually two neighborhoods in Calabasas, where I was working as a delivery driver at the time. It was a bit strange to see something we knew so well in a TV opening, even if the whole premise of the show was a decade behind the actual attitudes and realities of pot smoking in Southern California.

  24. Nobody likes “moon over parma”? Sadness. I always get good little 7th grade middle school mid 90s knowing that tomorrow is a snow day vibes from that theme.

  25. I was hoping for Dave would have had some of the many Raw and Smackdown themes over the years. Maybe one of your Cheap Podcast music elimination tournaments would be good with there being 12 Raw themes and 12 Smackdown themes (although “The Beautiful People” has been used on both).

  26. came her to post about Monk. Two vastly different themes. The change was so bad they addressed it in a dickish way on the show. First one was instrumental by Jeff Beal the second one was Randy Newman. Maybe he was a fan of the show.

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