The Best Theme Songs From Nighttime Soaps
Fans of big hair and even bigger drama rejoice — ‘Dallas’ is back! TNT’s continuation of the classic ’80s primetime soap that had the nation asking “Who Shot J.R.?” premieres tonight, catching us up on the doings of Bobby, Sue Ellen and the seemingly unkill-able bad guy J.R. Ewing. In addition to its memorable characters, the show’s iconic theme song is one of the best remembered TV themes of the 1980s.
But ‘Dallas’ wasn’t the only nighttime soap with a catchy opening theme. Take a trip down memory lane with some of the best primetime soap opera theme songs in TV history.
The epic swelling strings, the split-screen aerial shots of the titular city and the colorful cast of characters…the ‘Dallas’ theme set the template for future soap opera themes to come.
‘Dynasty’ was always the glitzier answer to ‘Dallas,’ and its theme song ups the ridiculous quotient with more strings, more helicopters, more fashion, more lavish houses and more shots of smooth John Forsythe straight up getting it done.
The ‘Dallas’ spin-off added a nifty side-scrolling effect to introduce its cast and a jazzy theme song that seems more appropriate for the ‘Bob Newhart Show’ than for a dramatic nighttime soap. Still, it’s pretty catchy nonetheless.
‘Falcon Crest’ was basically ‘Dallas’ in the California wine country, and its theme song followed a similar model only with more Lorenzo Lamas on horseback.
This short-lived soap about the fashion industry starred Nicollette Sheridan, Mimi Rogers, Morgan Fairchild and the wonderfully named Dack Rambo of ‘Dallas’ fame.
The opening theme to this yuppies in love series is so ’80s, it might as well come with a case of Tab.
‘The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd’
This wry, critically-acclaimed NBC dramedy about life and love in the Big Apple was a precursor to ‘Ally McBeal’ and ‘Sex & the City.’ It also featured one of the catchiest theme songs in TV history, courtesy of composer Paul Williams.
David Lynch’s twisted series brought back the nighttime soap in the strangest way possible. The haunting theme by Angelo Badalamenti still induces chills today.
‘Beverly Hills, 90210′
While the season one theme is slightly different (and cheesier), season two cemented the iconic theme song we know and love.
Supermodels were hot in the ’90s, which explains this short-lived Aaron Spelling soap which spun off from ‘Melrose Place.’ ‘Dallas’ star Linda Gray returned to primetime soaps in a show that also launched the careers of Carrie Anne Moss and Garcelle Beauvais. The chunky, synth-heavy theme song goes down like a nice Crystal Pepsi.
‘My So-Called Life’
For anyone who came of age during the ’90s, the opening strains of W.G. Snuffy Walden’s theme is enough to transport you to a simpler (and much more awkward) time.
‘Central Park West’
Before he struck gold with ‘Sex and the City,’ producer Darren Star attempted another series which looked at the lives and loves of wealthy New Yorkers. Despite featuring a cast that included Mariel Hemingway and Raquel Welch, ‘CPW’ failed to catch on with viewers. But its sultry, Enigma-esque theme composed by Michael Gore still lingers in the memories of ’90s TV fans.
‘Once & Again’
The critically-acclaimed show from the producers of ‘Thirtysomething’ and ‘My So-Called Life’ featured another lilting, gorgeous theme from W.G. Snuffy Walden and Joey Newman.
Tim Burton regular Danny Elfman penned the bouncy theme for the recently departed ‘Desperate Housewives.’ (Fun fact: Elfman also composed ‘The Simpsons’ theme.)