Top 50: Best American Television Show Theme Songs

When it comes to television show theme songs, I consider myself a connoisseur. I have a couple of friends that I’ve at one time or another had a very serious debate on the subject.

While most people would consider it inconsequential, I find theme songs to be a binding thread that can survive generations, politics, and even religions. Let me repeat myself. I take television theme songs VERY SERIOUSLY.

Now, I must admit I am an American and therefore most familiar with American television, but feel free to educate me in the comments. There are some people who would just lump all intro show themes into one list.

They’re probably the same savages that ask blanket questions like: “What’s your favorite movie?” or “Who’s your favorite band?” They disregard sub-genres and specifics.

Well, that’s not the kind of show we’re running here at DotD. Now, for the purpose of this list, I will differentiate “Theme Song” versus “Theme Music”.

I will define “Theme Songs” as including a melody with lyrics and “Theme Music” as simply just a melody. While I realize the terms can be interchangeable, I thought it best to divide them into two separate categories.

This means I made a hard, but conscious, decision to only include “theme songs” not “theme music”. Like I said. I take this subject VERY SERIOUSLY.

Our Handpicked List

50) Small Wonder

49) Silver Spoons

48) Welcome Back Kotter

47) WKRP in Cincinnati

46) Maude

45) Out of this World

44) The Wire (seriously, Tom Waits)

43) Family Ties

42) The Greatest American Hero

41) The Patty Duke Show

40) Married with Children

39) Green Acres

38) Sons of Anarchy

37) Malcolm in the Middle

36) The Dukes of Hazzard

35) True Blood

34) Family Matters

33) The Big Bang Theory

32) Three’s Company

31) Dawson’s Creek

30) The Muppet Show

29) The Love Boat

28) Mr. Belvedere (My 2nd ALL TIME FAVORITE)

27) Friends

26) The Sopranos


24) Full House

23) Saved by the Bell

22) Gilligan’s Island

21) COPS

20) All in the Family

19) The Monkees

18) The Wonder Years

17) PeeWee’s Playhouse

16) Charles in Charge

15) Good Times

14) The Addams Family

13) Facts of Life

12) Diff’rent Strokes

11) Mister Ed

10) Happy Days

9) Lavern & Shirley

8) The Beverly Hillbillies

7) Golden Girls

6) Cheers

5) Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

4) The Jeffersons

3) The Brady Bunch

2) Sesame Street

1) Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Honorable Mentions

The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Empty Nest, Dear John, and Fraiser (outro).

Final Words

Television theme songs are more than just catchy tunes that play before our favorite shows; they are the heartbeats that set the tone for the episodes to come. They evoke nostalgia, remind us of simpler times, and often become as iconic as the shows themselves.

This list, while extensive, is just a glimpse into the vast world of TV theme songs that have left an indelible mark on our hearts. Whether you agree with the rankings or not, one thing is undeniable: these songs have shaped our viewing experiences and have become cultural touchstones.

The next time the melodies of a cherished theme song reach your ears, pause and relish the flood of memories and feelings it evokes. And if you’re curious about content reminiscent of classic TV prank shows, discover the reactions to consuming dry ice.