Thursday, April 29, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks #355: TMP Television Edition - TV Score and/or Theme Song

Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five titles and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.


This week's Thursday Movie Picks is TMP Television Edition - TV Score and/or Theme Song


This is one TMP that I've been highly anticipating. I love a good TV score/theme song so I went all out with my picks and separated them into three different types.

TV series Using Existing Music for their Theme Song
"California" opening theme song of The O.C. (2003 - 2007) 
♪ On the stereo • Listen as we go • Nothings gonna stop me now • California here we come • Right back where we started from ♫
The O.C. was one of the hottest Teen TV series back in the early to mid 2000s and the song California by Phantom Planet which was released a year before the TV series premiered was just perfect as its theme song. Also the music supervisor/s whose job it is to pick the music for this series did a great job with its soundtrack; selecting the best songs to complement the scenes it accompanies. I was introduced to a lot of songs and musicians that I would never have heard otherwise through watching the series.


"Red Right Hand" theme song of Peaky Blinders (2013 - )
Past the square, past the bridge • Past the mills, past the stacks • On a gathering storm comes • A tall handsome man • In a dusty black coat with •  A red right hand
Red Right Hand, a song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds released in 1994, is the theme song of Peaky Blinders a TV series set in early 20th century that follows the exploits of a gang in Birmingham, England called the Peaky Blinders named so for the razor blades sewn in the peaks of their caps. The theme song really sets the tone of the series and this series is probably the only TV show I've seen that successfully marries contemporary rock music with its early 20th century setting.

"The Skye Boat Song" opening theme song of Outlander (2014 - )
Billow and breeze, islands and seas • Mountains of rain and sun • all that was good, all that was fair • All that was me is gone • Sing me a song of the lass that is gone • Say, could that lass be I?
The Skye Boat Song is a late 19th-century Scottish song with lyrics by an English baronet about the exiled Prince Charles Stuart. A few years later Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island, wrote alternative lyrics to song. The Stevenson version is the one that is used by Outlander with its reference to "lad" changed to "lass" to fit the female protagonist of the TV show. It's sort of amazing how the lyrics fits so well with the story of Claire, the Outlander in the story, a WW2 nurse who while in Scotland got sucked into an opening of some time portal and is spat back out in 18th century Scotland. What is unique about the Outlander theme song is that it is slightly changed for each new season as Claire's story takes her around the world. In season 2 she goes to France and the song is partly sung in French. In season 3 she goes to Jamaica and the song has a more Caribbean island beat to it. In season 4 Claire goes to America and so the theme song has an American folk flavour while season 5 has the song sung by a choir of both female and male singers where before it has mostly been sung by one female singer. My favourite has remain the original season one theme song which kept its Scottish sound.
TV series with Original Music for their Theme Song

"Main Title" theme song of Game of Thrones (2011 - 2019)
I picked the Opening Title Sequence of Game of Thrones last month and this time I'm picking Game of Thrones again for its theme song. It is just great. Iconic. One of those theme songs like the ones for Star Wars and Harry Potter that really transports you into their imaginary worlds. 

"Main Title" theme song of Black Sails (2014 - 2017)
If you haven't seen the Opening Title Sequence of Black Sails, go do it now. It features a beautiful sculpture depicting pirate life in baroque, gothic and rococo style. It truly is a sight to behold. And the love it. It is a standout with its unique sound; a tune that is gritty, rusty and sometimes sounding purposely a little out of tune to express the rough violent life of these can almost picture weary 18th century pirates playing their well used musical instruments, that have been corroded by salty air, and singing some shanty.

"Container" opening theme song of The Affair (2014 - 2019)
I was screaming into the canyon at the moment of my death • The echo I created outlasted my last breath • My voice it made an avalanche and buried a man I never knew • And when he died his widowed bride met your daddy and they made you
I absolutely love this song which was specifically written and performed by Fiona Apple for The Affair. The song is very short, lasting only as long as the Opening Title Sequence making me wish Apple would release a more complete song. Anyway the TV series explores the effects of an affair on the two families involved which makes the song, while not about an affair but has a similar theme of reverberating consequence as it talks about the ongoing effects of an event - perfect for the series.
"I'm Just a Girl in Love" season two theme song of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015 - 2019)
I'm just a girl in love • I can't be held responsible for my actions • I have no underlying issues to address • I'm certifiably cute and adorably obsessed
Every season the musical series has a new theme song with a new Opening Title Sequence to go with it and they are always a lot of fun. This show really pushes itself creatively, which I love. My favourite of the show’s four opening theme songs is I'm Just a Girl in Love for season two.
Theme Songs and Scores of Period Drama Literary Adaptations
I enjoy watching period dramas series especially when they are adaptions. A lot of these dramas also have great original scores, here are some of my favourite tracks from them.

"I've Seen Hell" song from North and South (2004)
It's this beautiful and rather haunting instrumental that gives us a sense of the main female protagonist's loneliness and misery living in the city where she has seen the grim living and working conditions of factory workers.

Theme song of Persuasion (2007)
I love Persuasion. It is such a romantic tale of second chances and enduring love and this TV adaptation of it is just amazing. And theme song is just soooo beautiful and delicate; utterly swoon-worthy.

Main Title Theme song of Sense and Sensibility (2008)
Once again a beautiful sweeping instrumental this time transporting us to the Dashwood's cottage near the sea, one they reluctantly live in due to their reduced financial circumstance. 

Main Title Theme song of Little Dorrit (2008)
One of the more melancholic themes...Little Dorrit did not have great life. Anyway it is a great tune for a wonderful series. Claire Foy was just really good in this...I think even better than her performance in The Crown.

Main Title Theme song of Emma (2009)
I love this adaptation of Emma, it is funny and fun and it has one of the more upbeat period drama opening theme songs. It's a gorgeous and pretty joyous tune.

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  1. Oh man!! So many wonderful picks here and I like that you break them down into different categories.

    Somehow I never listened to OUTLANDER's opening theme, The Skye Boat Song is lovely.

    Glad you picked Black Sails!! I LOVE the opening title sequence AND the music by Bear McCreary, such incredible artistry.

    Ooooh I'm a huge fan of period dramas myself too, and you're right, many of them have such great theme music. I LOVE 'I've Seen Hell' song from North and South, it's so evocative and it always makes me remember all the cotton flying about at the mill which looks like snow... and Margaret saying 'I believe I have seen hell and it's white, it's snow-white.'

    P.S. I love Persuasion as well, it's my fave Jane Austen novel. In fact, it inspires my own short film that's also about second chances at love (still working on developing the feature version).

    1. You haven't seen Outlander??

      Black Sails - Have you seen the video McCreary released of the musicians performing the track in the studio, my guess is that fans were curious as to what instruments were making such striking sounds. McCreary also does the music for Outlander.

      North and South - I love the scene this music accompanies. The shot of the cotton like snow was beautiful...and then out comes Thornton from the corner, striking and determined walking across the mill.

      I love Pride and Prejudice but that is more of a romantic comedy for me. For pure romance...Persuasion is the novel...I love it too.

  2. We match with OC California! I never watched the show, but the song is really great. :-D

    1. You've never watched the show? Than how did you know California was its theme song?

  3. You went all out, I love it! OC's California is such a cool "brings back a lot of good memories" kind of track. I loved those teen shows back in the day... the teen shows don't have that charm anymore.
    I love Outlander's theme too, no idea they changed it in season 2?? I haven't watched Outlander past season 1.
    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a fun concept theme song idea, I love the show too but as I'm not much of a musical fan, the show doesn't crack my all time fav lists. Though the jokes and comedy are amazing. As well as the entire shows point of view.
    Anyway, this list was epic, haven't seen most of these shows but I can see how the theme songs stand out.

    1. Teen shows - I haven't like love love some of the newer teen shows but that could also be because I'm no longer a teen, so they don't have quite the effect that the older teen shows that I saw when I was a teen had.

      Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - I really enjoyed the show...but yeah it too wouldn't be on the top of favourite list.

  4. I can't believe I didn't think of The OC as I was obsessed with that series and absolutely loved that song. Peaky Blinders' is also a favourite of mine, and Game of Thrones' score is just terrific.

    1. The OC - It was so soapy but so much fun to watch and the music on it was great.

  5. I listened to all of them and I do love “I’m Just a Girl in Love”. Game of Thrones is excellent and I hear it on the classical station often. Listening to some f these I forgot about Downton Abbey which has some excellent music.

    1. “I’m Just a Girl in Love” is just super cute isn't it with its old timey sort of tune.


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