And now for a little Bonus Material. I also wanted to share a couple of my favorite TV miniseries themes. Now you know that if I love TV series credits that show the actors' faces, then I'm bound to love miniseries ones in which the parade of stars is typically even longer! Take a look at the run down of celebrities on The Moneychangers (1976), one of my favorite miniseries, and see if your jaw doesn't drop! (EDITOR'S NOTE: The video I had embedded here turned out to be incorrect and I cannot get the one I want to load in... Please visit this link for the right opening sequence!)
Another lovely miniseries theme (with a parade of stars sporting some hooty facial hair) comes from 1981's East of Eden. This one came to my attention after the music was used in a figure skating program by Michelle Kwan and it quickly became a favorite. This program, by the way, contains a positively feral performance by Jane Seymour. (I could NOT get this to embed for some reason. So this one is linked, too. Sorry!)
Speaking of Jane Seymour, Queen of the Miniseries, the follow-up to The Winds of War, War and Remembrance (1988), featured what I consider to be the most incredible performance she ever gave. I love the music (the same for both miniseries), but put forth the second program because I just cannot do Ali MacGraw in the first one (whose role was inherited by Seymour for the sequel.) Remembrance was a staggering undertaking, a truly mammoth production, that ended up not performing up to expectation and helped to spell the end of the epic miniseries made for network television, despite being of very high quality.
Back to soaps for a minute, the long-running Knots Landing (1979-1993) always had a rather bouncy, upbeat theme that was fine. But when the show came back for season nine, a crazy new approach was taken in which the music was slowed down and pretentiously dramatic black and white ("oooooh!") disembodied heads of the cast members struck meaningful poses over an arty painted backdrop. The rendition below contains a 30-second preview prior to the credits, but it was the best example I could find. After horrified reactions from the public, the faces were redone in color the following season and then the experiment was over with the theme reverted to an up-tempo one for the rest of the series' run.
Another of my other favorite TV themes was the one for Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994), but I didn't include it in my countdown above because they cheated a little by using music made for the feature films rather than something created especially for a weekly television show. In case it isn't clear by now, I tend to prefer rousing music over more sedate themes.
Similarly, when the underwater sci-fi series Seaquest DSV (1993-1996) came about, I was enthusiastic about its credits which borrow some of the ooh-ahh bombast of Trek, but pair that with multiple cast visuals (including the underused Stephanie Beacham in a woefully un-glamorous role.) The show floundered (pun intended) in the ratings and went through a couple of cast and concept overhauls before its demise.
Who remembers this hooty animated program from 1972-1974, Wait Till Your Father Gets Home? I can remember watching it sometimes as a pre-teen and enjoying it. The family dynamic (pudgy husband, short-haired wife, doofus older son, bespectacled daughter, younger son) almost looks as if it could have partially inspired The Family Guy! Even the house is vaguely similar.
An honorable mention when it comes to favorite TV themes of mine is the catchy one for Maude (1972-1978), starring the incomparable Bea Arthur. This is the first season rendition, but I'm including a later version afterwards because some of the visuals of Bea were changed (note how she became more glam as it went along!)
And finally... This is by far the weirdest set of credits in this post. I had just the vaguest, vaguest memory of seeing the Saturday morning kids show Lidsville (1971-1973) as a tyke. Several years ago, I got a DVD set devoted to the works of Sid & Marty Krofft and an episode of the show was on it. Needless to say I went completely nuts over them and watched them over and over (and over!) You just cannot beat crazy stuff like this from the '70s... and they are close to two minutes long! Can you imagine such a thing today?!