7 TV Shows That Didn’t Get Their Iconic Theme Song Until Season Two (Or Later)
A good theme song can be incredibly effective at establishing the identity of a show beyond its narrative. They’ve been used to introduce characters, share an origin story or just flesh out the vibes. But while many shows got it right from the jump, there are some whose iconic themes didn’t manifest until their sophomore season — or even later.
Here are the shows that made the right call to change things up and create TV history in the process…
That ‘70s Show
Although not a full-fledged change, switching performers proved to make a world of difference for That ‘70s Show. When Cheap Trick took over and recorded their livelier version of Big Star’s “In the Street,” they took a moment to remind us “we’re all alright.”
I Dream of Jeannie
When I Dream of Jeannie switched from black-and-white to color after its inaugural season, its theme song also received some colorful tweaks. Creator Sidney Sheldon had become dissatisfied with the jazz waltz theme used for the first season and replaced it with the upbeat tune that’s now so closely associated with the show.
Some shows don’t even wait until their second season before revamping their theme. The show with your grandmother’s favorite private investigator is a prime example. About 12 episodes into its first season, Magnum, P.I. switched from a “mid-tempo jazzy piece” to the more uptempo guitar riffs that everyone is familiar with.
The first time we met the Flintstones, there was actually no discussion of meeting them at all. The original theme for the animated series was a jazzy instrumental that scored Fred’s commute home. It wasn’t until the third season that we were called on to meet the modern Stone Age family.
The Twilight Zone
All these years later, The Twilight Zone’s nefarious opening notes are still incredibly haunting — they found their way into your brain whether you liked it or not. This wasn’t true for its first season, though; it opened with something a bit more ephemeral and atmospheric.
Like Magnum, P.I., the Winslows from Family Matters also saw a mid-season theme song change. For the first five episodes, the show opened to the smooth crooning of Louis Armstrong singing “What a Wonderful World.”
It’s hard to believe that a theme song as iconic as Happy Days’ could have ever been anything else, but for Seasons One and Two, it was “Rockin’ Around the Clock.” It wasn’t until the show’s third season that Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox expanded the show’s closing theme and reworked it with Pratt & McClain into what would become a (TV) musical sensation.