Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Did They Mention The Music? Post.

The TV Academy has put the final nail in the TV theme song coffin, quoth Variety.
Now that the once vibrant slice of pop culture -- who doesn't still know the words to the themes from Gilligan's Island or The Brady Bunch? -- has mostly disappeared from primetime, the Emmy category honoring main title songs is following suit.
The Academy announced Monday that the main title theme category would be eliminated effective next year, and replaced by the new "music composition for a non-fiction program" award.
"This change was made due to the decreasing number of traditional television main title theme music," the org said.
Indeed, TV themes virtually disappeared in the late 1990s, as networks experimented with ways to keep viewers from flipping channels. Just as they squeezed out closing credits, played with start and stop times (like last week's 9:28 p.m. scheduling of Glee) and worked to seamlessly blend from one show to the next, webheads also dramatically reduced opening credit segments -- or got rid of them all together.
The main title theme category ax was one of several rules changes announced by the Academy. But...

...the one with the music is the one under the spotlight here. To be honest, this isn't terribly surprising - increasing contempt for openings aside, the Emmys have had difficulties with theme tunes for a long time (ever since ATAS was founded, in fact) - in the book Inside Star Trek Robert H. Justman and Herbert F. Solow relate how the 1967 Emmys decided that Lalo Schifrin's work on Mission: Impossible wasn't worthy of a statuette (although Schifrin has won an Emmy, it wasn't for this), and indeed
they didn't even give awards out for themes until 1993! So in "honour" of this occasion, and as another lament for the time when network TV shows had decent opening and closing tunes (it was not uncommon, for instance, for The A-Team to give Mike Post and Pete Carpenter's theme a lengthy workout, and the next time the pilot for Moonlighting is shown have a look at how the end credits give you a chance to hear the whole song!), all the Emmy-winning themes so far. I only wish The Simpsons or Twin Peaks could have been among the following...

1993: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Dennis McCarthy)

1994: seaQuest DSV (John Debney)

1995: Star Trek: Voyager (Jerry Goldsmith, his fifth and final Emmy)

1996: Murder One (Mike Post, his only Emmy to date - and why this is set to scenes of Gillian Anderson, I don't know)

1997: EZ Streets (Mark Isham - his end title music doesn't seem to be online anywhere, dammit)

1998: Fame L.A. (Robbie Buchanan, Maribeth Derry, Richard Barton Lewis and Tom Snow)

1999: Trinity (Martin Davich - no video available, apparently)

2000: The West Wing (W.G. Snuffy Walden)

2001: Gideon's Crossing (James Newton Howard)

2002: Six Feet Under (Thomas Newman)

2003: Monk (Jeff Beal)

2004: Monk, again (Randy Newman) - yes, this won for both its themes. Amazing.

2005: Desperate Housewives (Danny Elfman)

2006: Masters of Horror (Edward Shearmur)

2007: The Tudors (Trevor Morris)

2008: Pirate Master (Russ Landau)

2009: Great Performances (John Williams)

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