Top 20 Best 2000s TV Theme Songs



Top 20 Best 2000s TV Theme Songs

VOICE OVER: Sophia Franklin WRITTEN BY: Jesse Singer
We miss the 2000s when more TV shows had theme songs. For this list, we'll be looking at, and listening to the catchy tunes and cool instrumental tracks. Our countdown includes "Malcolm in the Middle," "House," "The Wire," and more!

Top 20 Best 2000s TV Theme Songs

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Best 2000s TV Theme Songs.

For this list, we’ll be looking at, and listening to the catchy tunes and cool instrumental tracks that were the perfect theme songs to the shows they are now forever associated with. And for those wondering about their favorite cartoon theme song…. We haven’t included any cartoons here as they will get their own list.

After you watch the video let us know which of these ditties is now stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

#20: “Community” (2009-15)

Starting with episode two the “Community” opening credits included the folded paper fortune teller and the song, “At Least It Was Here” by the band The 88. The song did cause a little controversy due to the darkness of some of the lyrics, such as “We could be roped up, tied up, dead in a year.” However, most of the controversy came from fans mishearing the first few lyrics of the theme as “Give me some rope/Tie me to a tree,” which seems overly harsh - even for community college. In actuality, the lyrics are “Give me some rope/Tie me to dream.” Lyrics aside, the melody, in particular, captures that community college spirit.

#19: “Reba” (2001-07)

When the star of your sitcom is Reba McEntire, she better be the one singing your theme song. The song “I'm a Survivor” was written by Shelby Kennedy and Phillip White with the titular Ms. McEntire naturally performing. Actually, the song was originally recorded for, and released on McEntire’s 2001 compilation album “Greatest Hits Volume III: I'm a Survivor.” The song is a slow country ballad, but for the show’s theme, they sped it up a little and made it more of a pop-country tune. It’s about a premature baby who grows up and becomes a single mom. For the theme song, they focused on the single parent lyrics - as that matched the character Reba played on the show.

#18: “Two and a Half Men” (2003-15)

The “Two and a Half Men” theme song isn’t the most lyrically complex tune, it actually only features two simple words - “man” and “manly” - but it’s pretty darn catchy. The “Manly Man” ditty was composed by Chuck Lorre, Lee Aronsohn, and Grant Geissman. And if you’re asking yourself, “What business does big-time TV producer Chuck Lorre have composing theme songs?,” well, you might be surprised to learn that it was Lorre who created one of Sheldon Cooper’s two favorite cartoon themes, the iconic track for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

#17: “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2000-)

The instrumental theme “Frolic” has become so associated with “Curb Your Enthusiasm” that it might surprise you to learn that it wasn’t written for the show. In fact, it was written over 25 years before “Curb” premiered on HBO. The theme was written by Italian composer Luciano Michelini for a 1974 Italian film, “La bellissima estate.” But that isn’t how Larry David found it. As he told James Andrew Miller, he actually heard it in the background of a bank commercial and he found it to have a “circusy” sound that “tells the audience: Don’t take this seriously, it’s just funny.”

#16: “Parks and Recreation” (2009-15)

They say you shouldn’t procrastinate, but sometimes waiting until the last minute pays off, as was the case with the “Parks and Recreation” theme song. With under three weeks to go before the show was to premiere on NBC they still had no opening music. So, they sent out a mass email to composers asking for submissions, with the winner to receive $7,500. And it worked. The producers wanted a theme song that people would associate with the characters and the show and that’s exactly what they got with this peppy instrumental track. It’s like a marching band in a small town parade and it’s impossible not to think of Pawnee and its people when you hear it.

#15: “Scrubs” (2001-10)

The idea that doctors are superheroes but interns aren’t quite there yet is perfectly expressed in the “Scrubs” theme song “Superman” by the band Lazlo Bane. However, the song wasn’t written with the show in mind, as it first appeared on the soundtrack to the film, “The Tao of Steve.” It was “Scrubs” star Zach Braff who heard the song and brought it to the executive producer as a possible opening theme. The song then appeared on the band’s second album in 2002 and it was Braff who directed the music video.

#14: “30 Rock” (2006-13)

While there are those who might not think it’s a great idea to work with your significant other, thankfully not everyone feels that way. Especially Tina Fey, whose husband Jeff Richmond was a producer on “30 Rock” as well as the guy who composed that awesome opening theme and most of the incidental music in the show. The upbeat and jazzy opening instrumental fits the show’s energy and gets you ready for the barrage of jokes that each episode is going to throw at you. And it was even nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music.

#13: “Hannah Montana” (2006-11)

In “Hannah Montana,” Miley Cyrus plays Miley Stewart, a girl living a double-life as a regular teenager and, when she puts on her wig, pop sensation Hannah Montana. The show’s theme song, “The Best of Both Worlds,” was written for the show and speaks specifically to that main storyline. The song is performed in the opening credits by Miley, as Hannah Montana, and was one of only two TV theme songs of the entire decade of the 2000s to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 (with the “iCarly” theme being the other) - climbing as high as 92.

#12: “Survivor” (2000-)

You’re probably all wondering why they didn’t use “Survivor” by Destiny's Child as the show’s theme song right? Well, we can only assume it's because that song was released a year after the show premiered and by then, they were committed to the "Ancient Voices" theme by composer Russ Landau. As they should have been, given that it’s truly one of the best themes on television. We also really like how the standard theme is adjusted slightly for every season to fit with the location of that season’s competition. Like the use of didgeridoos for “Survivor: The Australian Outback.”

#11: “The Office” (2005-13)

Do you remember that show “LAX?” Well, if you don’t, don’t worry about it, it was a mediocre drama starring Heather Locklear and Blair Underwood that lasted just one season in 2004. However, we should all be thankful it aired at all because if it hadn’t, we never would have gotten the awesome theme song for “The Office.” You see, initially showrunner Greg Daniels wanted to use “Mr. Blue Sky” by ELO as the show’s opening track. But “LAX” hit the airwaves prior to “The Office” and they were using “Mr. Blue Sky,” which meant Daniels had to find something else. And that’s when he hired composer James Ferguson to write the theme, which was recorded just a week before the show premiered.

#10: “Friday Night Lights” (2006-11)

Although “Friday Night Lights” was a show about high school kids, it didn’t feel like your typical teen TV show. The documentary filming style gave the series a more mature, less glossy appeal that felt more like an adult drama. An appeal that was even reflected in the opening credits and instrumental theme song composed by W. G. Snuffy Walden. And if that name sounds familiar, it might be because Walden is also responsible for composing the theme music for the great adult drama, “The West Wing.” Another one that would probably have been on this list had it not premiered in 1999.

#9: “Gilmore Girls” (2000-07)

While the “Gilmore Girls” theme song wasn’t written specifically for the show, the version that plays during the opening credits was. The song is an updated version of Carol King’s “Where You Lead” which appeared on her mega-selling 1971 album “Tapestry.” For the show, King recorded a new version of the song with her daughter, which obviously fits wonderfully into the whole mother-daughter thing which “Gilmore Girls” is all about. King had actually stopped singing the song live because she saw it being interpreted as a woman singing to a man - which didn’t sit well with her. However, with the “Gilmore Girls” the song got a new life and, as her daughter said, “a deeper meaning of love between a mother and her child.”

#8: “The Wire” (2002-08)

Although “The Wire” only garnered average ratings during its five-season run, the show has since gained much critical acclaim and regularly finds itself listed among the top television shows of all time. And as more and more people have found the show since it ended its run in 2008, the appreciation for its opening theme song has also grown. The song, “Way Down in the Hole” was written by Tom Waits, and if you want to hear his version, it can be found playing over the season two opening credits. Each season employs a different version of the song by a different artist. This fits perfectly with how the show is structured, as each season focuses on law enforcement’s connection to different urban institutions.

#7: “House” (2004-12)

While many people watching “The Wire” probably weren’t familiar with the Tom Waits song prior to hearing it in the opening credits, that might not be true of those who tuned in each week to watch “House.” Especially if they lived in the U.K. where the song, “Teardrop” by Massive Attack, reached as high as number 10 on the charts. It also featured one of the great music videos of the late 90s with a singing fetus in utero. The music and the main title design play very well together and the song was also used partly because of how the tempo sounds somewhat like a beating heart, which obviously makes sense for a medical drama.

#6: “That's So Raven” (2003-07)

What we have here with “That’s So Raven” is yet another example of a show’s star singing the show’s theme song. And while it might seem a little out of place for those who just remember Raven-Symoné as Olivia on “The Cosby Show,” she's actually been singing since the age of seven and had released two studio albums by the time “That’s So Raven” premiered in 2003. Along with Raven, two other actors from the show, Anneliese van der Pol and Orlando Brown, sing in the chorus and rap in the song respectively.

#5: “The Big Bang Theory” (2007-19)

Given the popularity of “The Big Bang Theory,” the theme song by Barenaked Ladies has become one of the most recognizable TV tunes of the 21st Century. But the series of events that led to the creation of the song, unofficially titled “History of Everything,” shows us how close it was to never happening. Barenaked Ladies are known for improvising during their live shows. Well, one night during a concert in Los Angeles, lead singer Ed Robertson, having recently read a non-fiction book called “Big Bang,” improvised a rap about the origins of the universe. And guess who was in the audience that night? That’s right, “The Big Bang Theory” creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. They called Robertson soon after that.

#4: “The O.C.” (2003-07)

“California” by the band Phantom Planet is probably best known as the catchy, indie rock theme song to “The O.C.” but that isn’t where the song made its debut. The song was one of the singles released off of the band’s 2002 album, “The Guest,” and made its television debut in a December 2002 episode of the short-lived series “Fastlane.” In fact, “The O.C.” wasn’t even the first O.C. that the song featured in, as it can also be found on the soundtrack to the 2002 film “Orange County.” With all that being said, for most of us, the song will always be associated with Ryan Atwood and his time in Southern California.

#3: “Malcolm in the Middle” (2000-06)

There are probably many of you out there who assumed that “Boss of Me” was an older They Might Be Giants song that “Malcolm in the Middle” decided to use as their theme song. So it may surprise you to learn that the band actually wrote the song for the show. And what a great song it is, not to mention how it fits the fun and chaotic tenor of the show almost perfectly. And the Grammy committee agreed, having given them the award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media in 2002. The song even charted in multiple countries, including reaching 21 in the U.K., which is still the band’s second highest-charting single ever over there.

#2: “Mad Men” (2007-15)

The story behind the iconic “Mad Men” theme song begins with Beck saying no. Show creator Matthew Weiner initially wanted to use a Beck song for the opening credits but the man who gave us “Odelay” said no. So, Weiner needed to find something else and he found it while driving and listening to NPR. There was an instrumental track that played going from one story to another and when Weiner heard it he knew that was it. What he didn’t know was that it was an instrumental version of a rap song by Aceyalone with music by DJ RJD2. The producers got the track, took out the mediocre rapping, rearranged the music, and gave us one of the best theme songs of the 2000s.

#1: “One Tree Hill” (2003-12)

Gavin DeGraw wrote “I Don't Want to Be” for his 2003 debut album “Chariot,” but the song really found success after it became the opening theme for the WB’s “One Tree Hill” later that same year. Leading to it becoming a hit on the radio and reaching number 10 on the US charts and eventually hitting certified gold status. The song was so popular that, when it was removed from the opening at the start of season five, the backlash from fans led to them bringing it back in season eight - then sung by a different artist each week.