The 50 Greatest Superhero TV Theme Songs of All Time: #11-20

October 22, 2015 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

50 Greatest Superhero TV Theme Songs of All Time

We’re getting so close I can taste it — and it tastes like…spinach?!? It’s the penultimate chunk of the 50 GREATEST SUPERHERO TV THEME SONGS OF ALL TIME!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

20. SMALLVILLE

2001-2011

“Save Me” appeared on the Remy Zero album The Golden Hum, released around the same time as the Smallville premiere — and it was a perfect fit. All jangly guitars and pleading lyrics, “Save Me” not only spoke of those looking to be rescued by (not yet) Superman, but of Clark himself, in his constant quest for love, acceptance, and the deets on his alien heritage.

Fun fact: This is the only song on the list not written specifically for the show it was on. A few other faves featuring pre-existing songs that didn’t make the cut: “How Soon Is Now?” a Smiths cover by Love Spit Love from Charmed; “Echoes” by The Rapture from Misfits; “Short Skirt, Long Jacket” by Cake from Chuck.

.

19. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES*

1987-1996

In 1984, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debuted as an independent (and rather dark) comic book. A mere three years later, the Turtles went mainstream with an animated makeover, eventually taking over the world. Though the characters (and theme song) have been tweaked through numerous TV series, films, and video games, the fun and irreverence remain. As does the ear-wormy catchphrase, “Heroes in a half-shell. Turtle Power!”
.

18. THUNDERCATS

1985-1989

Kind of like He-Man in catsuits, but with cooler animation. And a much cooler theme song. Thunder-thunder-thunder-thunder-CATS! HOOOOO!

Fun fact: ThunderCats was produced by Rankin/Bass, best known for their animated holiday specials based on songs, particularly Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.
.

17. BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES

1992-1995

So yeah, this is a retooled version of Danny Elfman’s 1989 Batman movie theme; but in my opinion, retooled for the better. Paired with Bruce Timm’s breathtaking, noir-ish animation, it sets the tone for arguably the best animated superhero TV show of all time.
.

16. SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN

1973-1978

This isn’t so much a song as a mashup of sound effects, narration, and video clips telling the title character’s origin story. It may not be catchy, but it’s exciting, suspenseful, and a little bit creepy — so yeah, kinda perfect.

Fun fact: Before it became a regular program, SMDM appeared as two TV movies that featured an actual theme song, sung by Dusty Springfield. I love me some Dusty, but I’m really glad they went another direction for the series.
.

15. MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS*

1993-1995

“GO, GO, POWER RANGERS!” The amped-up call to action that started the 1993 series that’s still go-going today. The Rangers (and their theme songs) have continued to morph over the years — from Alien to Zeo, Time Force to Wild Force, Turbo to RPM (and Dino Thunder, Ninja Storm, Samurai, Megaforce… holy crap, will it ever end?!) Yet the original still stands above the others, pumping up a never-ending supply of hyperactive 5-year-old fans.
.

14. INCREDIBLE HULK*

1977-1982

The Hulk is all about duality — man vs. monster, intelligence vs. brute strength, sensible corduroy blazers vs. ripped-to-shreds jeans short. So it’s fitting that the show features two incredible theme songs. The opening music and narration perfectly captures Incredible Hulk’s mixture of sci-fi, suspense, and action. Then the haunting piano of “Lonely Man” bookends each episode, as Banner is once again forced into isolation, hitchhiking through life in his constant quest for new pants a cure.

Fun fact: Don’t make him angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
.

13. UNDERDOG

1964-1973

Simultaneously epic and silly, the Underdog theme song sets off nostalgic fits of both giggles and goosebumps. “Speed of lightning, power of thunder, fighting all who rob or plunder. Underdog. Underdog! UDNERDOG!”

Fun fact: W. Watts Biggers, co-creator of the Underdog show and theme song, also co-wrote the theme for another canine superhero, Hong Kong Phooey.

Funner fact: The Butthole Surfers did a cover of “Underdog” for the 1995 compilation, Saturday Morning: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits. It also contains covers of 4 other songs from this list.
.

12. THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO

1981-1983

I never liked this show much, even as a kid. Riding clumsily on the coattails of successful live-action heroes like Superman and Hulk, The Greatest American Hero was about a regular dude becoming a super-powered one. While it might have made superheroing more relatable to some, this hardcore comics fan just found it silly. Yet there’s no denying the popularity (or catchiness) of the theme song. “Believe It Or Not” spent 18 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981, peaking at #2.
.

11. POPEYE THE SAILOR

1960-1962

Is Popeye a superhero? A squinty sailor eats spinach and grows frighteningly large forearms, shoots steam out of his pipe, then saves his girl by kicking the crap out of a dude three times his size — sounds pretty superhero-y to me.

Fun fact: “Popeye the Sailor Man” opened the first Popeye cartoon in 1933, nearly a decade before TVs became regular fixtures in American homes. So technically, it didn’t originate as a TV theme. However, I doubt anyone old enough to remember that will be reading this list, so I’m keeping it..
.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Will your favorite be in the Top 10? Check out the final installment!

THE REST OF THE LIST:

1-10      21-30      31-40   ★   41-50

.
I’ve also set up a YouTube Playlist, where you can feel nostalgic, get super-charged, and curse my name for not including your faves.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

*These titles currently available for streaming on Netflix. Designer Daddy is a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam.

For more pop culture & parenting fun, visit and like Designer Daddy on Facebook!

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

comments

Leave a Comment (watch your language)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *