Monday, November 9, 2015

Character Insight No. 167: What's in a Theme?

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe.  An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here. 


Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, we take a look forward to the newly-announced Star Trek TV series with an investigation on what we want in a theme song. 

(The opening of the TNG theme credits)

Everybody has an opinion on theme music, but it seems that most Trek fans can agree on some things they like and some things they dislike about theme music. Especially when you are generally stuck with theme music for many years, it can be critical to set the mood and make you excited for this week's adventure in space. This has proven to be just as much a character of the show as the actors themselves!

Here's my own personal ranking of the theme songs.

1. The Next Generation

Yes, I know it's kind of a cheat because they stole it from The Motion Picture, but this update to the classic theme has just enough bombastic to get you geared up for excitement while still having the majestic quality of orchestral music as well.

2. Voyager

The middle of such a list is where most people will make personal choices, and I personally like Voyager's theme because it has a light, uplifting feeling that fits Star Trek better than darker toned themes, in my view. Not as exciting as TNG, however.

3. The Original Series

This has the sounds of 60's lounge music, which is kind of cheesy, but it is also iconic. It set the standard for no lyrics and letting the theme song stand on its own, which is critical as we will see.

4. Deep Space Nine

I find this to be too flat in places, which doesn't make me want to jump into the next episode like the songs above it on my list. It is calm and majestic, like the Deep Space Nine station...OK maybe not.

5. Enterprise

I've got faith to believe...that it doesn't matter which version you pick, this is just an awful choice with lyrics that don't make sense for the show, but at least it wasn't boy bands...I guess we can say that.

So what can we take from all this? It seems that having a piece of music with no lyrics is an absolute must, and I would personally prefer a bombastic exciting piece of music. However, it could fit the times like the TOS theme and bring in more modern stylings, perhaps a mix of styles like the Metallica S&M album (adding a guitar and bass, or maybe elements of hip hop rhythm with an orchestra leads to unique and good sounding results).

What would you want in the next theme song for Star Trek in 2017? Regardless of how it comes out, at least it's unlikely that we can do worse than Enterprise.

Until next time, keep your lyrics and your boy bands out of my Star Trek.


Feedback can be sent to me with future segment suggestions on Twitter @BuckeyeFitzy. Until next time, live long and prosper..

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