Hollywood’s Secret Shame of Television Theme Songs

I managed to watch Power Rangers, Hollywood’s latest reboot victim, I mean, project recently and, while it didn’t convert me into a fan, I still enjoyed it for the most part. It did try its best to please the fans of the 90’s children’s action series for the most part and it did show respect to the property for the most part. Why do I say that? Because they did something that no other children shows that got a movie reboot did before. They actually played the theme song from the show! Yes, the Power Rangers reboot thankfully played one of the most kickass theme songs in children’s television history at the most appropriate time. Sure, it wasn’t the theme song of the film but I did appreciate them actually doing it the honor of being played at all.

While I didn’t care all that much for the original show, I will admit, I love the Power Rangers theme song because it has one of the coolest guitar rifts even put together, it’s incredibly repetitive so that it’ll burrow its way into your subconscious after hearing it once and, heck, it does get you pumped up! It’s probably the thing I remember the most about the show actually. In fact, for most people, it’s the theme songs from their favorite shows growing up that they remember. So why does it seem like, whenever Hollywood movie studios gets it in their head that they want to reboot a children’s franchise, they appear to go out of their way to not play the theme song?

It honestly seems like they intentionally don’t play the theme song. Before Power Rangers, there were a ton of cartoons I grew up that got the reboot and live action treatment and they don’t play the theme song, one of the things that made the shows iconic in the first place. What, they got the license for the entire show but the song that comes along with the show? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it?

Take a look at one of the more recent films that got a reboot, 2015’s Jem and the Holograms. Actually, don’t. It’s a terrible film that totally doesn’t capture the spirit of the series as it doesn’t have anything that made the series truly, truly outrageous. No hologram generating supercomputer. No Misfits at all. But you know what was one of the biggest complaints about the Jem live action movie? It didn’t have the theme song! Once again, I may have not watched the Jem cartoon all that much. But I still remember the theme song! Heck, anyone from the 80’s heard the theme song and they may not even have even watched the show once! Yet, the producers of the film simply tried to not play it at all? Now that’s truly, truly, truly outrageous!

And it’s not only Jem that suffered from the lack of 80’s theme song syndrome. The Michael Bay Transformers didn’t have the More Than Meets the Eye theme song. Not even a remix of the iconic song. The GI Joe movies didn’t have the theme song as well. Even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles didn’t include the iconic theme song from the show. And I’m not talking about the recent Michael Bay produced CGI spectacles starring Megan Fox. I also sadly have to include the totally awesome 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film! And I love that movie!

But why doesn’t the exclusion of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song from the 1990 film sting like the other Hollywood remakes? I can’t really say for sure. Maybe because the film manages to capture the overall feel of the show and I guess it doesn’t hurt that the new Turtle Power theme song by Partners in Kryme is pretty good in its own right. Heck, even Vanilla Ice’s Ninja Rap just sounds good as well. Okay, Ninja Rap hasn’t aged all that well. But it’s still much better than the other theme songs we get with out rebooted children’s franchises nowadays!

And, actually, I think that’s why it’s really painful that Hollywood refuses to include the old songs in their new reboots: the new songs just aren’t all that good. The new songs are just so devoid of charm that made the older songs so great. For the life of me, I cannot hum the theme song from the live action Transformers movies. Yet, I can immediately bust out singing songs like “The Touch” and “Dare” by Stan Bush, from the 1986 animated Transformers movies. These are songs that just have a lot of heart and spirit that I can’t ever forget them. And, by golly, that scene where Optimus Prime battles Megatron with The Touch blaring in the background is still as awesome as it was in 1986!

The 1986 Transformers movie still included a remixed version of the iconic theme song as well as the awesome tracks by Stan Bush. And even the animated GI Joe movie gave us a revised version of the theme song from the show… which actually sounds much better than the drab one we hear at the start of the cartoon.

I don’t really know why Hollywood doesn’t include the iconic theme songs that should go with the reboots but I can speculate. It’s possible they want to get current viewers of the reboots to not really think of the original product so they don’t want to play the old tunes. Maybe that the guy who was hired to write the music of the reboots would want to, as much as possible, try to include his own stuff instead of playing something that isn’t his. Maybe it’s as simple as they want to include it but they’re afraid it’ll sound incredibly dated and they don’t really know how to make it sound “hip” for today’s generation.

If it’s the last item, I honestly don’t think they need to touch the old theme songs or try to adapt it to today’s generation. These songs are incredibly memorable and cherished by fans because they’re already good on their own. There’s no need to try to remix it or try to update them in any way. If you’ve heard the Ghostbusters theme song by (shudder) Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliot, you know this is true! And, no. I won’t like the YouTube video of that version. I wouldn’t do that to you! Instead, listen to the awesome 80’s goodness from Ray Parker Jr’s classic Ghostbusters theme song. You’re welcome!

As I don’t see reboots of old shows going away anytime soon, I do hope that Hollywood will eventually show the respect to the properties by trying to be true to the spirit of the show or, at least, try to make a good film based on those nostalgic properties. And, while they’re add it, show a little reverence to the theme songs of those properties in the process.

Do you think reboots should include the original theme songs? Let me know in the comments section below!

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