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Tyler Kloster
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Posted: 31 January 2019 at 8:42pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

The search function showed few threads about the legacy of Star Trek music and no recent ones, so I thought I'd throw this out there for fun. How would you rank the theme music for all the Star Trek tv series to date, from favorite to least favorite?

I'll share my list---I'm including only the live-action series in my list, but please feel free to discuss the animated show's theme music if you wish (I'm just not familiar enough with either the show or the theme). Also, I personally am talking about the music only, not the accompanying visual elements.

Here's my take:

1) VOYAGER---in my opinion, the least of all the Trek shows nevertheless has the best theme music. Majestic and soaring...beautiful job by Jerry Goldsmith.

2) DEEP SPACE NINE---I love both versions, but am partial to the sparser and slower version of the first few seasons over the more "pulsing" one of the later years.

3) THE ORIGINAL SERIES---The original theme is great, although I confess I love Michael Giacchino's adaptation in the reboot movies even more.

4) DISCOVERY---It sure left me cold at first, but it has definitely grown on me, and I've come to like it a lot. The only weakness is the absolutely limp version of the Alexander Courage fanfare at the very end...take it out, and I would probably have the Discovery theme a notch higher.

5) THE NEXT GENERATION---I only put this as low as I do because for me it hurts a little to hear this stripped-down version of the great Goldsmith theme for ST:TMP, which is honestly my favorite Trek theme period. I still like it, but every time I hear it I want to hear that full orchestra instead. Also, I don't like the weird edit of the main melody the show started using after the first season.

6) ENTERPRISE---Ugh. 

What's everyone else's rankings?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 31 January 2019 at 9:21pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

TOS by default, ever and always.

VOYAGER

Uhm.......

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Mike Purdy
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Posted: 31 January 2019 at 10:48pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

1. TOS
2. The rest. 
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 5:50am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I actually found myself humming the Discovery theme recently, which I originally was very disappointed by. Walking over to the piano, I 'worked it out' yesterday... and it really is a very simple thing both harmonically and melodically. That doesn't have to be a bad thing of course, but Voyager,say, is a more impressively constructed piece (and crucially sounds way better).

TOS is obviously the most iconic and memorable, followed by TNG. Just judging purely on how I favour the 'tunes' though:

1. Voyager
2. TNG
3. TOS
4. Discovery
5. DS 9 (more of a fanfare than anything; grand, yes, but I find it too slow, the melody is quite uninteresting and doesn't have much progression).
6. Enterprise



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John Byrne
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 5:59am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Why are so many down on the ENTERPRISE theme? I’m no fan of the show, but I thought the song fit quite well.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 8:03am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I had to re-listen to all but TOS and TNG.Not sure how a virtuoso would rank it but the TOS theme triggers something deep inside me that cannot be overlooked.

1. TOS
2. TNG
3. Voyager
4. Enterprise
5. Discovery- would make a good tv mystery theme.
6. DS 9
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 8:34am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Why are so many down on the ENTERPRISE theme? I’m no fan of the show, but I thought the song fit quite well.
------------------------------------
I found it generic and to my mind a late 90's MOR rock sound is kind of ill-fitting for Star Trek. Beyond that (and I do delve into the realm of bias here), the song wasn't even written for Star Trek,  being recycled from the Robin Williams vehicle Patch Adams, the recycling being further felt in Russell 'the People's Tenor' Watson doing what seems to be an impersonation of Rod Stewart.
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Tyler Kloster
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 8:55am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

What Peter said. 

I can't speak for everyone else who dislikes it, but to me it's MOR schlock, the kind that songwriter Diane Warren is fairly famous for.
 
I think it was Brannon Braga in the book The Fifty-Year Mission who said that they really wanted to use U2's "Beautiful Day", but couldn't afford the rights. That would have been really cool, alas.

I do know that playing the theme music from Perfect Strangers over the Enterprise main titles is pretty fun.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 9:26am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

1) TOS second/third season (yeah, I dig me some soprano.)
2) TOS first season
3) Voyager
4) Enterprise - Empire version
And all the rest...

The animated series theme was a very good hearted try to pseudo-duplicate the TOS theme. I would guess that, somehow, Filmation did not get the rights to the theme (although they got everything else, so I'm baffled at this omission.)


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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 9:30am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Why are so many down on the ENTERPRISE theme? I’m no fan of the show, but I thought the song fit quite well.
+++++++++

I asked the same question when I reviewed ENTERPRISE, some time ago. I understand why people don’t like it, but I think the idea of it—if not necessarily the execution—fits what the show was trying to be.


Oh, and TOS wins. TNG comes close, but, as noted by Tyler, the orchestration pales in comparison to the TMP version. VOYAGER is also quite good, but lacks that instantly-recognizable/iconic theme of the latter two shows. The actual theme doesn’t have that “hummable” quality, despite the overall cue having a lot a majesty to it.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 6:46pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Brannon Braga is quoted in The Fifty-Year Mission as saying, "Those main titles with U2 are amazing. It's hip and cool, whereas the song we ended up with is awful. I'm a big fan of Diane Warren, she's a great songwriter, but this particular song and the way it was sung was tacky. I still cringe when I hear it and, by the way, I think the song had a lot to do with people's adverse reaction to the show. If you look at the main titles themselves, it's a really cool sequence. But the song is awful, just awful."

Mike Sussman, a producer on the show, said, " I was briefly dating a girl who was in the music industry, and she had never seen Star Trek. I turned on Enterprise, and when it got to the opening titles, she literally fell out of her chair laughing at how bad and hokey the song was. So, in our attempts to modernize the show and make it cool, not only did we lose the fans, but we gained the disdain of the people we were hoping to convert."

I, myself, hated that thing from the first time I heard at the party where the pilot went down in flames in front of a roomful of people who all cheered when the show came on and left bitter, saddened, and disappointed. "Faith of the Heart?" Really? As opposed to what? The faith of some other internal organ? Faith of the pancreas perhaps? How does "faith of the heart" differ from simple faith? What does that moronic addition to the word "faith" net us? That song sucked over the end credits of the sappy "Patch Adams" and got no better when plastered over the front of ENTERPRISE. 

I do kind of want to find a stripped-down, up-tempo version of it somewhere, though, and put it over footage of Charles Napier's performances from "The Way To Eden." That would work, I think.

Bonus "Way To Eden" joke: What do you get when you cross a sword and a guitar? A Scimi-Tar! (By the way, I'm pretty sure Adam was rocking a Les T'Pol rather than the Fender Stratosdweller as is commonly believed...) 

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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 6:58pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I feel awful for saying this, especially being the guy who regards TOS as The One True Star Trek, but I hate the theme tune. Never liked it. Even when I watched the show as a kid I wondered why the series had a theme that seemed better suited to a romantic comedy than a serious Science Fiction series. Lar-lar, lah-la-la-lal-larrr... nope, sorry. I completely understand why TNG nabbed the TMP theme instead.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 7:38pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Brannon Braga is quoted in The Fifty-Year Mission as saying, "Those main titles with U2 are amazing. It's hip and cool, whereas the song we ended up with is awful. I'm a big fan of Diane Warren, she's a great songwriter, but this particular song and the way it was sung was tacky. I still cringe when I hear it and, by the way, I think the song had a lot to do with people's adverse reaction to the show. If you look at the main titles themselves, it's a really cool sequence. But the song is awful, just awful."
++++++++++++

Coincidentally, I recently stumbled onto a relatively new Podcast--INGLORIOUS TREKSPERTS, hosted by Mark A. Altman (co-author of THE FIFTY-YEAR MISSION) and Daren Dochterman. I'm totally hooked. It's great. They often have guest-hosts who have worked on TREK in its various iterations, and they geek out on plenty of topics. Their discussion topics tend to skew toward TOS, but the other iterations also get plenty of coverage.

Anyway, I listened to their excellent ENTERPRISE retrospective, the other day, and the origins of the song were discussed, so this is all fresh in my mind.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 7:44pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I feel awful for saying this, especially being the guy who regards TOS as The One True Star Trek, but I hate the theme tune. Never liked it. Even when I watched the show as a kid I wondered why the series had a theme that seemed better suited to a romantic comedy than a serious Science Fiction series. Lar-lar, lah-la-la-lal-larrr... nope, sorry.
++++++++++++

It should be noted that the Enterprise fanfare which precedes the actual theme tune is probably the most well-known piece of TREK music. Arguably, THAT'S the iconic music from the show, especially since it was carried over into (some of) the movies and TNG.

The actual TOS theme tune appears just a handful of times across the movies, and didn't appear at all in TNG. It really wasn't until Michael Giacchino went with a big, sweeping version for the end credits of the first AbramsTREK film that it was used in a significant way, post-TOS.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 7:47pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

...and Leonard Rosenman initially was going to use the TOS theme for the main titles of THE VOYAGE HOME:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9RrEZEArOw
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 7:58pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I think we can all agree though that the TOS theme with Roddenberry’s lyrics would have been awful.
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 9:06pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I always liked the ENTERPRISE opening scene and theme because they were trying something new. I still remember the pilot episode, watching it with my friend. As soon as the opening music started playing, he got up and left. Surprised, I asked him what he was doing. He stated this is is not Star Trek since ST does not have words in their opening theme and refused to watch the rest of the show. As far as I know, he never watched an episode. 
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Tyler Kloster
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 9:09pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

I might be remembering wrong, but I think I recall reading that Roddenberry only wrote the lyrics so that he would get half of the royalties for the composition, even if they were never intended to be used.

I do remember for sure that Mike Barr sneaked them into an early issue of DC's first Star Trek series as a song that Sulu and Uhura are singing during some down time. I never would have known except it was pointed out by an alert fan in a letter column a few months later.
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Tyler Kloster
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 9:22pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

For anyone who's interested, here's one fan version of the Enterprise credits with "Beautiful Day":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TaI_cX08gc

It sure sounds and looks great, although it's not a good fit lyrically for the most part. 
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Tyler Kloster
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 9:24pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

And also with the Perfect Strangers theme, which is weirdly awesome...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P4IlgtwHmA
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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 9:25pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Has there ever been a fan-edit or something similar of 'Beautiful Day' over the ENTERPRISE opening sequence? I'm curious how it would have been edited for the 45-60 seconds that theme songs usually take up, or how it would have been arranged over the final credits.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 01 February 2019 at 9:39pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

...the PERFECT STRANGERS version may...may actually be the best one...!
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