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No Theme Tune

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For many years, it was very rare for a show to have no theme tune whatsoever. However, in recent years (beginning in the 1990s for some), an increasing number of productions, especially TV series and films, have chosen to forgo a proper theme tune.

In the case of TV series, this is due to increased commercial time reducing the amount of available storytelling time; therefore, an opening credits sequence lasting 2 minutes with a full-fledged theme playing every week takes away from valuable storytelling time. Examples include Lost, Heroes, Supernatural, Invasion, Surface, Threshold and 2 Broke Girls. As for films, the recent trend - especially with sci-fi and fantasy films - has been to not have any credits or theme music, and sometimes not even an on-screen title, until the end of the picture. Some anime series have left out the OP in the first or last episode (or both).

See also Special Edition Title. Usually overlaps with Title-Only Opening, though they are not mutually inclusive—it's possible for a show to have a theme tune that isn't in the opening (but instead used as the Ending Theme) or a longer opening that doesn't have music.


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  • In modern anime (especially during the 2010s), it's often common for shows to not include the opening in the first episode and/or in the last episode of the series and/or of the season. Although sometimes, the opening plays in the end of the episode in place of the normal ending.
  • There is no opening theme in Armored Troopers J-Pheonix PF Lips Team, just the logo in front of a screen of static for one second before the show begins.
  • Episode 1 of Popotan, although we do see some flashy subtitles of various people who worked on it as it begins.
  • TV airings of the 2004 Italian redub of Mobile Suit Gundam have no theme song as requested from Yoshiyuki Tomino himself, just some seconds of low, ominous sound and then the sound effect of a Beam Rifle shooting.
  • There were some episodes in the broadcast of Puella Magi Madoka Magica that closed with credits rolling over the screen and opened without the series opening. The DVD and Blu-ray releases did change this up by adding two new themes.
  • An example similar to Madoka Magica happens with the Love Live! franchise. Whenever an episode is going to end with the idols doing a live, the closing credits play over the last scene rather than that season's ending theme showing up on that episode.
  • Most episodes of the second season of Re:Zero skips over the opening (and sometimes the ending) entirely with only a few of them (episodes 2, 5, 8, 19, 21) actually having one.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Until the 1980s, network newscasts in the U.S. had no opening theme songs. Then each network started using its own bombastic fanfare (NBC's was written by John Williams). Some consider this the point where newscasts started becoming more entertainment than news.

  • The title for 24 is the number 24 blinking into view on a digital display with sound effects, followed by a rundown of the plot thus far composed of clips from previous episodes. (There actually is a 24 theme that was used in the beginning of the pilot and serves as a sort of leitmotif throughout the entire series' score.)
  • 60 Minutes. But the ticking stopwatch is sufficiently iconic, it seems.
  • Being Human usually just slips the Title Card in when it's reached an appropriate point.
  • Billy, a short-lived Spin-Off of Head of the Class starring Billy Connolly, did not have an actual theme tune, only a narration explaining that Billy lost his teaching job and then his Visa expired so he had to move to another state and temporarily marry a friend of his.
  • Breaking Bad has a title sequence that lasts about five seconds, consisting mostly of an animated title card accompanied by a short musical clip.
  • Burn Notice uses an Opening Monologue.
  • Castle has a sort of introductory musical sting, but no real theme. The credits play over the first act.
  • Columbo was the only mystery movie element to get by without a theme tune (the end credits for each episode usually featured music from that story's score; not until the '90s installments did Universal try — and fail — to have "This Old Man" as a theme).
  • Conversed in Community: when Abed is asked about the world by a man who's hidden underground since the 70s, one of the few things he says is that they never give time for opening credits in TV shows anymore.
  • Doctor Who normally has its very iconic theme music. However, two episodes "Sleep No More" and "The Woman Who Fell to Earth" don't have the Title Sequence and with it, the theme music. The former is a Found Footage episode, while the latter episode has the theme tune (which was a brand-new arrangement being heard for the first time) over the closing credits.
  • The later seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond didn't have an intro sequence; they would just superimpose the title of the show over the action, already in progress.
  • Glee, interestingly, has no theme song, despite being a musical show. Just the title in lowercase on a black background with the crescendo of the music from the previous scene over it. Once, it was Mr. Shuester's license plate, despite being done normally later in the episode.
  • Grey's Anatomy, which once had a theme tune by Psapp, no longer has a theme tune, instead showing the white background with the title in black show up for a few musical blips from the former theme.
  • Surreal/downright weird UK comedy series Jam had no theme, only a bizarre monologue from creator Chris Morris, always ending in "Then Welcome... In Jaaaam".
  • Jericho (2006) shows the show's name with the sound of a radio tuning amid static. With brief messages given in Morse code.
  • "Kamen Rider Ex-Aid" usually has an opening as all the other Kamen Rider series do. This stops with #15 when Pallad becomes Kamen Rider Para-DX. The theme tune becomes ending theme and the opening itself is changed to a Title Card with sound effect. It stays so until #25 when Kamen Rider Chronicle is complete. New opening is used, reflecting the changing story.
  • Lost has no distinct theme song, just some sound effects and a few notes playing over a flying graphic of the show's title. The Soundtrack credits this piece to J.J. Abrams.
  • The only music in The Middle aside from Musical Nods is the random stingers.
  • Murphy Brown did not have a consistent theme, but would frequently open with a Motown song in which the lyrics would be relevant to the events of the episode. However, "Rescue Me" is the "official" theme song.
    • Though, funnily enough, the show did have a theme tune for the Closing Credits, written by Stephen Dorff. When Faith Ford came on The Tonight Show the closing theme was used as her walk-on music (since the show didn't have an opening theme), which initially perplexed Ford since she didn't immediately recognize it.
  • The second season of My Name Is Earl has taken to just using the final chord from the original theme tune with the final shot of the original opening sequence, with Jason Lee (who plays Earl) saying in voiceover, "My name is Earl."
  • My Wife and Kids would jump right into the episode, with the title of the show and a short musical sting that changed frequently.
  • One of the earliest examples is Pearl, the opening credits of which consisted of a hand writing the show's name on a chalkboard, with no other sound audible.
  • The Britcom Porridge, set in a prison, is unusual in having no opening theme. Instead the opening title shows a montage of prison cell doors banging shut, accompanied by the voice of the judge (voiced by Ronnie Barker) passing sentence on prisoner Norman Stanley Fletcher (played by Ronnie Barker).
  • The Aussie cop drama Scales of Justice didn't have a theme tune... because it couldn't afford one (article from The Age).
  • Rookie Blue has a title sequence (a brief clip panning over Toronto's skyline with the name of the show superimposed), but plays a different song over it for every episode.
  • Seinfeld also had no real theme song, only the music stings heard at the beginning and throughout any given episode. Although it was used in the ending credits, this song is considered the "theme song" of the show (the musical stings are basically snippets and variations of it).
  • Sisters, at least for the first two seasons. John Debney added a theme starting in season 3.
  • Both Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis originally had cool orchestral theme tunes, for the ninth and second seasons respectively this was done away with in favour of a very short snippet of if in front of the show's name. After Fan Outcry the theme tunes were very quickly restored. However, Stargate Universe goes the Lost route of just having a brief music sting over the show's name.
  • As noted in the trope description, Supernatural. The title is thrown up on the screen and a short sound plays, differing between seasons.
    • Fans looking to plump for the closing theme instead first have to pick which one, as the show alternated between two different closing themes depending on who was the music director that week.
  • The Thick of It doesn't have a theme tune...or any music, really. The show flashes a title card on screen and gets on its way.
  • While Million Dollar Extreme Presents World Peace consistently has an intro, it is very short, and changes from episode to episode.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • When the New Age Outlaws started teaming in WWE, one thing that made them stand out from the other wrestlers were their lack of an entrance theme. The only thing heard as they walked to the ring was Road Dogg talking trash about their opponents. They got a theme after a few months though.
  • When R-Truth turned heel and lost his mind in 2011, his entrance was proceeded by his then-new catchphrase "The Truth Will Set You Free" and nothing else. His former rap theme would not be heard again until he formed the Awesome Truth with The Miz.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons opens with a voiceover followed by gunshots and a vaguely comic sound of someone getting shot offscreen. The nearest thing to a theme tune was in the end credits. There was a musical "sting" and harp glissando at the beginning of the title intro, followed by quiet electronic tones not unlike the "Mysteron" theme used in the episodes, over the stalk through the alley. Not to mention the drum-beat scene-change to the episode beginning.

  • The Goon Show is an unusual example of a Radio comedy show with no opening theme. After the opening announcement ("This is the BBC Light Programme") the show launches straight into this week's absurd plot. The show did have a variety of closing themes over the years, though.

  • Most Broadway musicals begin with an overture, a song or at least a few bars of opening music. Lady in the Dark begins with no music whatsoever.

    Video Games 
  • The first Mega Man game features no music at all to complement its title screen.
    • Many other early NES games (Golf, Super Mario Brothers, 1942, etc.) also have no title screen music.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Secret Mountain Fort Awesome doesn't have one either, just a title card accompanied by a yell.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head only has a jingle that plays during the title cards.
  • Centaurworld has no title sequence.
  • Likewise, Home Movies only has the title and a very short piece before the episode.
  • Ugly Americans just has a title card with some sounds played along.
  • Dan Vs. only has Dan angrily shouting the episode's title (occasionally his problem that usually sets up the episode).
  • The fifth season of Samurai Jack uses a narration-only opening instead of music, though the ending still has the old theme (which was both the beginning and end in the original run).
  • The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper usually just has the show's logo followed by the title of the first short. There is, however, a more proper opening which shows Casper peeking out of said logo (colored red instead of the blue coloring used in the actual episodes) but even this barely lasts 10 seconds.
  • Regular Show begins with a single synth note, with the actual theme song being played during the end credits.
  • A strange example on the PBS Kids Sprout On Demand versions of Dragon Tales. While the show does have an intro on most broadcasts and the Netflix and DVD releases, this version of the show omitted it entirely, instead beginning the show from the first segment of the episode. Sometimes, the actual airings of the show on Sprout omitted the theme song as well, usually to make room for the host segments of the various programming blocks the channel had.