Follow TV Tropes


Replaced the Theme Tune

Go To

A self-explanatory trope: a show completely replaces its Theme Tune at some point within its run. There are several likely reasons: music licensing issues, an overall change in tone that would make the original theme Soundtrack Dissonance, or just a way of freshening things up if the show is a Long Runner.

Compare Rearrange the Song. When the theme-tune is replaced by a song written elsewhere in the series, it is a Bootstrapped Theme. Related to Credits Jukebox.


    open/close all folders 

  • This is normal for modern anime. Two-cour series will typically get a new OP and/or ED somewhere around episode 13. Long-Runners will switch them less frequently. Oddly named sequels will always have new themes.
  • Death Note had two themes. The first theme was "The World" by Nightmare, and the second was "What's Up, People?!" by Maximum the Hormone.
  • Taken to extremes in the second cour of Penguindrum where a different end theme was used in almost every episode.
  • Sailor Moon had "Moonlight Densetsu" as its theme song for the first four seasons before changing it to "Sailor Star Song" for the fifth and final season.
  • Pokémon: The Series changes its theme every season for both the English and Japanese dubs. Both regions have reused their respective original theme at least once however.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! does this with the Japanese version, but the English dub by 4Kids has two variations of the same theme.
    • The English dubs of some of the subsequent series (such as GX and 5Ds) introduce one new theme song per series, but the same theme is retained throughout a series' run.
    • The English dub for Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL changed its theme completely for season 2.
  • Averted with Tokyo Mew Mew.
  • Over the course of its two-season run, Code Geass changed the opening theme five times.
  • Lupin III shifted the opening of each of its series from time to time, and the movies change it up as well. Lupin III: Part II used four distinctly different versions of the famous Lupin theme throughout its three-year run.
  • Gatchaman interestingly replaced its opening theme, with the ending theme (and vice versa) around episode 20. The "new" opening is much better known than the original (which had a children's chorus in a fairly hard-boiled spies and superheroes show).
  • The Gundam franchise mostly follows this to a T bar a few exceptions: all the shows from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam to ∀ Gundam had two different openings which would change around the halfway mark of the show (the only exceptions to this were Turn A Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing which debut their second openings pretty late, both at Episode 41 of the respective show) and shows starting from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED would have 4 openings that would change roughly every 13 episodes or so (the exception to this was Gundam: Reconguista in G which was a two-cour anime so it only had two openings).
  • Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball GT had one theme tune each, while Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super switched to a new song when beginning their final arcs.
  • Oddly subverted for anime based on Yoshihiro Togashi's works. Both YuYu Hakusho and the 2011 version of Hunter × Hunter OPs stayed the same ("Smile Bomb" and "Departure" respectfully) with only the visuals really changing to reflect the current story arc. Played straight with the EDs which used different songs.
    • The 1999 version of Hunter x Hunter likewise played the trope straight.
  • The Pretty Rhythm anime franchise tends to do this every thirteen episodes to both the opening and ending theme.
  • Hello Kitty's Paradise used two different openings. The first one, Kitty's Paradise, appeared on the television broadcast, while home video releases of the show used the insert song In A Balloon as the opening theme.
  • Disney decided to dub the remaining Digimon movies that had stayed in Japan. When it came to dubbing the 02 movie and both Tamers movies, however, they didn't have the rights to "Digimon are the Champions" as their theme, as the first three seasons were dubbed for Fox Kids before Disney acquired the rights to the franchise. Instead, they had to use the Digimon Frontier theme (and associated score, for that matter) across all four movies.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, being the only season of Lyrical Nanoha to run for more than one cour, changed it's opening and ending for episode 18 as a follow-up to the Wham Episode.
  • Tamagotchi does this seven times, in fact. For the first 73 episodes, the song "GO-GO! Tamagotchi" was used for the theme song, with a few variations being used within that period. Starting from episode 74, it was replaced by "Like & Peace!"; from episode 99 it was "Kirakira Everyday"; from episode 123 it was "I★my★me★mine!"; in the first season of Yume Kira Dream it was "Doremi Fasorairo", and from the second season it was "Rock 'N' Heart!"; in Miracle Friends it was "Miracle☆Travel"; and then it finally returned to "GO-GO! Tamagotchi" in GO-GO Tamagotchi!. The end credits theme got changed a lot too.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura had three different OPs - "Catch You Catch Me", "Tobira wo Akete", and "Platinum". It also had three EDs — "Groovy", "Honey", and "Fruits Candy".

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: The original theme song, "Happily Flying Forward", is replaced in Season 9 with a new song called "Flying Over the Rainbow". This song was itself replaced in Season 10 with "Dreamland". The Magical Lab and City of Mystery mini-seasons both have unique theme songs of their own as well.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: All the seasons following the first few, with a couple of exceptions, use theme songs besides the classic "Don't Think I'm Only a Goat", with said song being relegated to an Ending Theme most of the time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Bill used several different variations of the original 1984 theme tune, often rearranged to keep up with modern trends, until the series' last season in 2009/2010 whereupon during the show's final retool it got brand new opening and closing themes.
  • Wheel of Fortune used an Alan Thicke tune called "Big Wheels" until 1983, when it was ousted for the show's most iconic theme, "Changing Keys", composed by show creator Merv Griffin. "Changing Keys" was re-orchestrated several times in 1989, 1992, 1994 and 1997 (with Merv having little to no hand in the last two remixes) until the theme was finally retired in 2000 for "Happy Wheels" by Steve Kaplan, with THAT theme reorchestrated in 2002 by Kaplan and 2006 by Frankie Blue and John Hoke (after Kaplan's untimely death)... and THEN changed out in 2017 for an unnamed, rather-generic theme by Hoke, only for the iconic "Changing Keys" to return in late 2021, this time done up by Bleeding Fingers Music, to the fandom's surprise.
  • The Joker's Wild started out with Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley's synth theme "The Savers". Over time, the show changed themes like crazy: a Suspiciously Similar Song version composed by Alan Thicke titled "Joker's Jive", a re-orchestration of "The Savers" by Hal Hidey, a new theme composed by Hidey (which was always the closing theme), and even another Perry and Kingsley song for a very short time. What's more, Barry and Enright also stole the theme from Break the Bank for a tournament of champions.
  • Lingo used a short, looped "game show"-y music in seasons 1 and 2 (actually a remix of the Dutch version's theme), and a completely different rock theme from Season 3 onward.
    • The complete opposite could be said for the Dutch version. There the "game show"-y tune replaced a rock theme.
  • The Drew Carey Show: The first season had Drew's cover of Robert McGuire's "Moon over Parma". The second season switched it to "Five O'Clock World" by the Vogues. The third season switched it again, to a cover of "Cleveland Rocks" by The Presidents of the United States of America, which would be used up through season 7. The last two seasons rotated through all three of these themes, with several different versions of each.
  • The Unit. First "Fired Up", then a different tune by the same guy (perhaps because "Fired Up" was adapted from a Marine Corps cadence and therefore not a good choice for an Army-based show).
  • In season 4, Big Love changed from "God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys to "Home" by Engineers.
  • Each season of the S Club 7 TV series had a different song as its opening theme. Miami 7 had "Bring It All Back", LA 7 had "Reach", Hollywood 7 had "You" and Viva S Club had "Alive".
  • The original V changed its theme tune a number of times during its run.
  • Auf Wiedersehen, Pet deliberately changed its opening and closing themes for each new series or special.
  • Space: 1999 got a new composer as part of a general makeover when Fred Frieberger took over as producer in season two.
  • The Avengers (1960s) originally had a theme tune by Johnny Dankworth. It also underwent a complete makeover when production was switched from videotape to film, simultaneous with Diana Rigg's arrival, resulting in the more familiar Laurie Johnson theme.
  • The change of Monk's theme tune is notable as it was implicitly referenced in-show during the season 2 episode "Mr. Monk and the TV Star", at a Breaking the Fourth Wall moment.
  • The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss does this in Season 2.
  • The Sunny Side Up Show did this in late 2013, replacing "Brand New Day" with "Chica's Here."
  • Babylon 5 made a point of deliberately doing this every season, to reflect the changing mood of the show. The second season theme was a souped-up revamp of the first season theme, the third season theme kept the same musical style but was a different and much darker piece altogether, the fourth season theme combined elements of the season two and season three themes into a bombastic, militaristic take on the original theme, and the season five theme was something completely different again but with thematic elements of all the earlier themes. The TV movies and The Lost Tales likewise had their own themes that copied stylistic elements of the main Babylon 5 themes but were themselves original pieces.
  • Happy Days used a specially recorded version of "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets as its theme tune in its first season, then changed over to a "Days of the Week" Song specially written for the show. (This was a case of promoting from within, as the song had been featured over the closing credits in the first season.)
  • The Partridge Family: went from "When We're Singing" in season 1 to a similar-sounding but different song, "C'mon, Get Happy".
  • Chuck went through several incarnations before settling on "Short Skirt Long Jacket".
  • White Collar had a new theme for season 3. Which they changed back to the old theme a few episodes in.
  • Farscape changed its theme tune between seasons 2 and 3, though like Babylon 5 it kept the same musical style and motifs, just switching the more mysterious first theme out for a darker, more militaristic theme to match the changing mood of the show.
  • During its run on ABC, Password changed its set and theme tune for the transition to Password All-Stars. Robert Israel's synthesized theme "For The Fun Of It" was replaced by Bob Cobert's "Bicentennial Funk".
    • On CBS, Password had "Holiday Jaunt" as its first theme. In 1963, it was replaced with Bob Cobert's "You Know The Password."
  • Magnum, P.I. had a different theme song for its first year, before switching to the more familar Mike Post/Pete Carpenter tune for the second season premiere. (Nowadays the Post/Carpenter theme has been affixed to season one episodes as well.)
  • Only Fools and Horses started with this for its first series and Christmas special. Most repeats and DVD releases of the first series nowadays replace it with the more familiar opening theme introduced in series two, though the 1981 Christmas special still opens with the original tune when repeated on GOLD.
  • Simon & Simon went from a bouncy theme with lyrics from the first season to a more traditionally 80s detective series theme for the rest of the run.
  • Hardcastle and McCormick started out with the hard pounding theme "Drive". For part of the second season, this was changed to the theme "Back to Back" which emphasized the friendship of the two title characters. "Drive" returned in Season 3.
  • Remington Steele's first season featured the tune "Laura's Theme" as Stephanie Zimbalist explained the series premise. The second season introduced a theme based on a small bit of incidental music that played as Remington would say something like "God I'm good!" after Laura explained how the case was solved.
  • Licencing issues forced the removal of the cover version of "My Life" from Bosom Buddies reruns, while certain public domain episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza, The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Andy Griffith Show air on smaller stations without their famous themes.
  • Boy Meets World had a different Instrumental Theme Tune each season for seasons 1-4. Season 5 introduced a Title Theme Tune that stayed through to the end.
  • The Nightly Business Report has had four different theme tunes in its 30+ years on air, all were produced by Edd Kalehoff.
  • Red Dwarf switched from a 2001: A Space Odyssey-style opening theme to an instrumental based off the end credits theme in the third season, as the original theme was too sombre for a sci-fi sitcom. When those seasons were digitally remastered, they had a new opening theme that combined both themes.
  • The 1998-2004 version of The Hollywood Squares used its own song "I Love Hollywood," sung by none other than Whoopi Goldberg, from 1998-2002. Afterward, it switched to "Hollywood Square Biz," Teena Marie's 1981 single "Square Biz" with new lyrics.
  • That's My Mama went from a bombastic sax-and-bass-based funk instrumental composed by the producers of its first season to a softer, smoother piano-and-synth based gospel and soul Title Theme Tune with music and lyrics by Lamont Dozier (alongside a change in production team and an overhauled title sequence to match) for its half-in-length second season.
  • In the first few episodes of Family Matters, the theme song was Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World". It was quickly dropped in place for an original theme, "As Days Go By".
  • Starsky & Hutch initially had a theme by Lalo Schifrin edited from his climax cue for the pilot (link includes the pilot end credits); this was subsequently replaced for season two by the most famous one by Tom Scott, which in turn was replaced in the third season by a theme by Mark Snow, which got replaced itself in the final season by Scott's theme in another arrangement.
  • Project UFO used a military-sounding march as the basis for its first season theme song, but switched to a more generic tune that might have fit any number of '70s action-adventure shows. Which was probably intentional, as the second season opening as a whole gives off a (somewhat misleading, as the show was really more of a "military procedural") science-fiction action-adventure vibe.
  • Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters changed its theme tune in the 28th episode as part of a Retool. No previous Super Sentai had previously done this, although Gekisou Sentai Carranger did Rearrange the Song.
  • Two series deserve mention for averting this trope not over the course of three or four years, but going on half a century: the British series Coronation Street (debuted 1960) and Doctor Who (debuted 1963) have introduced new arrangements of their original themes from time to time, but have never replaced them with new compositions.
  • The original version of The Price Is Right (1956-65) first had "Sixth Finger Tune" (from a show called Six Fingers For A Five-Fingered Glove) as its theme. In 1961, it was replaced with Bob Cobert's "Window Shopping." In turn, "Window Shopping" was the first theme to the 1967 Goodson-Todman game Snap Judgment. A year later, it was replaced with an original Score Productions theme.
  • To Tell the Truth had three themes during its original CBS run. From 1956 to 1962 it used "Peter Pan" (also known as "Nothing But The Truth"), followed by Bob Cobert's theme to 1967, and a Score Productions arrangement to its 1968 finale.
  • The original NBC edition of Match Game (1962-69) used Bert Kaempfert's "A Swingin' Safari" as its theme up until 1968 when it was replaced with a Score Productions theme.
  • The 1966 NBC game show Eye Guess had Al Hirt's "Sugar Lips" as its theme up until 1968, when it was replaced with a Bob Cobert piece. Cobert's composition would be reused in 1971 on Three on a Match.
  • The first, black-and-white season of I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1966) used a jazz piece by Richard Wess that only a few can recognize. When it switched to color, Hugo Montenegro's more familiar jazz-pop theme replaced it.
  • For the third and final season of Lost in Space, its original theme was replaced, along with the visual design, with a livelier, more memorable theme by the same composer, Johnny Williams (later known as superstar film composer John Williams). And in fact it was almost replaced in season two by a piece by Warren Barker, but the Barker track was never heard on the show.
    • Irwin Allen had a serious case of Replaced the Theme Tune through the 1960s;
      • Jerry Goldsmith scored the season two premiere of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and wrote a new theme that was only heard on that episode (the usual Paul Sawtell theme returned the following week and was never replaced again).
      • Land of the Giants had a different Johnny Williams theme for each of its two seasons (meaning it had four themes, as the first Williams theme replaced two thrown-out efforts by Alexander Courage and [Joseph] Mullendore).
      • Averted with The Time Tunnel, probably because it only lasted for one season.
    • Going back to Williams, Kraft Suspense Theatre was another series where he composed both themes.
  • The sci-fi/fantasy show Sanctuary changed its theme from this (composed by Joel Goldsmith, who co-scored the series' first season) to this (composed by Andrew Lockington, who scored the series after Season 2) in its third season, citing Soundtrack Dissonance. Unfortunately, they never changed the opening sequence to match the new theme tune, but it was eventually trimmed down quite a bit anyway.
  • LazyTown staring with the season after the end of "LazyTown: Bill Thompson" & in syndication replaces its theme with an insturmental sports style theme tune for both opening credits & closing credits. This is also with the syndication genre shift from educational musical show to educational action show plus a small music budget.
  • The normal theme song for Sons of Anarchy was replaced by a more Celtic-flavored version in the third season during the run of episodes in which the Sons visit North Ireland.
  • In Philadelphia, ABC station WPVI-6's "Move Closer to Your World" is the station's legendary news theme; which has remained a part of Channel 6 Action News since 1972. An attempt at a grand recomposition, using the London Symphony Orchestra, in 1996 was universally panned, and after four days of viewer complaints, the old cut was reinstated, and that version with an occasional freshening has remained ever since.
  • Ultraman Leo had a theme song by the same name for the first 13 episodes, then switched to "Ultraman Leo Fight!" for the rest of the show. The original theme often popped up as a Theme Music Power-Up instrumental and a snippet was used on episode previews.
  • Something similar happened in Ultraman 80, only much later in the series run.
  • Most American daytime soap operas that fall under the Long Runner banner embody this trope. A notable example would be Guiding Light, the longest-running of all American daytime soaps. Over its 57 years on television, it used 11 different themes, several of which were rearranged. Musical styles included organ, orchestra, disco, pop, rock, and R&B.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) originally had a dreamy theme by Bernard Herrmann - the one everybody knows didn't come along until season two, when CBS decided it needed something more upbeat. Herrmann wrote two alternative themes which weren't used, and Jerry Goldsmith wrote one which was also turned down; CBS music head Lud Gluskin then put together two short tracks written by Marius Constant, and the rest is history (ironically, Constant was never credited with the theme on the show).
  • Even Bonanza fell victim to this; creator/executive producer David Dortort, no fan of the classic Livingston/Evans theme song, had his composer of choice David Rose write a new theme that debuted in the 1970-71 season (the Livingston/Evans theme returned for the final season).
  • British school series Grange Hill replaced its original, bouncy, circus-style theme with something that sounded like a speeded up version of Cagney & Lacey's theme tune. As the show did tend to aim for gritty realism rather than comedy, the new one was more suited but the original is the one that everyone remembers.
  • Newton's Apple switched from Kraftwerk's "Ruckzuck" to an original theme tune in 1994.
  • For the fifth season of 3rd Rock from the Sun the theme changed from the 1950's inspired rock tune, to a big band cover version. It only lasted for that season. Interestingly, the DVD menus feature the original theme song.
  • For the first season of The Outer Limits (1963), Dominic Frontiere (who was a production executive as well as a composer) created a magnificent orchestral theme. When Frontiere joined much of the production staff in quitting between seasons due to Executive Meddling, his replacement was Harry Lubin, whose Theremin-dominated theme was used during the second season.
  • The Rebel originally had an Expository Theme Tune by Johnny Cash. The syndicated reruns replaced this with a generic Western instrumental, presumably to avoid paying Cash royalties.
  • Gimme a Break! combined this with Rearrange the Song for Season 3; with the original theme giving way to a slightly rewritten version that was heavy on the synthesizers.
  • The Leftovers replaced the instrumental Max Richter opening theme used in season 1 with Iris DeMent's "Let The Mystery Be" in season 2, with a completely different title sequence to go along with it.
  • Night Gallery had one theme for the pilot movie, another theme for the first two seasons and one last theme used for the third season.
  • For the first three seasons, The Dead Zone used the moody and evocative "New Year's Prayer" by Jeff Buckley. At the top of season 4 this was replaced with "Dead Zone Epic" by Blues Saraceno, to the annoyance of many fans. The visuals, originally created for and timed to the Buckley version, remained unchanged, making the new tune feel like a poor fit—at least until you got used to it. The new tune was in place for two seasons; Season 6 switched to a Title-Only Opening.
  • Top of the Pops changed its theme tune several times during its 42-year run as a weekly series. Its best known theme is "Whole Lotta Love", though it wasn't introduced until 1970, six years after the series started. Also, contrary to popular belief, the version used wasn't the Led Zeppelin version, but a cover version by CCS. In 1981, following a period in which the series had a Title-Only Opening, "Whole Lotta Love" was replaced by "Yellow Pearl" by Phil Lynott, which was itself replaced by "The Wizard" by Paul Hardcastle in 1986, followed by "Now Get Outta That" by Tony Gibber in 1991, then "Red Hot Pop" by Vince Clarke in 1995. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a remixed version of "Whole Lotta Love" was used, with "Now Get Outta That" receiving the same treatment from 2003 until the end of the weekly series in 2006.
  • Funny You Should Ask originally used Pharrell Williams' 'Happy' as its theme song. It was swapped out with an instrumental soundalike in its second season, and all reruns of season 1 were re-dubbed with the new theme in 2021.
  • The Transmart used Abdul and the Coffee Theory's "Bahagia Itu Sederhana" for most of its run before replacing with GAC's "Bahagia" in 2017.
  • Married... with Children, throughout its entire run, used Frank Sinatra's "Love and Marriage" as its theme tune. The original DVD releases, Hulu and some (though oddly not all) modern syndicated repeats replaced it with a cheery, generic instrumental soundalike which lacks the irony and charm of the original piece. This was even a problem in the reunion special made in the early 2000s, though at least they used an instrumental of "Love and Marriage" there. Luckily, when Mill Creek rereleased the entire series, they renewed the rights and restored the original theme to its rightful place.
  • The 7th season of the 90's incarnation of The Mickey Mouse Club replaced the iconic Mickey Mouse March theme tune with an instrumental piece.
  • Eat Bulaga! released a new theme song on July 29, 2023, almost two months after TVJ left the show.

  • Every season of Dice Funk since Lorelei changes the theme music around the middle of the season, typically to accompany a major shift in tone.
    • Later seasons have also picked up the habit of changing the theme music back to the original for the finale episode.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Both WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown have changed their Real Song Theme Tunes several times over the years.
    • Don't forget about the actual wrestlers themselves. This happens all the time due to forming new teams/factions, face/heel turns, etc. As a result it's harder to name someone that DIDN'T change their theme music than it is to name someone that has.

    Video Games 
  • The Halo series first used a new main theme for Halo: Reach before coming up with another new one for the games from Halo 4 onward, although the original theme still occasionally appears.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball was originally going to use a remix of the Sonic the Hedgehog theme for its own title. Sega Technical Institute only figured out on the literal last possible day that the copyrights didn't actually work out that way, and hastily created a new theme tune — so hastily that a tiny percentage of carts managed to make it off the production line and into stores with the original theme intact.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: SuperSponge actually did used the famous SpongeBob SquarePants theme in one of its prototype builds. For whatever reason, it ended up getting replaced with an entirely original theme for the retail release.
  • Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow changed its main theme, but the original theme still appears as a Softer and Slower Cover.
  • The Time Crisis series replaced its theme for the third installment, then heavily reworked that theme for the fourth. However, Wild Dog's theme, which contains a variation of the original theme, still appears in both installments.
  • Wild ARMs 2 had two theme songs. Disc one played "You'll never be Alone No Matter Where you go" and Disc two had "Resistance Line"

    Web Animation 
  • NextG Poop originally used the song "I'll Be There for You" by The Rembrandts as a theme song for episodes made since mid-season 1. However, in 2009, Matt realized that YouTube was starting to mute any episode that used that song, and so he rather clumsily changed the theme song for late-season 3 onward to "Take Me Away" by the Plain White T's. Finally, a J-pop theme was used during season 4.
  • Robotbox And Cactus: The first theme develops gradually but basically remains the same until episode 28, with a simple opening screen only showing the title of the series and of the episode. The music changes to a different synthesized theme in episode 29, alongside a new (though brief) opening montage. The ending theme also changes, going from a drum fill to a synth similar to the opening.
  • RWBY has a new theme song and OP each season, in keeping with its Animesque nature.

    Western Animation 
  • Garfield and Friends used three theme songs throughout its run — "Friends Are There" for Seasons 1-2, "We're Ready to Party" for Seasons 3-6, and the rap-sounding theme for Season 7 (but only in the US). In an interesting variation, "Friends Are There" was sometimes used as a Leitmotif even after its retirement.
  • Lucky Luke had two different opening soundtracks, a sung one in 1983-1984 and an instrumental only one for the 1991-1992 revival.
  • Static Shock went through three different theme songs. The first two themes switched back and forth at times, but the third theme had always played after its debut.
  • A lot of people may have forgotten (unless they bought the DVDs), but The Flintstones originally had a different title sequence with an instrumental theme tune. The first two seasons of The Flintstones featured an instrumental entitled "Rise and Shine" (which was also frequently used as incidental music) in its opening. When "Rise and Shine" was deemed too similar to the theme of the Looney Tunes anthology series The Bugs Bunny Show ("This is It"), another piece of incidental music had vocals added, was titled "Meet the Flintstones," and was used to open the remainder of the original series. The closing credits changed later in the series to replace "Meet the Flintstones" with a reprise of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm singing "Let the Sunshine In" from one of the episodes. Trope averted in the syndicated version of the series available from the 1970s to the 1990s, when opening and closing credits were standardized and all episodes featured "Meet the Flintstones".
  • Scooby-Doo: The later seasons did away with its iconic "Where Are You?" theme song in its entirety. Many fans assert that this change coincided with an overall drop in the show's quality as it preceeded the introduction of The Original Scrappy by one season. The first few episodes of the original cartoon featured an instrumental piece before the "Where Are You?" theme took over for the rest of its run.
  • Johnny Test has had a different theme since its second season.
  • The Sky Dancers cartoon had a different opening and entirely new background music when it was released in volumes on DVD.
  • Captain N: The Game Master: The first season had some pretty awful opening music, though it ended with the infamous "Captain N! The Game Master!" During Season 2, the show was given more memorable/catchy theme music, and the "Captain N..." line was dropped. Season 3, meanwhile, used a shortened and slightly sped-up version of the Season 2 theme.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) received a brand new theme song for the Darker and Edgier "Red Sky Seasons".
  • Rocko's Modern Life switched to its better known theme song after the first season.
  • When King Leonardo and His Short Subjects went into syndication as The King And Odie Show in 1963, the opening title and theme was replaced by a much shorter edition. This was because it was packaged as both a 15-minute and 30-minute weekday strip. In the 1980s, the series with the original NBC-aired titles and theme was syndicated.
  • The first theme for Batman: The Animated Series was a variation of the Danny Elfman theme from the Tim Burton Batman films. When the show was rebranded The Adventures of Batman and Robin to feature Robin more prominently, a new theme by Shirley Walker was composed.
  • Blue's Clues got a new lyrical theme song, "Another Blue's Clues Day", when Joe became the host.
  • The theme tune to Thomas & Friends was replaced with the "Engine Roll Call" after original composers Mike Donnell and Junior Campbell left the series. Interestingly however, the show has taken to inserting the original tune in cameo form as of recently.
  • SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron had different themes for each season, both by the same composers.
  • In a variation, Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers changed the song used on the closing credits about halfway through the series' run.
  • Samurai Jack starts with an Opening Narration and transitions into a light-hearted rap by Will.I.Am for its first four seasons. The fifth season debuted 12 years later, and has an all-new Opening Narration that over takes the entire introduction sequence, representing the Darker and Edgier tone. The rap still plays over the end credits, however.
  • The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show:
    • For its first two seasons, The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show used a montage of clips with narration over them, set to the 1946-1955 rendition of "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down". Four episodes into its third season, the familiar "This Is It" theme returned.
    • For The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show's final season on CBS (1984-85), the "This Is It" theme was replaced by a new theme song, "It's Cartoon Gold".
  • Speaking of Looney Tunes, the early years of the series would often switch themes (ignoring how many times "The Merry Go Round Broke Down" and "Merrily We Roll Along" were modified). It wasn't until 1937 that Looney Tunes got its familiar "The Merry Go Round Broke Down" theme, and 1936 when Merrie Melodies switched to "Merrily We Roll Along".
    • In 1964, when the original studio shut down and De Patie Freleng Enterprises took over production, "The Merry Go Round Broke Down" became the theme for both series, not just Looney Tunes.
  • Downplayed for The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The same theme was used throughout the series, however later episodes rerecorded it with a slightly different instrumentation. Also while earlier episodes used a short orchestral variant for the ending credits, later episodes used an instrumental version of the full opening theme. Played straight with the Growing Up with Winnie the Pooh/The Magical World of Winnie the Pooh DVD releases of the series however.
  • The Batman used a mostly electric guitar piece for the first two seasons. Seasons three through five switched to a new theme with more of a "Hawaii Five-O meets Adam West" feel.
  • Steven Universe: For much of its run, the series used "We Are the Crystal Gems" as its theme song. For the epilogue series Steven Universe: Future, the theme is replaced by "Happily Ever After" from Steven Universe: The Movie.
  • Disney's Doug has a different opening theme from the original Nickelodeon version.
  • In Total Drama, The show's theme song is titled "I Wanna Be Famous". In the fifth and sixth seasons, the theme song became abridged, due to Cartoon Network's decision to truncate the theme songs. In the revival, the theme song is replaced by a new song with a similar beat, but mostly different lyrics.
  • Winx Club changes up its opening and ending themes for each new season. The 4Kids and Nick dubs of the early seasons even get their own themes.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: In the season 4 opener, the music was changed and the lyrics were rerecorded.
  • Dora the Explorer had three opening sequences throughout its run. The first one was used for the first two seasons, and the sequence was changed to this one starting in Season 3, although the song stayed the same until Season 7, when the opening was overhauled again.
  • The first season Title Sequence for Skysurfer Strike Force used an Instrumental Theme Tune as musical backing for the Opening Narration. The second season retained the visuals, but replaced the narration with an original song by Japanese funk metal band Super Junky Monkey.
  • F is for Family uses "Come and Get Your Love" by Redbone, but for Rosie's A Day in the Limelight episode, "R is for Rosie", the theme song is "Shining Star" by Earth, Wind and Fire for that episode only and reverts to "Come and Get Your Love" for all later episodes.
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald had the theme song for the first three videos Scared Silly, The Legend of Grimace Island and Visitors from Outer Space consist of a woman jubilantly informing the audience that plenty of fun and exciting adventures await in this new series of videos. The later three videos Birthday World, Have Time, Will Travel and The Monster O'McDonaldland Loch had a different theme song sung by Ronald McDonald himself, but in spite of the new lyrics and musical arrangement carried the same message of "we're going to have some real fun adventures today".


Video Example(s):


Ronald Sings the New Song

The theme song for the first three Wacky Adventures videos is sung by a woman and spells out how these videos are an exciting new series of adventures bringing the McDonaldland mascots to new depths and experiences.

The remaining three videos use a different theme song Ronald sings himself, albeit still having the same basic message as the original theme song.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ReplacedTheThemeTune

Media sources: