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Most Wonderful Sound / Live-Action TV

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The Most Wonderful Sounds in live-action TV.

  • Similarly, the CTU ringtone (bip-bip, BEEP boop) works the same way with 24 fans.
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  • Do, Do-do-do-do, SNAP! SNAP! tells you that you are about to spend some time with The Addams Family (SNAP! SNAP!).
  • Airwolf and its famous roar/howling of superacceleration jets.
  • Arrested Development: The Leitmotif that plays whenever the Running Gag between Oscar and Buster comes up.
  • "In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles Underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help... and if you can find them... maybe you can hire... The A-Team" Cue gunfire and the theme song.
  • In Babylon 5, the human security forces were armed with a space age version of the Walther PPK that had to charge a capacitor before firing. That faint 'Buhwaaaah' meant 'action scene next'.
    • The sound of the Hyperspace Gate powering up.
    • The Shadow ships.
  • Battlestar Galactica has the ominous clanking of the Cylon Centurions and the soft whirring of their red laser eyes.
    • You forgot the taiko drums. The many, many taiko drums.
      • Sadly, the most badass and promising Taiko Drum sequence (1:11) comes immediately after the BSG logo during the first minutes of the pilot/mini-series, and never appears again. Still gives one hell of a rush when you start watching it again from the beginning though.
    • Also: the grinding whine when Cylons appear on-screen, and the "shhh-WHOOSH-whine" of an FTL jump.
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  • The theme tune of Castle (which interestingly is alarmingly similar to the theme tune of Sherlock). And then there's the part where Castle and Beckett walk into a bar and the piano player starts playing the theme song.
  • During the theme song of Chuck, the noise when the stick figure puts it's head back on is... wonderful.
    • The entire theme song itself, particularly the trumpets that play throughout it. It's just a reminder that the viewer's in for an awesome time after the theme.
  • A more recent example from The Colbert Report is the Hilarious Arabic Chanting that made it's first appearance in Mysteries of the Ancient Unknown, and has become the stock sound for Arabian, Egyptian or Muslim-based skits.
  • COPS: The Langley Productions Vanity Plate: complete with accompanying blues-rock riff.
  • The Countdown timer, the ending especially. Do-do-doily-do-DO!
  • CSI: Miami: The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again"... (puts on sunglasses) ...makes any one-liner awesome.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Hearing the TARDIS arrive has made most characters who understand the significance flip out with joy. (And it probably would do the same for most people familiar with the sound, were it to happen in Real Life.) The sound in question (the "rrrnt!—rrrnt!—rrrnt!") — official onomatopoeia for the TARDIS is VWORP-VWORP — is one of the BBC recording techs taking a house key and scraping it down the bass string of a piano at varying speeds. This more than 50-year-old sound effect is still being used in the current series. Why mess with perfection?
      • In "Love & Monsters", Elton describes the "vworp" as "the most beautiful sound in the universe."
      • The Doctor himself obviously loves it: In "The Time of Angels", River Song claims that the TARDIS makes that sound because he keeps leaving the brakes on (however, by Word of God, she was pulling his leg). The Doctor's response?
        The Doctor: Yeah, well, it's a brilliant noise. I love that noise.
      • So do the other renegade Time Lords — in the classic series, the Master's TARDIS and the Rani's TARDIS both have the "vworp" sound.
      • Terrance Dicks would habitually refer to it as a "wheezing, groaning sound" in his numerous novelizations, where the phrase itself becomes a textual equivalent. (It finally makes it onto the show itself in "The Day of the Doctor", with the Moment explaining that it brings hope to everyone who hears it.)
      • Captain Jack Harkness' eyes spoke for us all at the end of Series 1 of Torchwood.
      • Highlighted in "The Day of the Doctor", when the Moment asks the War Doctor about that noise the TARDIS makes, commenting that it brings hope and joy to any who hear it, no matter how lost, even to the Doctor himself. And so, breaking every rule of time, the Moment allows both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor's TARDISes through the time lock and into the Time War, the camera focusing on the War Doctor's ear just as the Moment says 'to any who hear it' before the sound kicks in, and it truly brings him the hope he needed. It really is a beautiful moment.
        The Moment: Well, I do my best....
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    • When the good Doctor throws the switch to start the TARDIS, there's a deep clunnnggg! sound that starts the whole dematerialisation sequence. Depending on how the episode has gone, this can sound like the end of the world, notably in "The Fires of Pompeii".
    • The TARDIS also has its cloister bell alarm, the sound of which indicates something has gone very wrong with the fabric of time and space. Hearing it usually means something truly epic is about to go down.
      • A recording. Apparently it was achieved by striking a gong under water, and the result is hauntingly beautiful.
    • The squeak of the TARDIS doors opening and closing.
    • "EX-TER-MI-NATE!" Awesome for some viewers. For characters and other viewers? Not so much.
    • The Master's drumbeat is also pretty sweet. That sound sends shivers down every spine in hearing range.
    • The sound of the sonic screwdriver (when it's not hooked up to an amp to do something ear-splitting, that is)
    • Any of the Doctor's themes from the new series, whether it's 9 and 10's slower theme, 11's more upbeat one, or something from 12's richer suite—when that music starts playing, Sh*t. Will. Go. Down.
    • The cliffhanger stinger used from 1970 to 1980; so much so, they brought it back for the new series.
  • Emergency!'s Quick Call tones and klaxon at Station 51, perhaps the only in-universe sound cue in an adventure TV show to signal when the best parts of the episodes are starting.
  • The gun-powering-up sounds from Firefly. You know asses are going to be kicked.
    • And of course, the sound of Serenity herself, especially when she's the final shot of the episode.
    • The twangy little western riffs as well.
  • Friends: Janice's laugh somehow manages to be both this annoying at the same time. It's ridiculously grating, yet so silly and over the top you can't help but look forward to hearing it.
  • Game of Thrones has the screeching roar of a dragon, which heralds many an incendiary asskicking.
  • The Good Place: The "pleasant bing sound" that happens whenever Janet pops into a scene.
  • To fans of Heroes, the sound of two or more clocks ticking at different pitches in imperfect unison means that Sylar is about to do something EVIL and AWESOME.
  • The old Hockey Night in Canada theme (now the NHL on TSN theme), aka, the other Canadian national anthem.
    • "Hello, Canada, and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland."
  • Home Improvement: "aauuuuUUUUGGHHH?!?!". So nice, they give it twice in the intro.
  • Jeopardy!: "Answer there: the Daily Double." Bweedoo-bweedoo-bweedoo-bow-bow-bow!
    • And that whooshing sound before Johnny Gilbert says THIS... IS... Jeopardy!!
    • The board fill sound, either the original 25-tone sound, or the modern 6-tone sound, it's surprisingly uplifting, letting you know that you are about to take part in a nice, stimulating round of trivia.
  • The Joy of Painting host Bob Ross is famous for his soothing and pleasant voice, and many fans will pull up one of his episodes to listen to when they need a happy little sleep aid.
  • The Flemish/Belgian children's series Kabouter Plop by Studio100 brings use the sound of the hats raiding up and the bells ringing on their hats when ever they get surprised, excited, or even shocked.
    • Also the whistle-like sound heard in various songs by the show such as the song Hopsa
    • Speaking of music, it's also very fun and relaxing to hear the singing voice of Plop, Kwebble, Klus and Smal.
  • Every Kamen Rider has a specific sound associated with their pose. Many an older fan would like the ability to produce this sound on-cue, as it tends to work as an Let's Get Dangerous! cue. Example: The Shocker Monster of the Week is winning! Tokyo is doomed! Nothing can save us n- *Rider Sound*.
    Kamen Rider: "Ridaa~...Henshin!"
  • Knight Rider: K.I.T.T. had its unique engine sound and of course the scanner SFX.
    • The music for Knight Rider's title sequence also counts.
  • Law & Order: The transitions evoke a jail door slamming ("CHA-CHUNK").
    • The Something Awful L&O icon is "DOINK-DOINK".
    • For the UK version, American closed-captions render it as "cell door slamming shut (two musical notes)". Interstingly, this is the only time "CHUNG-CHUNG" is acknowledged by the closed-captions.
  • "The rich and powerful take what they want, and we steal it back for you. Sometimes bad guys make the best good guys. We provide...Leverage."
  • Lexx: "Vyo wei oh, hum va rey..."
  • Somehow, the hatch's lockdown chime from Lost is just kind of satisfying. Mostly because it doesn't appear often but, when it does, something exciting and suspenseful is about to happen.
    • The sound of "SYSTEM FAILURE" and the subsequent sound of the electromagnet starting up, for the same reason as above: cool things are going to be happening, and they're going to be happening soon.
    • The siren of the monster is always exciting to hear. You can hear them all at this link.
  • Whenever Arthur says Guinevere's name on Merlin. He pronounces it as though it's the most beautiful word he's ever heard, with emphasis on the vere, and there are plenty of YouTube compilations of all the times he's said her name during the course of the series. In fact, their very first Ship Tease moment was a scene in which he lies in bed, extends his hand, and says "Guinevere" as though he's inviting her to join him. Watch it here.
  • Season 1 of The Mole ended with a beautiful, lingering, major fifth (classically tuned) on a piano when the winner was revealed, interrupting/ending the usual Execution theme- the only time it stopped with anything other than the semi-discordant bass chord indicating that another person had lost.
  • Many a classic Monty Python's Flying Circus skit, when performed for an audience, will provoke a mild ovation just with the first line.
    • "Good evening ladies and gentlemen; here's a little number I tossed off recently in the Caribbean."
    • Then, of course, there's the old guy at the start of most of the shows: "IT'S...."
    • Well, by that extent, it'd be the foot stomping shit with that classic farting sound.
    • "And now for something completely different."
    • What? All this and no mention of the opening theme?
      • In all fairness, John Philip Sousa's "Liberty Bell March" long predated the show (just like the "Colonel Bogey March" long predated Bridge on the River Kwai), and so it's not really a theme and isn't automatically connected to Monty Python.
      • Says you.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: "In the not-too-distant future..."
    • ...for Mystery Science Thea-TER, Three Thou-SAND! *twang*
    • "We've got movie sign!" *ERN ERN ERN ERN*
    • The sound of the hallway of doors, signaling either a merciful break from whatever film they're watching or a return to the hilarity.
      • *chk* *whir whir whir* *clunk* *whirwhirwhirwhirwhirwhir* *zip* *screech* *wuh wuh wuh* *CH*
    • And, of course, the so-called "Mighty Science Theater", heralding the end of an episode. And for that matter...
      Dr. Forrester: Push the button, Frank.
      Button: Chk-WAAAAH...
  • MythBusters asks us: What is the sound of one cement truck exploding? The answer: AWESOME.
  • The slight smooth sound of a chair sliding out in the Swedish improv comedy show Parlamentet. This is because most of the time, the competitors sit behind their desks as they make people fold double with laughter — so whenever they get up, something hilariously awesome is generally about to happen.
  • In a juvenile way, the explosion a monster makes when it's defeated in Power Rangers is very cool and satisfying.
  • Another klaxon example: DING-DING-DING-WHOOP-WHOOP-WHOOOOOOP! The "jackpot" sound on The Price Is Right, whenever someone wins the top cash prize in a pricing game, in the Showcase Showdown, or wins both showcases in the Showcase Round.
    • Just about any example from Big Win Sirens, really.
    • Any time "A NEW CAAAAAARR!" is the prize for a pricing game, especially during the Bob era.
  • The assorted sounds from Shawn's Sherlock Scan on Psych.
  • The "plonk-plonk-plonk" sound of the clock ticking down in most Bob Stewart-created game shows (most notably Pyramid), which intensifies the situation rather nicely. Of course, it's Nightmare Fuel for some (like the contestants themselves).
    • Same with the "Illegal-Clue" cuckoo.
    • "For $10,000/$25,000/$100,000, here is your first subject, GO!"
  • The QI klaxon. Yes, a klaxon. Everyone except for the person who triggers it does the arm-raising cheer us Brits normally do when a waitress drops a plate. Yes, even the viewers. Heck, sometimes the panellist that triggers the klaxon will cheer if they think it was Worth It.
  • The leap-in/leap-out sound from Quantum Leap.
  • Reading Rainbow: The opening riff of the original theme, and the "Ba-Dun-Dun!" sound during the "You don't have to take my word for it!" segment.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: *PING!* *Sparkle*
  • In a similar vein, in Saturday Night Live's first season, the sound of crashing as Chevy Chase falls over and then breaks character: "Live from New York! It's Saturday Night!"
  • The Reichenbach Ballad from Sherlock. Tears will fall.
  • Stargate:
    • "Kawoosh", anyone?
    • All the noises in a Milky Way dialing sequence: The "bwa-AWAH" as it starts up, the low rumble as the ring turns and the "Clunk-shunk" noise of the symbols locking give even the Trope Namer for Engaging Chevrons a sense of awesome power, building up to the final "Whirrr-Kawoosh" and the awesome vortex effect.
    • Any sound the Stargate makes. ALL of them. The Pegasus gates, the SGU gates, the Supergate, all of them. Except for that one sound that sounds like static that means the wormhole is unstable. That just means nothing but bad news. And even the Destiny powering it's FTL engines just before it enters FTL, or drops out. Hard not to love 'em!
    • The *thud* sound made when an unwelcome someone tries to come through the Gate when the Iris is closed. Especially if they had just been chasing our heroes. One does feel sorry for which ever airman gets to clean the back of that thing with a squeegee.
    • The "Dong-Zing" noise of an Asgard transport. Especially in the early seasons where it was still limited to Thor's calling card.
    • The satisfyingly deep tone of Ronon's blaster charging and firing.
    • The sound a Zat gun makes when opening up, firing, and after it's hit something.
    • The staff weapon/cannon as it is fired.
    • The sound effect of the Goa'uld Glowing Eyes of Doom.
    • The undulating sound the ribbon device makes.
    • Every time when Ori mothership's main cannon and Asgard's plasma beam weapons are used.
    • The distinctive sound of the Earth battlecruisers in hyperspace.
  • Star Trek: "Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise..." Best Opening Narration ever.
    • "Pwsht-pwsht" of the Enterprise's automatic doors, the "eee-whrr-eee" of the transporter, and the "rrr-rrr-whoosh!" of warp drive.
    • The highly distinctive door opening sound of the original series (the "pwsht-pwsht" made by crossing a flare gun with a shoe squeaking against the ground) would be continued in later series.
    • The iconic ambient bridge sounds. To how many people — perhaps young children at the time the show first aired — is this still the music of space exploration and adventure?
    • The Red Alert siren. Let the Enterprise-grade ass-kicking commence.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation. The warp engine powering up and "Engaging". Comfort food for the ears.
      • Incomplete without a ridiculous onomatopoeia: rrrrooooOOOOO—zzeeewwBOOOM!
      • So iconic, they used it not just once, but TWICE during the opening credits.
    • And the doors of the holodeck in TNG (also cargo bays in Voyager.) Drrrrrrrr-kachoong!
    • The deep, pulsing rumble of the Warp Core in Engineering. It just sounds like power.
    • The sound effects on the bridge (any incarnation, but TOS is probably the most distinctive). It's like a wonderful symphony of technology.
      • Recall the scene in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Relics" when Scotty goes to the holodeck. At first, there is Next Gen's own familiar, ever present, low-pitched thrum while he's out in the corridor. The door opens and that thrum actually mixes briefly with the aforementioned Original Series bridge sounds, and then the holodeck door closes behind Scotty and it's purely the original bridge sounds. If there can be a Moment of Awesome for simple ambient sounds, this would have to be one.
    • The "blip-blip-blip-blip blip-blip-blip" of a communicator.
    • The two opening notes to the TNG theme. It just screams "Star Trek is on!" (And of course, it leads into the totally awesome main theme.)
    • The transporter sound effect, especially in TOS and TNG.
    • The sounds of phasers and photon torpedoes firing.
    • "Sir, there's another starship coming in! It's the Enterprise!"
    • And, of course, the boatswain's whistle.
    • "Captain's Log, Stardate _____" and "Captain's Log, supplemental." And occasionally, "First Officer's Log..."
  • The One, the Only, the Classic, Star Trek: The Next Generation Theme Tune. Ba-ruppumpumpum, puppuppumpum, buppumpumppum-pum-pum-pum... Arguably even more classic and evocative than its predecessor. Doesn't it just scream Awesome Adventure?
  • Supernatural: Cas' wings fluttering, the rev of the Impala's engine — hell, even "So get this..."!
    • The unique squeaks and clunks of the Impala's doors, too.
  • Super Sentai:
  • Thunderbirds: "5..4..3..2..1.. Thunderbirds are go!"
  • Everyone knows who Ultraman is, right? The sounds made as they transform signal the main battle scene, as well as the horrible situation everyone is in on-screen? It's gonna get better, starting right now. *henshin sound* *Ultraman appears* *victory is basically assured*
  • The Unit: "Boop-bipbip, boop-bipbip"...
  • Unsolved Mysteries: Robert Stack saying "UPDATE!" in that deep voice of his. Nine times out of ten, it means a mystery is about to be solved.
  • The "green light" bell of the Omni in Voyagers!.
  • Wheel of Fortune: "Our category for this next round is Phrase." (ding ding DING ding!) Especially if you hear the second, higher-pitched set of dings afterward, indicating that whoever solves the puzzle wins a trip.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: Xena's very distinctive battle shout just about always precedes Xena performing some physics-defying feat or just a general kicking of ass.
  • You Can't Do That on Television has many, but few are as satisfying as the sirens that kick off the theme song and the scream that punctuates the title card. Of course, the sound of any kid being stupid enough to utter "I don't know" comes pretty damn close.


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