The Washington Post (via the LA Times) pays tribute to TV composers Earl Hagen and Alexander Courage, who passed away last week. Between them, the two composed most of the great TV themes of the past. Hagen alone composed themes to such shows as THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, I SPY, and THE MOD SQUAD -- as well as that most noir-ish of jazz standards, "Harlem Nocturne." Courage will live on in TV history forever for composing the original STAR TREK theme.
The era of great original TV themes is plainly past. Shows such as LOST practically eschew opening themes. Others, like the CSI shows, use pre-existing music.
It used to be that a familiar opening theme song was enough to magnetically pull viewers from every corner of their house to the TV. Apparently producers don't place a premium on that anymore.