Once again, the Canadians have ruined everything. They’ve allowed their single greatest piece of art to be stolen from its home and commissioned some boob from Alberta to replace it. After CBC (Canada’s BBC) allowed its rights to the “Hockey Night in Canada” theme song to expire, the theme was picked up by TSN (Canada’s ESPN — they even have something called “Sportscentre”) and permanently separated from its rightful home. And this wasn’t just any theme song; it was the finest TV sports composition ever produced (suck on that, John Tesh). It might as well have been the Canadian national anthem. But now it’s just a throwaway jingle on a cable network no one outside Canada can see.

The news that CBC lost the “Hockey Night in Canada” theme isn’t new; the story broke months ago. But this weekend a new song was chosen to usher in “HNIC,” and it’s just sad. After issuing a challenge to all of Canada to find a new “HNIC” jingle, a new theme was chosen in what I can only assume was some kind of awkward “American Idol” with less America and more gravy-covered fries. Ultimately, Alberta school teacher Colin Oberst’s theme was chosen. The jingle kicks off with bagpipes or something equally dumb and it’s all downhill after that. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at Don Cherry the same way again.

But in mourning the displacement of one of TV’s all-time great themes, I’m reminded of some of its peers that were not ganked by satanic cable networks. So in memory of the “HNIC” theme, which is now dead to me, I thought I would honor some of its peers in the Modern TV Theme Hall of Fame. The rules for entrance into the Hall are as follows: 1) The theme has to be from a TV show that debuted inside the last 20 years (you didn’t think I was going to make a list that incorporated “Cheers,” did you?). Unfortunately, this disqualifies the theme from “Greatest American Hero” (YouTube it. Now.), which is totally awesome, but I’ve never watched more than five minutes of the show, so I don’t think that’s really fair. 2) The theme has to fit the show well. I’m looking for a theme that accurately reflects the show, not just something that’s audibly pleasing. 3) These must be actual theme songs/jingles with credit screens — not just noises. Therefore, the “Lost” title screen, which is pretty badass but only 3 seconds long, and “Seinfeld” are not eligible. And so, I present to you, the inaugural class of the Modern TV Theme Hall of Fame.

“The Simpsons” (Debuted 1989): This one’s a gimme. I originally considered not including it here because it’s too easy, but by that rationale Babe Ruth wouldn’t be in Cooperstown, so I had to reconsider. This one is a combination of the actual theme and the credit sequence itself. The chalkboard and coach gags don’t really have any peers and Danny Elfman’s tune alone is as iconic as Marge’s hair. There’s really not much else that needs to be said here.

“COPS” (Debuted 1989): It’s not possible to listen to “Bad Boys” and not get a little excited. No other TV theme holds as much promise as the theme from “COPS.” Are you going to see some toothless meth addicts getting their trailer stormed by officers? Are you going to see some toothless meth addicts getting bitten by a police dog? Are you going to see some toothless meth addict’s dog fight a police dog while cops storm their trailer? The possibilities are endless, and it’s a feeling only the “COPS” theme can deliver.

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (Debuted 1990): You could make a decent argument that the theme from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” is the hip-hop song most known by white people ages 18 to 30. I haven’t watched a full episode of the show in years, but I can spit back that theme (well, at least the one that was cut a couple verses short for syndication) like it’s nothing. Maybe if “Hancock” had a little rap intro I would have liked it, too.

“The Wire: Season 2” (Debuted 2003): The Blind Boys of Alabama version of “Way Down in the Hole” — the song featured in season one — is the best and most accessible of the five songs the show used as its theme. But Tom Waits’s version, used in season two, is the show’s finest, as the opening bars in the first episode make it clear how much things have changed. As season two of the show drastically shifted its focus to Baltimore’s ports, Tom Waits’s song is equally far removed from the soulful, urban theme used in season one. Like the season itself, the theme is something of an acquired taste and takes some time to ease into. But after twelve episodes, it’s clear how perfect it is.

“Mad Men” (Debuted 2007): The entirety of “Mad Men” can be boiled down to its opening credits. It would be a little difficult to figure this out without watching the show, but the falling ad man in the intro is basically everything. It’s the ultra-cool theme, however, which opens with a dark string arrangement and picks up a strong drum track that makes it work. I’m just surprised it took someone this long to give the four-martini lunch a proper theme.

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