The 2018 Emmy nominees for Best Main Title Theme Music are so wholly unique that it is impossible to mistake one for another. The nominees include the themes from “Godless” (Netflix), “The Last Tycoon” (Amazon), “Marvel’s The Defenders” (Netflix), “The Putin Interviews” (Showtime), “Somebody Feed Phil” (Netflix) and “The Tick” (Amazon). Emmy voters truly went their own way in this category, with “Godless” being the only show to earn a corresponding Best Series nomination.
From a rollicking Western tune to a jazzy big band number to a cheesy throwback to sitcoms of old, this category has everything you could want in a TV theme song. So which main title theme song will emerge victorious? After reading our breakdown of each of this year’s Emmy nominees, be sure to make your predictions.
“Godless” — Theme by Carlos Rafael Rivera
Carlos Rafael Rivera’s theme for “Godless” feels like an authentic Western theme without being too derivative, complementing the show’s unique dusty style. The melodic tune is a catchy one, driven by a cello, with a classic guitar and epic drums helping propel the song forward. Rivera is also nominated for Best Music for a Limited Series/Movie for his other musical contributions to “Godless.”
“The Last Tycoon” — Theme by Mychael Danna
Melancholy and melodrama are two words that come to mind upon hearing Oscar winner Mychael Danna’s (“Life of Pi”) theme to “The Last Tycoon.” With swelling strings and a minor key piano, this elegant theme drops you into the world of 1930s Hollywood in all of its beautiful tragedy, preparing you for a series full of passionate love affairs, betrayals and heartbreak. Danna has been nominated for six Emmys and won once, for composing the score to Reelz’s “World Without End.”
“Marvel’s The Defenders” — Theme by John Paesano
Easily the most epic theme nominated here, John Paesano’s theme for “Marvel’s The Defenders” is a big, brassy number that gets you pumped up to watch some superhero butt-kicking. The opening tune features a pulsating beat that steadily rises as synths combine with a full orchestra to create an overwhelming wall of sound. While this is Paesano’s first nomination, Sean Callery’s theme to “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” notably won this category two years ago.
“The Putin Interviews” — Theme by Jeff Beal
Emmy winner Jeff Beal’s theme to “The Putin Interviews” is unmistakably Russian in nature, with a trademark Balalaika adding color to a military drum beat. The theme also features a dramatic choir that adds a sense of imposing power, reflective of the series’ subject matter, Russian president Vladimir Putin. Beal now has 18 Emmy nominations and five wins, taking home trophies for “Monk” in 2003, “Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King” in 2007, “The Company” in 2008 and “House of Cards” in 2015 and 2017.
Thanks to one of the best bands in the land @lakestreetdive, I now have my very own theme song! Less than 1 week until #SomebodyFeedPhil premieres, only on @netflix. Jan 12. #themesong #netflix #food #travel #funny #NetflixIsAJoke #FoodieFriday #foodie pic.twitter.com/1tpfLRAJLr
— Phil Rosenthal (@PhilRosenthal) January 6, 2018
“Somebody Feed Phil” — Theme by Mike S. Olson, Bridget Ellen Kearney, Michael Calabrese, and Rachael Price
The only Emmy nominated theme song this year with a prominent vocal track, the theme to “Somebody Feed Phil” is pure sitcom nostalgia, fitting considering the docuseries’ star, Phil Rosenthal, is a sitcom producer himself. The jaunty tune was composed by members of the group Lake Street Dive, who sing of Rosenthal being a “happy, hungry man” on a quest to find the best food all around the world.
“The Tick” — Theme by Chris Bacon
Chris Bacon’s jazzy theme song to “The Tick” is another catchy number in this race, perfectly capturing the show’s blend of superhero action and irreverent comedy. The theme song is a fast-paced big band production, with vocalists adding their own fun sound effects to the mix. Bacon was previously nominated for composing the music to “Smash” in 2012 and “Bates Motel” in 2016.
So which theme song will have Emmy voters humming as they mark their ballots? The rugged tune from “Godless” is an easy contender considering how well the show did overall. If they like sweeping drama they have two options to pick from in “The Last Tycoon” and “Marvel’s The Defenders.” Then there are the clever themes to “The Putin Interviews,” “Somebody Feed Phil” and “The Tick,” with “Somebody Feed Phil” in particular standing out for having actual lyrics. Past Emmy winners in this category do not suggest a set pattern, though the past few winners, like “Stranger Things,” “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” and “Transparent” do suggest a tendency towards very distinct themes.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 17. Be sure to also predict winners for the Creative Arts ceremonies slated for September 8 and 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.