Words: Elizabeth Train-Brown
Now, don’t get me wrong, interesting plots and compelling characters are essential for a TV show to succeed. But for a TV show to keep us bopping even after the finale credits roll, it needs an incredible soundtrack. None do that better than these shows; they have us hooked long after we finished binge-watching the show and start playing their official (or fan-made) Spotify playlist on repeat.
This tragic instant classic follows a group of LGBTQ+ friends in the 1980s, during the height of the AIDS crisis. Not only is this the “biggest binge-watched show” Channel 4 has ever seen, but it has one of the most incredible soundtracks; featuring 80s icons to set the scene for the greatest and darkest era of British history.
Though the show deals with a wealth of anxiety, shame and grief through the experiences of those who were hit the hardest by the AIDS crisis; it is also a celebration of LGBTQ+ resilience and undying support for each other. Its soundtrack is an unapologetic playlist of 80s smash hits and queer anthems; featuring icons such as Blondie, Kate Bush, Bronski Beat, Wizzard, Queen, Erasure, and Wham!
If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, it’s one of the most beautiful marriages of cinematography and music that you’ll ever see; featuring its title inspiration, ‘It’s a Sin’ by Pet Shop Boys, as the backing track. The song is bursting with melodrama that vent the rage of a generation who lived their life in secrecy because of society’s views.
Tom Ellis, from Miranda, stars as the Devil who has taken a leave of absence from ruling Hell and is vacationing in LA; where he runs the nightclub, LUX, and works with the LAPD to solve homicide cases.
Not only is this our new favourite crime show featuring Lucifer as a man who has relationships with both men and women – we stan an LGBTQ+ troublemaker – but it has a killer soundtrack. Tom Ellis performs several covers of iconic songs on the piano that had us enraptured.
Tom Ellis sings Creep by Radiohead,, All Along the Watchtower by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and plays The Unforgiven by Metallica as reimagined, heart-breaking classical covers. Finally, Lucifer has released their soundtrack, including all of Tom Ellis’ stunning covers and we have been repeatedly listening to them already.
This period drama follows the lives and loves of two well-to-do families in Regency-era London. The first series is adapted from Julia Quinn’s first novel, The Duke and I, focusing on Daphne and Simon, the Duke of Hastings, and their will-they-won’t-they narrative. An immediate hit on Netflix that too many of us binge-watched all episodes of the first season in a day; and now we are in love with the cast of hilariously disastrous characters.
Until Season 2, we can comfort ourselves listening to Bridgerton’s iconic blend of contemporary and Regency classic soundtrack. Director Julie Anne Robertson explained her interest in blending a range of music choices for dance scenes; including the final choice which was a reimagining of contemporary pop hits as orchestral classical. Viewers fell in love with the instrumental covers of Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes, and Taylor Swift.
The clash of contemporary and Regency is a nod to the “wonderfully contorted aesthetic” that producer, Shonda Rhimes, brings to any bold project ; and makes for a brilliant new drama soundtrack that pulls away from the overused.
The most-watched show on Netflix. The most important show of this decade. This list would not be complete without mentioning the ground-breaking comedy-drama, Orange is the New Black. When it began in 2013, it quickly shot to fame for its unblinking commentary on prison conditions in the US; but, more importantly, for including a cast of women Hollywood forgot: black women, brown women, trans women, autistic women, plus-size women, immigrant women, old women, poor women, and mentally ill women.
While dealing with moving, often heart-breaking storylines, Orange ends each episode with an ironic credits song to immortalise the final moments of the scene. Season 1 brought us the memorable I Don’t Give a Fuck by Boss, Inbred Evil by Boondox, Chances by Jill Barber, and the treasured Chicken Song.
Of course, we couldn’t forget the iconic opening credits song, You’ve Got Time by Regina Spektor. If you didn’t spend the first minute of each episode singing along while you watched the faces of real prisoners flicker across the screen, then clearly you didn’t watch it properly.
To conclude our list is the fantasy-drama following two brothers who hunt down the paranormal creatures that go bump in the night. One of the longest-running shows of its kind; Supernatural has run for a whopping 16 years before it will release its final season later this year.
Infamous for its huge fandom following, Supernatural also features all the best classic rock tracks we know and love. In the very first episode, while flipping through his brother’s tape collection, revealing artists such as AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Metallica, and Led Zeppelin, main character Sam pronounces it “mullet rock”; and secures a new generation of rock lovers.
How could we forget the motif track of the show which is played at the finale episode of every season; Carry On My Wayward Son by Kansas. The fandom have taken up the song as their anthem; in the musical episode of Supernatural in 2014, a cast of teens sang a beautiful acapella rendition to close the show.
Whether 80s smash hits or classic rock is more your jam; or you’re thinking of seeing if classical music really does do wonders for mental health. Go forth and use this list of best TV soundtracks to steer you to your next binge-watch.
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