The world we live in is in a Golden Age of television at this moment. It has brought us great shows such as “Fargo”, “Breaking Bad” or “True Detective” with a unique and compelling narrative style. Even major actors like Kevin Spacey step down from theatrical motion pictures and feature in episodic series. Simultaneously the music in television is having a renaissance of its own. That’s why we introduce our 10 favorit music moments on TV.
1. “Hell on Wheels” – Mumford and Sons’ “Timshell”
For us the western “Hell on Wheels” is one of the most underrated shows on TV, especially the first two seasons. The series has not only a compelling story but also so many great musical moments that it was hard to pick just one. We chose “Timshell” of Mumford and Sons because it shows the most memorable scene of the series. Cullen, Elam and Black Moon fight together against the attacking Indians, not only to protect their village, they fight together because they became friends besides the issue of racism at these times. It is for us the number one musical moment on TV because the lyrics melt with the actions of the scene into one: “As brothers we will stand”.
2. “Breaking Bad” – Bad Finger’s “Baby Blue”
“Breaking Bad” is also a show that has so many amazing songs that it is difficult to concentrate on one. But to look at it retrospectively I think the musical moment that is the most memorable for fans is the last scene in the series finale (spoiler alert!). It all comes together when Walter dies and in this moment he remembers the time when he felt the most alive in his life – with his Baby Blue.
3. “Arrested Development” – Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”
Not all great music moments on TV have to be sad or nostalgic, “Arrested Development” shows this best. In the 4th season one of the series´ funniest in-jokes is definitely when Gob realizes that he made “a huge mistake” and the song “The Sound of Silence” of Simon and Garfunkel starts playing. Will Arnett’s face sells it all.
4. “Futurama” – Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (forget about me)”
“Futurama” is for us the best animated series that ever was. Why? It has more than one-dimensional characters (unlike “The Simpsons”), a unique story and of course fantastic music. Musical guest stars were Beck and Devo to name a few. But the best musical moment that made any true fan cry was definitely the scene when Fry stands at his nephew’s grave and realizes that his brother loved him after all and named his son after him. A tear rolls down on Fry’s face and Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (forget about me)” starts playing.
5. “Fringe” – Yazoo’s “Only You”
With “Fringe” we have another underrated series in the bunch that comes from the science fiction genre. One of the characters, Walter Bishop, is generally a huge fan of music and music is the substance (among others) that keeps his genius mind sharp. When the evil observers take over the world in season five and forbid everything human and creative, life and music vanish from earth. Until the day when Walter thinks all hope is lost he finds a CD in a car and puts it into the car’s CD player. Yazoo’s “Only You” starts playing and Walter sees a flower growing in the dying grass. He smiles and the episode ends.
6. “Mad Men” – Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice”
The music in “Mad Men” practically shows the journey of the main character Don Draper, from “Bye Bye Birdie” to “My Way”. The song we liked most is “Don’t Think Twice” of Bob Dylan at the end of season one. Don realizes that he was late and missed his family which has a double meaning in the seasons to come.
7. “Scrubs” – Joshua Radin’s “Winter”
“Scrubs” is a fascinating series because no other comedy show handles the combination of humor and drama so well. Also the lyrics of every song in the series have a connection to the story line. Again it was difficult to just pick one great musical moment but we think Joshua Radin’s “Winter” has to be in the list because the song played in not just any scene. Ben dies and we see Dr. Cox for one of the few times emotional and absolutely heart broken.
8. “Lost” – Mama Cass’ “Make Your Own Kind Of Music”
It’s been a while since I took my old “Lost” DVDs out of the shelf but one moment in the series has burnt itself into my mind. Every viewer thinks that the island where the plane crashed is uninhabitated, but then we see a person in an underground appartment while Mama Cass’ song “Make Your Own Kind Of Music” is playing. Bam, Desmond is born!
9. “The Big Bang Theory” – Barenaked Ladies’ “Be my Yoko Ono”
Sometimes I think it’s hard for funny series because it is more difficult to create a emotional musical moment with comedy. The only song that we remembered from “The Big Bang Theory” is Barenaked Ladies’ “Be my Yoko Ono”. The unsocial Sheldon has a female fan at the university and the music in this episode says it all: “You can be my Yoko Ono, you can follow me wherever I go”.
10. “The Walking Dead” – Emily Kinney’s Tom Waits Cover “Hold on”
Of course zombies can not be missing from this list. After the character Beth dies on “The Walking Dead” a lot of fans were angry because it happened at a time when finally we found out more about her. One of Beth’s most memorable moments is when she sings nostalgically “Hold On” of Tom Waits. Holding on to something is after all everything that the series is about.