The Late Night TV landscape shifted significantly a few years ago with the departures of David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Jon Stewart, and for a hot minute there Jimmy Fallon was king. The Tonight Show host found a way to make Late Night TV relevant in the digital age with goofy games and fun celebrity interactions. But as the political mood soured and Fallon kept playing his games, viewers began shifting their attention to folks like Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers who were aggressively commenting on the political happenings of the day.
But even if Fallon has had trouble evolving with the times, there’s still a place for a fun segment every now and then. That’s certainly the case with Will Smith’s appearance last night, where the performer/artist took the stage with Fallon to perform “The History of TV Theme Songs.” In keeping with Fallon’s “History of” series, which also includes “The History of Dance” and “The History of Rap,” this is a medley of popular TV theme songs with The Roots providing the music and Fallon and Smith tackling vocals, and it’s pretty great.
While I definitely would have liked to see a more extensive version of this, potentially delving into the lyric-less theme songs of the late 90s and early 2000s, this suffices as an initial entry. This video also serves as a reminder that TV theme songs are all but dead now. I don’t know when the shift happened, but it suddenly became sufficient to simply throw up a 5-second title card and have that work as your opening credits. I get wanting more time to tell your story, but you know what, sometimes we just want a goofy theme song.
Watch the History of TV Theme Songs video below with Will Smith and Jimmy Fallon. And yes, they do Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.