Often, when iconic soundtracks are thought of, it's the ones to film franchises, like Indiana Jones, The Godfather, or Top Gun. Rarely are television shows thought to have memorable or even iconic soundtracks aside from theme songs or musical series, like Glee, Galavant, or Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist. However, there are lots of television shows with killer soundtracks – it's hard to narrow it down to five, so this list does not include anime and is limited to premium cable and streaming shows. In no particular order (except for number one), here are the top five streaming and premium TV shows with the best soundtracks.
5) "Jessica Jones": The modern noir motif is present in every inch of the show, and the score harkens back to the noir basics with the lonely warbling trumpet and almost bluesy themes. However, it still incorporates elements of a modern score as to not alienate viewers into thinking they're watching a 1930s piece – in case the woman dressed in ripped jeans and a leather jacket with aggression issues didn't clue you in.
4) "Stranger Things": Yes, it's an easy show to point to because the soundtrack is so iconic and pivotal (especially to the plot in places), but it's a bastion of pop culture and nostalgia for a reason. It brought 80s synth-wave back in vogue and still has a soundtrack full of 80s classics, like The Clash in addition to strong original scores that are every bit as catchy as "Should I Stay or Should I Go".
3) "Westworld": The music is both cinematic and iconic in Westworld, mostly owing to its use of sweeping yet dark musical themes as well as the "western-ified" versions of popular rock tracks. An easy mark, perhaps, but the score to the drama evolves just as the show does and makes the music undeniably effective, if not a tad heavy-handed at times.
2) "Watchmen": Similar to both Stranger Things and Westworld, Watchmen features a soundtrack filled with both an iconic strong score featuring memorable motifs and re-done versions of popular songs, like David Bowie's "Life on Mars", which lends itself so well to the plot. All of Trent Reznor's music for Watchmen helps the audience to connect deeper with the plot and characters, which is the hallmark of a successful score.
1) "P-Valley": In case you're not familiar with this show, it's set in a strip club in the Mississippi delta and features a main cast primarily of Black and queer actors. The show's honest and real portrayal of the struggles of sex workers in a poor Southern town is underscored perfectly by its soundtrack. It features artists from the deep south and lends an authenticity to a show that's already more authentic than anything else out there. This is life in the deep south, and this is what it sounds like.