A good movie or show is made all the more memorable by a great soundtrack. If it’s a forgettable piece of work with a terrific soundtrack, you’ll still remember it. There are a whole lot of TV shows, both excellent and middling, with fantastic soundtracks. Here’s a list of nine shows that have music you’ll keep coming back to.

‘Big Little Lies’

Big Little Lies has a soundtrack that sticks in your ears from the start. The show’s theme song, Cold Little Heart, is hauntingly melodious. Moreover, Madeline’s little daughter Chloe and Jane’s son Ziggy have surprisingly good taste in vintage music on the show, ensuring that music is not just a part of the background, but also of the characters’ lives. Add in popular songs by Elvis Presley, Frank Ocean, Joan Jett and Jimmy Ruffin and you understand why the soundtrack of this series is so popular.
Creator: David E. Kelley
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, Laura Dern
Seasons: 2 (2017-2019)
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar

‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’

Whisk yourself back to the mid 1950s with the soundtrack of this absolutely heartwarming show. Its mix of delightful songs such as A Wonderful Day Like Today and In Old Peking define its sprightly central character, Midge Maisel. There’s often a deliberate contrast between the music and what’s unfolding on screen, such as the scene where Midge is moving out of her home, with the song Happy Days Are Here Again playing in the background. The soundtrack is full of songs by singers such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Fred Astaire.
Creator: Amy Sherman-Palladino
Cast: Rachel Brosnahan, Alex Borstein, Michael Zegen, Marian Hinkle
Seasons: 3 (2017-2019)
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

‘Sex Education’

The soundtrack of this revolutionary show on sex ed, identity and diversity, is a reflection of its premise. It features an array of bold, raunchy numbers such as Do Ya Think I’m Sexy by Rod Stewart, Hanky Panky by Tommy James & The Shondells and more. Season two has a bunch of catchy songs by Salt-N-Pepa, Ezra Furman and Fleetwood Mac. Read our review of season two here.
Creator: Laurie Nunn
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Ncuti Gatwa, Emma Mackey
Seasons: 2 (2019-2020)
Streaming on: Netflix

‘Money Heist’

Yes, we know. You’re probably singing Bella Ciao even as you read this. That just goes to show how popular the soundtrack of this gripping TV series truly is. Each song is chosen to add to the drama or highlight a particular character’s lows and this is done beautifully. Bella Ciao for instance has multiple variations throughout the series, while the theme song, My Life Is Going On, has both depth and meaning. Season four boasts an impressive mix of songs from artists like Umberto Tozzi, Van Morrison and more. Read our review of season four here.
Creator: Álex Pina
Cast: Úrsula Corberó, Álvaro Morte, Itziar Ituño, Pedro Alonso, Paco Tous, Alba Flores
Seasons: 4 (2017-2020)
Streaming on: Netflix

‘Stranger Things’

‘Mouthbreathers’ and smart kids aren’t the only reason Stranger Things is a show that stays with you long after the end credits disappear from your screen. The soundtrack of this sci-fi thriller is equally impactful. A large chunk of its music has been composed by Kylie Dixon and Michael Stein, who also produced music for a thriller film called The Guest (2014), including the popular opening theme. Additionally, the show features a number of hits in every season, including ones by The Clash, Queen, Madonna, Patsy Cline and more.
Creator: The Duffer Brothers
Cast: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaeten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin
Seasons: 3 (2016-2019)
Streaming on: Netflix

‘This Is Us’

When it comes to building up emotions with the perfect song, This Is Us sure takes the cake. Season four of this popular family drama series was no different. With the arrival of some new characters, this season offered the perfect mix of pop songs and indie tracks, along with a beautiful original called Memorized by Blake Stadnik, who plays Kate’s son Jack. From Kris Kristofferson’s Loving Her Was Easier, which perfectly offsets Randall’s anxiety and recurring nightmares to the classic So Long, Marianne which holds so much meaning for so many characters, there’s plenty of soulful music in this season to set off the waterworks!
Creator: Dan Fogelman
Cast: Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz
Seasons: 4 (2016-2020)
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar

‘Little Fires Everywhere’

In this drama miniseries, music is everywhere. The songs span hip-hop, soul and indie rock and moreover, music is a part of the characters’ existence. The children on the show can be found listening to songs by everyone from The Velvet Underground to Aretha Franklin. Seeing as the show is set in the 90s, the soundtrack includes plenty of songs from this era, including ones by TLC and Chumbawamba.
Creator: Liz Tigelaar
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, Joshua Jackson, Rosemarie DeWitt
Seasons: 1 (2020)
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar

‘Mrs. America’

This impressive new show on Disney+ Hotstar is set in 1970s America, during the time of the Equal Rights Amendment issue. The soundtrack of the series does justice to the time period that it’s set in, featuring songs from The Temptations and Sly and The Family Stone among others. What’s interesting to note is that the opening theme of the show is A Fifth of Beethoven, a disco instrumental of the great’s most famous composition, put together by Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band in the 1970s. Read our review here.
Creator: Dahvi Waller
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba, Elizabeth Banks, John Slattery
Seasons: 1 (2020)
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar

‘Russian Doll’

This dark comedy has a pretty impressive soundtrack that flows in perfectly with its unique premise. The songs also shed light on the central character Nadia’s personal journey and her emotions. From 60s’ hits and French pop to psychedelic rock and more, Russian Doll’s soundtrack packs a punch. Harry Nilsson’s song Gotta Get Up keeps repeating itself with reason, until it’s pleasantly playing in the back of your mind.
Creators: Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, Amy Poehler
Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Greta Lee, Yul Vazquez, Charlie Barnett, Elizabeth Ashley
Seasons: 1 (2019)
Streaming on: Netflix

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