Thank you, Lara St. John, for this amusing post about the (terrible) music to Game of Thrones. As always, DTM's slogan remains "Save Commercial Music" and her offer of genuine cello is a step in the right direction.
I wish that tune was a bit better, though. A favorite CD to play at parties is TV Guide: 50 All-Time Favorite TV Themes, covering the years 1953 to 2002, and the last ten are so much worse than the previous 40. More recently I don't like the themes of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, or House of Cards, either.
What is my most recent favorite theme? I have a Pavlovian response to Buffy mostly because I adore the show, but it also has some really unusual harmonic movement (admittedly of the bar chord "metal" type). Sherlock's main title is cookie-cutter but the incidental music is tuneful and memorable. Certain jazz musicians like Bear McCreary's work: Caprica in particular is distinctive.
Probably I'd need to go back a few decades to find themes I really respected as serious composition. Some of the Brits were wonderful: Howard Goodall for Mr. Bean (I recorded that with Bill McHenry), Carl Davis for The Day the Universe Changed, Geoffrey Burgon for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Dudley Simpson for Blake's 7, Barrington Pheloung for Inspector Morse.
Related twitter chatter from Ted Reichman alerted me to this grim Deadline article about "Self-financing composers" in high-end TV. Good lord. SAVE COMMERCIAL MUSIC.