TVLine Mixtape Throwback Edition: Your Favorite Songs from Buffy, Bones, Chuck, House and More

This week’s Star Wars and Boy Meets World news has us feeling a little nostalgic, so for this edition of TVLine Mixtape, we’re going old school.

What follows are some excellent songs from TV episodes past, complete with artist and album information in case you want to add them to your permanent collection.

We chose tunes that stuck in our memories, but we know you’ve got favorites, too. So check out our TVLine Mixtape playlist — Throwback Edition — and then hit the comments with your favorite TV jams from the past!

SERIES AND EPISODE | House, “Lines in the Sand”
TITLE | “Waiting on an Angel”
ARTIST | Ben Harper
ALBUM | Welcome to the Cruel World (1994)
WHY IT ROCKED | House may not have Asperger’s, as Wilson posits in this Season 3 episode, but he does feel an affinity for an autistic boy who can’t connect with the ones who love him most. Harper’s delicate ballad really takes off after their touching exchange.
LINER NOTES | The song also can be found on the House, M.D. Original Television Soundtrack (2007).

SERIES AND EPISODE | Chuck, “Chuck Vs. the Other Guy”
TITLE | “Kettering”
ARTIST | The Antlers
ALBUM | Hospice (2009)
WHY IT ROCKED | We’re well aware that the high point of this Season 3 episode is “Shut up and kiss me,” but we also kinda dig the song that plays as Chuck rescues a drugged Sarah and watches Shaw fall to his “death.” When a nerd can take down Superman, it’s something to sing about, indeed.

SERIES AND EPISODE | My So-Called Life, “Betrayal”
TITLE | “Blister in the Sun”
ARTIST | Violent Femmes
ALBUM | Violent Femmes (1982)
WHY IT ROCKED | As Angela’s voice-over explains, she’d spent most of the show’s only season obsessing over Jordan Catalano, “until one day… I got over him.” Cue the Femmes’ famous drumbeat and some incredibly uninhibited dancing from the future TVLine Performer of the Week. Sure, Rayanne’s going to rip your heart out within the hour, Ange, but until then, rock out!
LINER NOTES | The video below was released to coincide with the song’s appearance on the Gross Pointe Blank soundtrack years after My So-Called Life went off the air.

SERIES AND EPISODE | Bones, “The Killer in the Concrete”
TITLE | “Keep on Tryin'”
ARTIST | Poco
ALBUM | Head Over Heels (1975)
WHY IT ROCKED | Brennan’s wondering what she should do if/when her fugitive dad shows up again, and by-the-book Booth simply suggests asking Max about her mother – because he knows it’s exactly what she wants to do. Then — no joke —  they break into song. It shouldn’t work but it totally does, making the Season 2 episode a little hint at the pair’s if-at-first-you-don’t-succeed romance.

SERIES AND EPISODE | Scrubs, “My Best Friend’s Mistake”
TITLE | “A Little Respect”
ARTIST | Erasure
ALBUM | The Innocents (1988)
WHY IT ROCKED | The song fills the Season 1 episode’s opening scene – in which Dr. Wen makes the crucial call, “Nurse? Erasure!” during surgery – and then is woven through the entire episode as Turk, The Todd, The Janitor, Ted and Carla all bop along to it at one point or another. Literally well-played, Scrubs.
LINER NOTES | If you click on the video below, a warning: The super-catchy tune is, as Turk comments, “like a damn virus.” You’ll be humming it all week.

SERIES AND EPISODE | Veronica Mars, “Look Who’s Stalking”
TITLE | “I Hear the Bells”
ARTIST | Mike Doughty
ALBUM | Haughty Melodic (2005)
WHY IT ROCKED | Just like Veronica, we really like this song – mainly because we can’t hear it without thinking about Logan drunkenly confessing his continuing love for Ms. Mars at Season 2’s replacement prom. “I thought our story was epic, you know? You and me,” he says, drawing closer. “Spanning years and continents, lives ruined, bloodshed. Epic.” She can’t handle the truth and runs away, but have faith, Echolls. After all, no one writes songs about the ones that come easy.
LINER NOTES | The song also appears on show’s soundtrack, also released in 2005.

SERIES AND EPISODE | The X-Files, “Ascension”
TITLE | “Red Right Hand”
ARTIST | Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
ALBUM | Let Love In (1994)
WHY IT ROCKED | As if Special Agent Dana Scully isn’t already freaked when creepy alien abductee Duane Barry kidnaps her in Season 2 and throws her in his car, she’s got to listen to him blast this incredibly eerie song all the way up to Skyland Mountain. Mulder, stop playing around with the cable cars and hurry up!
LINER NOTES | You also can find the song – as well as a hidden track by Cave – on Songs In the Key of X: Music From and Inspired By The X-Files (1996).

SERIES AND EPISODE | Dawson’s Creek, “A Perfect Wedding”
TITLE | “Feels Like Home”
ARTIST | Chantal Kreviazuk
ALBUM | Songs From Dawson’s Creek (1999)
WHY IT ROCKED | After a long night of cater-waitering in Season 2, Dawson and Joey dance and kiss and exchange “I love yous.” (And Abby falls to her watery death, but let’s not think about that just now, ‘kay?)
LINER NOTES | The version of “Feels Like Home” used in this scene is a cover of a Randy Newman tune; Kreviazuk’s recording also appears in the film How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

SERIES AND EPISODE | The Cosby Show, “Happy Anniversary”
TITLE | “(Night Time Is) The Right Time”
ARTIST | Ray Charles
ALBUM | The single was released in 1959; you can find it on The Genius Sings the Blues (1961).
WHY IT ROCKED | One word, two syllables: Baaaaa-by! Rudy killed it in this Season 2 celebration of Russell and Anna Huxtable’s anniversary.

SERIES AND EPISODE | Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Becoming (Part 2)”
TITLE | “Full of Grace”
ARTIST | Sarah McLachlan
ALBUM | Surfacing (1997)
WHY IT ROCKED | Willow re-ensouls Angel (“I feel like I haven’t seen you in months,” he whispers to a flummoxed Buffy) moments before The Chosen One has to stick a sword in her first love and send him to a hell dimension in order to save the world. Again. How is it possible that this Season 2 scene was shot 14 years ago and Sarah Michelle Gellar’s delivery of “Close your eyes” still brings us to tears?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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124 Comments
  1. RyanC says:

    I had no idea Chuck included an Antlers song, nevermind a song from literally my favourite album of all time… I’m going to give this show another chance! (I saw the first 5 episodes but couldn’t see where it was going)

  2. Melissa says:

    OMG! Can’t listen to Blister in the Sun without picturing Angela dancing around on top of her bed in her room! So identify that song with the show since it was on. Feels Like Home from Dawson’s is the same way, especially since it was my fav on the soundtrack album. (Night Time Is) The Right Time in the Cosby Show..now who can forget not only Rudy’s lip synch, but Cliff’s faces as he did the Ray Charles part? And Full of Grace…..oh how many times have I listened to that and that Buffy scene run through my head? Tears, gut-wrenching and uncontrollable when I watched that scene for the first time. Ohhhh Angel!

  3. Keenan says:

    No O.C? For shame!

  4. Steven says:

    I thought ending the Smallville finale with John Williams’ Superman movie theme was the best way to end the show. Also, playing Mika’s Happy Ending song during the final scene of Hellcats was perfect because that show didn’t have a hapy ending.

  5. zanie says:

    Grey’s Anatomy with Chasing Cars was amazing. There’s also another episode of Grey’s Anatomy that I will always remember, when George dies and Izzie is having her attack, with Greg Laswell’s Off I Go playing in the background, the elevator’s doors opening, George in his army outfit, Izzie in her princess dress…I can’t say that I love what they did to George, but god that scene was just amazing.

  6. Angela says:

    Love the Erasure and Violent Femmes songs. Both are fantastic stuff.
    I’ve only ever seen bits and pieces of “Scrubs” over the years-I don’t know how I didn’t wind up watching it more, but somehow I largely missed out on it. Now that it’s officially over with (I think?), I feel I should go back and properly check it out from the beginning, in part because I’ve heard about a lot of excellent artists, some of which are personal favorites of mine (Neil Finn, the Basics, to name a couple), popping up on the soundtrack.

  7. Luz says:

    Buffy & Angel!!!!! So many years happened and I still cry for them!!!! And that scene just break my heart into a million pieces

  8. Meghan says:

    I still can not watch Becoming Part 2 without crying…I started watching Buffy in the 7th grade and now I am 26. Seasons 1-3 still stack up as some of the best seasons ever on television.

  9. Jon says:

    Some great choices in here.

    One of my big ones is from The Shield episode “Scar Tissue” Season 2, episode 8. “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” by Flogging Molly played over the closing scenes. That song fit that closing montage perfectly.

    On top of that, it was my first exposure to Flogging Molly which has subsequently become one of my favorite bands.

  10. B says:

    For me, it’s all about Ruins by George is Jones during the Everwood finale. Love.

  11. Risa says:

    Don’t forget Ingrid Michaelson’s “Keep Breathing” at the end of Season 3 of Grey’s Anatomy. It was right after Burke left Christina, and Meredith had to cut her out of her wedding dress.

  12. Ally Oop says:

    I still remember that episode ending on Buffy. That show was so good. Maybe that’s why I like Vampire Diaries so much. There was enough time between the series that one didn’t feel like a knock-off (let’s just exclude Twilight from this commentary please). Great characters, actors, cliffhangers, romance, action, etc.Buffy would definitely be a show on my 90s Retro Mix-Tape. Other shows are Party of Five, Roswell, Dawson’s Creek, Boy Meets World, Full House, Family Matters, Friends, Degrassi, Roseanne, Charmed, My So-Called Life, Melrose Place and even Star Trek: The Next Generation.

  13. Delia says:

    From the late, great In Plain Site – Snow Patrol’s Lightning Strike as Mary’s life hung in the balance. AND Elbow’s Grounds for Divorce playing as they fought their way through that dark parking garage.

  14. onlyakb says:

    Buffy,Chuck and Veronica Mars songs are always on my playlist!!
    about Buffy “Close your eyes” – cos that scene was THAT GOOD! and well just when she gets back what she wants, she has to sent it way to save all!! OW JW!!
    anyway love those songs!

  15. Chelle says:

    A show that I don’t believe has been mentioned yet that had great soundtrack moments: Everwood. My two nominations: “Cathedrals” by Jump Little Children; used during Colin’s surgery in the season one finale; heartbreaking, totally perfect. And the second, Devotchka’s “How it Ends” in season four — foreshadowing the breakups of several couples, as well as, sadly enough, the end of the show. I couldn’t ever watch that scene without thinking that the song was predicting Everwood’s cancellation at the hands of the WB/UPN merger.

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