Aca-scuse Me? Netflix's Carmen Sandiego Won't Use the Acapella Theme Song

She sneaks around the world from Kiev to Carolina.
She sneaks around the world from Kiev to Carolina.
Image: Netflix

The Bellas from Pitch Perfect might be the queens of acapella, but the folks behind the theme song to PBS’s Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? game show are practically gods. So, it was delightful to see Rockapella’s founder back with a new version of the acapella theme song—but tragic to learn it won’t be used in Netflix’s new animated series. It’s an aca-disaster.


Sean Altman, one of the founding members of Rockapella, revealed on Twitter that he and fellow songwriter David Yazbek had recorded a new version of their trademark “Carmen Sandiego” acapella theme song, featuring guest vocalists Garth Kravitz and Charlie Evett. In the tweet, he mentioned how he was releasing it “just in time for it NOT to be the theme song” to the new Netflix series, Carmen Sandiego, which stars Gina Rodriguez as the trenchcoat-wearing robber who sets her thieving eye on the villains who first taught her the trade.

In a statement to io9, Netflix confirmed that the new Carmen Sandiego will have its own theme song, written by Jared Lee Gosselin and sung by Raquel Castro (a small bit of it was heard in the first trailer for the series)—adding that many other Carmen Sandiego shows and video games have used their own theme songs too. We also reached out to Altman for additional comment and will update should we hear back.

The song was originally written for the PBS game show Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, which was based on an educational computer game. It was an aca-hit, with Rockapella gaining popularity as a result with appearances on Whoopi Goldberg’s comedy special, as well as Jay Leno’s New Year’s Eve Tonight Show episode in 1992. Decades later, the song is still one of the first things you think of when you hear the words “Carmen Sandiego.” It’s an iconic ode to nostalgia, created by a group that helped pave the way for the modern popularity of acapella groups like Pentatonix. And once you first hear it, it will never get out of your head.

Carmen Sandiego debuts on Netflix January 18.

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It sucks, but the original (and pretty damn good) Carmen show didn’t use it, so it’s not like it hasn’t happened already.

Damn. I’m gonna go see if the original cartoon was ever released on DVD.