bear-mccrearyNow we as fans spend the majority of our fandom time talking about the actors and the writers, the directors and the showrunners. But on certain shows, especially in the past decade or so, there’s been another person who I think has become an integral piece of the puzzle: the composer.

In recent years, I’ve found several series that have scores that are just as good, and often better, than those of most feature length films. First and foremost of these is Battlestar Galactica, and the work of Bear McCreary. I’d talk a bit about his music here, but I’m sure a Google search will find you someone else who has done that, someone who most likely knows things. About music. Which I don’t. What I do want to mention is that Bear’s work is very unique. I guarantee you’ll remember some of his work after you finish an ep of BSG, and listening to the soundtracks will bring scenes from the show back to your memory in vibrant detail. He does a great job of combining musical elements from all over the world to create an entire musical landscape for the BSG ‘verse. Bear also scores SCC, and has a pretty awesome blog about his work.

sean-callerySean Callery has composed the music for all of 24, which often just keeps the intensity and urgency of the series as high as possible, just waiting for the right dramatic moment to burst into full-fledged awesomeness. It was actually listening to his soundtrack for seasons four and five that gave me the idea for this post. I find his work produces the opposite effect from the music of BSG: the tenseness and tempo of the show often result in me missing many of the musical cues, so that listening to the soundtracks brings many of them to my attention for the first time, and it makes me want to go back and re-watch the episodes in order to catch them.

michael-giacchinoThe last composer I’d like to talk about is Michael Giacchino, who has done the music for Alias and Lost. His work is certainly the most traditionally orchestral of the three, though Alias uses techno beats quite often, and Lost used parts of the plane for percussion. But other than this, you’ll find a lot of strings, brass and piano in his work.

I’m not sure when exactly people started to treat the scoring of television shows as just as important as that of film, but I’m glad it happened. I’ve always been a fan of orchestral scores, and over the last few years more and more of the ones I find myself listening to are from TV. To me, this says that people are really starting to accept television as a format  to be just as artistically viable as film, which is certainly a step in the right direction.


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~ by Jerk on November 25, 2008.

3 Responses to “Orchestral”

  1. are you ready for this?

    I’m not so sure it’s about tv being taken seriously as an art eventhough that would be nice, I think it really comes down to filmscores (tv included) are the new format for american classical music, or western artsong if you will. People don’t go to the symphony anymore. Hell, even I only go when i can get student tickets or something really amazing is playing. So if people only turned on their tv when BSG was on then the viewership would be way down. Not to mention so many great things have been done in the traditional classical format that people are likely to have more success in the film genre. It should be noted that these people work insanely fast to put out music on a practically biweekly schedule. When everything gets commodified this is how things evolve and I don’t really think it’s a bad thing.

    Two more.

    I would add Mark Snow to your list. Some of the music in Smallville is beautiful even the pop songs they use are sometimes really well placed like that Prelude 12/21 by AFI, I think of Lex every time. That’s something totally different and probably has nothing to do with Snow. I always liked the songs at the end credits and there’s been a few times the orchestreal music has out shone wellings face. Woah, snow has 207 imdb credits. Thats a lot of work.

    lastly.. oh right, I found gaeta’s song while I was looking for pictures for the gay in space post.

  2. Oooh, I forgot about Mark Snow. He’s done some good work on Smallville, and I always loved his X-Files work.

    I actually completely agree with you about the modern classical format thing. It’s that certain producers are now putting as much time into, and placing as much importance on, the score for TV shows as they do for films.

  3. this is also in ratio to the quality of the show. I was watching ANTM last week and actually heard them play chopsticks in the background. My little musician heart died inside.

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