In last week’s Thursday Thirteen post I celebrated the oft-ignored film score, taking you lucky readers on a trip that took in Transforming robots, hungry dinosaurs, mythical sea beasts, time-travelling trains and political assassinations.
Today, I take you on a journey even more exciting. A journey through vampire slayers, immortal Time Agents, ancient magicians, genius filled towns and Canadian Mounties. For today, we celebrate the even more ignored genre that is the television score.
Honestly, how many of you ever take notice of the music that scores your favourite television shows? Because if you don’t, you really should. For even though it’s composed on a much lower budget than film scores and with far less time, it can be equally as impressive.
As these thirteen beautiful tracks prove.
The Majestic Tale [of a Madman in a Box] (Doctor Who) – Murray Gold
There are so many tracks I could have chosen from the soundtrack to Doctor Who to showcase the genius of Murray Gold. So why choose a track from my most disliked season? Simple. This is an astonishing piece of music for a television show and fast becoming one of my favourite instrumental tracks of all time.
I cannot get enough of it.
Slayer’s Elegy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) – Christophe Beck
In similar fashion to Murray Gold’s work on Doctor Who, there are dozens of tracks I could have chosen from Beck’s work on Buffy, but my choice had to be this magnificent piece from the season three episode The Wish. A track I have loved for nearly half my life.
Up and Down Stairs (24) – Sean Callery
Granted the show – especially its dubious gender politics and stance on torture – is often maligned, but there is no denying the brilliance of Sean Callery’s hypnotic score. Only this composer could make running up and stairs so much fun.
Finale; Season 2 (Merlin) – Rob Lane & Rohan Stevenson
As I peer down this list it’s interesting to see how many British shows feature. Perhaps it’s because British Television is the best in the world, perhaps it’s just mere coincidence, perhaps it’s just that the British compose the best television scores.
Whatever the reason, there is no denying the power and beauty of this track from the season 2 finale of Merlin.
Captain Jack’s Theme (Torchwood) – Ben Foster
My second favourite television ‘hero’ theme of all time!
Sherlock Theme (Sherlock) – David Arnold & Michael Price
I have nothing to say about this other than…superb!
The Funeral (Firefly) – Greg Edmonson
The show may be placed second on my “Most Overrated Television Shows of All Time” list, but the score definitely isn’t.
Beautiful. Haunting. Exquisite.
The King’s Arrival (Game of Thrones) – Ramin Djawadi
I may not be as ‘into’ this show as many other people are but it is a magnificent piece of television with a tremendous musical score.
Suite One (Band of Brothers) – Michael Kamen
The only show on his list that I have never seen, but I have listened to the soundtrack many, many times. One of these days I will get around to watching the show to see the visuals that go with the music. But as with all great instrumental scores, all you need to do is close your eyes and allow the magic of the music to tell the story itself.
Through the Vortex (Eureka) – Bear McCreary
Certainly, the show is hardly all that well-known or watched, but it is wonderful slice of fun and McCreary’s score is just sublime.
Cabin Music (Due South) – Jay Semko
This Canadian gem has long been a personal favourite television show and the inspired musical score some of my all time favourites. This track inparticular has been listened to thousands of times throughout my life and was pride of place on my mixed tape that I took backpacking around Scotland way back in 1999. An absolute classic.
Love Theme (True Blood) – Nathan Barr
I switched off this show with season four but the music remains something truly special in the world of television.
May the Best World Win (Fringe) – Chris Tilton
A show I used to hate. In fact, when I first watched the first season I could only get half a dozen episodes in before I threw the library DVD across the room because I was so frustrated by how boring, tedious and utterly shite the show was. Ditto for season two. But then I watched season three…and perhaps it was Fauxlivia, perhaps it was Walternate, perhaps it was the inspired nineteenth episode…and completely fell in love with it.
Within four days of watching the third season I had gone back and watched seasons one and two in their entirety and re-watched the entire of season three. Now, having polished off Season Four recently, am eager to see the fifth (and final) season and will punish anyone who reveals any spoilers with absolute severity. The score, including the theme, is some of the finest currently on television.
(I’m being deadly serious about that. I HATE spoilers and have never been able to understand why people invest so much time wanting to know what is going to happen in a show!)
~ and a bonus track ~
This is Gallifrey…This is Home (Doctor Who) – Murray Gold
Yep, this makes today’s Thursday Thirteen post Thursday Fourteen, but I don’t care. This piece of music is one of my all time favourite pieces of television score of all time. I used to love it so much I had it as my telephone ring tone…frequently letting the phone ring for extended periods of time before answering purely so I could relish in Gold’s brilliance.
Simply beautiful :)
What about you? Are there any TV scores (or composers) that rock your world?