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Cable Television Rundown: A Post-Mad Men World Makes Me Focus On Music For TV Series

Friends, it's only been a week since Mad Men went off the air until next summer, and already things are looking quite dire. Sure, Curb Your Enthusiasm is still finishing up its mostly stellar seventh season, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is reliable, and Sons of Anarchy is butt-kicking, dark and heart-wrenching, but for the most part, television is disappointing me. DISAPPOINTING ME, folks!!!

Dexter has gotten to the point where stuff better happen to the central character that has actual consequence and better happen soon or else I might be done with it for good. 30 Rock has gone from guffaw-tastic to gentle smile-worthy, with nary a hard laugh to be found. Saturday Night Live's 35th season is reminding me a lot of the season where Jay Mohr was a major contributor -- when an entire main sketch revolves around January Jones pretending to fart as Grace Kelly on the set of Rear Window, you know things are getting slim. Hell, even The Soup seems to be drying up -- is Joel McHale spreading himself too thin by hosting the show and starring in Community (which, by the way, also mostly disappointed me).

Thankfully, folks, we do have one different lens by which to look at television with -- the musical score to the television show. Starting with the masterfully creepy score to Twin Peaks, many series throughout the years have very successfully used the score to deepen our relationship with characters, situations, etc. Angelo Badalamenti pioneered the methods that our favorite television shows use today with the many memorable musical cues in Twin Peaks.



Deadwood's spare, haunting score often illuminated the dark specter of death and the celebration of life, especially through the harrowing last few episodes of its second season:



Dexter's creepy, crawly end credits music, composed by Rolfe Kent, is, to me, even more memorable than the opening credits:



The witty banter between Lorelei and Rory Gilmore in Gilmore Girls wouldn't have had as much occasionally heart-warming elements without its understated Tegan and Sara-esque "La La" music:



Everyone remembers The O.C.'s theme song, but what I loved the most were its Explosions in the Sky style ending credits (when they changed it to something a lot less epic in the third season, I was not happy. At. All.)



The end credits to The Wire by Blake Leyh (song title: "The Fall") is just a "no duh" choice:






Lost's score, composed by Michael Giacchino, is alternately mysterious, action-packed, touching, and wacky-but-not-too-wacky. It also drives the action of the series more than



Six Feet Under's memorable theme song, from Thomas Newman, still gives me chills:



Finally, The Sopranos' use of popular song left an indelible new impression of those songs in my brain, especially in the series' final scene (obviously don't watch this if you haven't watched the whole series before):

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  1. Blogger Brigitte | 10:23 AM |  

    I love the music from twin peaks SO MUCH. i love that clip, qualler.

  2. Blogger chris | 1:49 PM |  

    Great post topic. Gotta love instrumental TV music! The ending of Mad Men this season got you down, but if there's a theme on TV today that I could listen to over and over again, it would be Mad Men's. So good.

    And that clip of Angelo Badalamenti is soooo awesome/creepy!!!

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