Music Review: Human Target Soundtrack

Hi all…

Human Target is coming back for a second season on November 17th, which has given me some time to appreciate what came before. :)

Bear McCreary at a Signing Event at House of B...
Image via Wikipedia

When Human Target debuted on Fox in January 2010, I was hooked from the beginning. Loosely based on the DC Comics title of the same name, the TV series follows the adventures of Christopher Chance (Mark Valley, Fringe), Winston (Chi McBrideBoston PublicI, Robot), and freelancer Guerrero [Jackie Earle Haley, WatchmenNightmare on Elm Street (2010)] as they struggle against the odds to help people find and eliminate the threats trying to end their lives.

The combination of humor, action, and a complex backstory that was revealed bit by bit throughout the season made it an easy choice for watching week to week. But there were two things that really sold the series for me beyond the content… the opening titles and the music.

The opening titles used a combination of water colors and a James Bond-movie type sequence flowing characters and background together that provided a fluid representation of all the major elements of the show. All the characters, the main backdrop of San Francisco, and the hazardous nature of the work the trio does together were presented in an artful way I’d not seen done on television before.

And then there’s Bear McCreary‘s score for the series. The opening titles had me from the first few notes – as soon as the flutes pipe the main theme, the orchestra fills in behind, and the horns take over, I was sold. As the season continued episode to episode, I felt like McCreary’s music gave this television show the feel of a movie each week – truly capturing the pulse of the action on screen. Somehow McCreary manages to combine some of the flair of Danny Elfman’s soundtracks for Tim Burton movies with the power over the orchestra I feel in each John Williams soundtrack.

McCreary’s music for Human Target is being released in a couple of ways. You can get a limited edition 3-CD set from La-La Land Records or a 2-CD digital distribution from WaterTower Music (on iTunes). I was fortunate enough to listen to the digital release and was blown away. While watching the series on television (or the recent release of the series on DVD & Blu-ray), I would get caught up in the action on screen and only faintly aware of the music in the background. So listening to the music without the episodes in which they appear gave me a whole new appreciation for these compositions.

Tracks go from less than a minute to more than ten and cover more than two and a half hours of music from throughout the first season. Styles vary from quick, dark, and percussive to moody and romantic to light and almost circus-like. According to a recent article in Variety, each episode featured as much as 30 minutes of music played by an average of 60 musicians – making it the “largest group of musicians to play on a live-action TV series in years”. The season finale “Christopher Chance” alone featured an amazing 94 musicians.

And the quality of McCreary’s work has not gone unnoticed – he earned his first Emmy Award nomination for “Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music” for Human Target.

Whether you are a fan of the show, of Bear McCreary, or simply want to hear some amazing music, I can highly recommend picking up the Human Target soundtrack from WaterTower Music (digital release on iTunes) or La-La Land Records (3-CD deluxe version).

While researching this article, I did some reading on Bear McCreary’s Battlestar Blog and was disappointed to find out that he won’t be doing the soundtrack for season 2 of Human Target. He was not asked to return to the series, since it’s now under new creative leadership (see this post). Somehow I doubt the music will be as good for the second season. But obviously I wish all the best to McCreary for whatever projects are lucky enough to have him on board.

For more information about Bear and his music, I highly recommend reading his blog and check out his website at BearMcCreary.com.

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up Human Target merchandise at Barnes & Noble below!

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Dirk Gently the TV series?

Hi all…

Douglas Adams is one of my heroes. When he passed away in 2001, it was like losing Jim Henson in 1990 – these great people left us far too soon. In Adams’ case, he left us with the number 42, a resounding “so long and thanks for all the fish,” and a couch stuck impossibly in an apartment staircase. These were but a few of his gifts.

Dirk Gently‘s Holistic Detective Agency and Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul were two of the non-Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy related titles he produce during his career. Both of them (and all of the Hitchhiker’s titles) have stuck with me over the years in ways I couldn’t have fathomed in the beginning…

The Electric Monk from Dirk Gently will forever be my labor saving device. Not having time for faith of my own, I would love to purchase one of these robots for my own purposes. Or, as Adams put it:

“Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe.”

I could use this ability today so I wouldn’t have to keep believing that everything will work out on its own accord.

At any rate… where was I? Oh yes…

The BBC it seems is creating a television program based on Dirk Gently and I can’t wait to see it here across the pond. Hopefully BBC America will see fit to share this new program with those of us in the U.S. Until then, we will have to content ourselves with the noise generated turning the pages of our lovingly worn, yellowed page copies of Dirk Gently as we read them to tide us over.

This news comes from Bleeding Cool!

–Fitz

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Interesting News from Syfy about New Possible Projects

Kevin Sorbo
Image via Wikipedia

Hey guys…

I saw a press release a few days ago about some new projects Syfy is working on. Names such as Kevin Sorbo, Lee Majors, Amanda Tapping, and others are involved in these projects. Some sound funny, others are serious, and some I can’t tell which bucket they may fall in.

There are some odd concepts, like Lee Majors (Six-Million Dollar Man) convincing someone to undergo surgery to become a new bionic man… A futuristic Robin Hood… And a They Call Me Bruce-type show that combines Kevin Sorbo and his knowledge of Hercules to save Los Angeles…

But here’s the info from the press release… What do you think?

–Fitz

SYFY’S ROBUST SCRIPTED DEVELOPMENT SLATE FEATURES PROJECTS FROM KEVIN SORBO, LEE MAJORS, SANCTUARY CREATIVE TEAM AND UNIVERSAL CABLE PRODUCTIONS

LOS ANGELES – July 30, 2010 – Building upon solid ratings and critical acclaim for returning hits Warehouse 13 and Eureka, and newcomer Haven, Syfy today announced a rich development slate of seven scripted projects featuring television icons Lee Majors and Kevin Sorbo; the Sanctuary creative team of Damian Kindler, Martin Wood and Amanda Tapping; a swashbuckling space opera and an alien version of The Office from Universal Cable Productions plus a single camera ½-hour about fighting zombies and a dramedy featuring supernatural villains.

In making the announcement, Mark Stern, Executive Vice President, Programming, Syfy, and Co-Head, Original Content, Universal Cable Productions, said: “One of our key agendas is to continue the extraordinary growth and momentum of our popular dramas. Through partnerships with these formidable talents, in front of and behind the camera, we hope to expand our powerful brand by offering our viewers an imaginative next generation of programming.”

BALL & CHAIN
After months of emotional tumult, Edgar and Mallory call their relationship quits. As they say their final goodbyes, the ex-lovers are nearly hit by a meteorite that, it turns out, imbues them with extraordinary powers. Unfortunately, the powers only work when they are in close proximity to each other. Though the last thing they want to do is stay together, they’ll need to try if they hope to overcome the newly arrived other-worldly forces that threaten to destroy them and anyone else who gets in the way.

Executive Producers: Bob Cooper and J.J. Jamieson for Landscape Entertainment
Executive Producer/Writer: Andrew Miller
Studios: A Universal Cable Productions/Fremantle Media co-production

ME AND LEE
In this ½-hour single-camera series, a down-on-his-luck 20-something undergoes back surgery, only to find that the procedure did not go well. Enter Lee Majors, who claims he has the perfect solution. He entices the young man into his ultra high-tech lab and makes him bionic. Now intrinsically bound together, Majors tries helping his new partner get his life back on track.

Executive Producers/Writers: Matthew Salzberg and Jenji Kohan
Executive Producer: Steven Pearl
Studio: Lionsgate

ORION
National Treasure meets Firefly in this swashbuckling space opera about an adventurous female relic hunter and her team as they hunt down — and sometimes steal — valuable and powerful objects to sell on the black market, all while staying one step ahead of the bounty hunters hot on their heels.

Co-Executive Producers/Writers: Dirk Blackman & Howard McCain
Co-Executive Producers: George Krstic & Ryuhei Kitamura
Supervising Producer: F.J. Desanto
Studio: Universal Cable Productions

SHERWOOD
In this “Robin Hood” story for the 23rd century, a young man of privilege teams up with a misfit spaceship crew to right the wrongs of his family.

Writer: Damian Kindler
Executive Producers: Damian Kindler, Martin Wood, and Amanda Tapping for My Plastic Badgers Productions

LEGENDARY
A ½-hour single-camera series in which Kevin Sorbo plays an exaggerated version of himself… a former syndicated television series star. When a fan approaches Sorbo to enlist his skills in combating the underworld mythological creatures that threaten to destroy Los Angeles, an unlikely partnership is formed. Together, they use their intimate knowledge of the myths of Hercules to defeat a myriad of beasts.

Executive Producer: David Eick
Supervising Producers/Writers: Adam Karp & Royal McGraw
Producer: Kevin Sorbo
Studio: Universal Cable Productions

HUMAN RELATIONS

The Office meets Men in Black in this project featuring an office Temp who slowly discovers that his off-kilter and odd-ball bosses at the strange hi-tech “ad agency” where he works are really aliens working on a plan to destroy the Earth.

Co-Executive Producer/Writer: Scott Prendergast
Executive Producers: Michael Rotenberg and Tom Lassally for 3 Arts
Executive Producers: John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky for Ternion
Studio: Universal Cable Productions

ZEROS
In this ½-hour single-camera satire, when the zombie population of Marshall City overcomes the 30-foot barrier separating the infected people from the rest of the city, the Zombie Extermination and Removal Operations company (the Zeros) are called in to keep the peace. When they can get out of their own way long enough to focus on a case, they are pretty effective with very unorthodox methods.

Executive Producers: David Kenin and Steve Brenner
Co-Executive Producers: Chris Provost & Dave Hales

Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in more than 96 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)

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