I was listening to an old interview with Bear McCreary (he’s the composer behind some of my favorite TV shows, most notably “Battlestar Galactica,” and most lamentably the short-lived but wondeful “Human Target“) and I realized something that stopped me in my tracks for a moment. (Luckily I was washing dishes and not jogging.) I know a reasonable cross-section of sci-fi enthusiasts who’ve watched “Battlestar Galactica” – from the ardent fans who can quote most of the series to those who watched a handful of episodes and promptly moved on to greener pastures.
For a long time I tried to figure out what separated these groups. I tried to parse it down to gender differences, education levels, personal experience, geographical influence, anyhing to help me understand how a show like BG wasn’t appealing to all sci-fi folks. When that failed I tried to explain it by saying that Battlestar wasn’t quite science-fiction. Maybe it really belonged to another genre (drama, tragedy, PTSD-fantasy-in-space). Then, it hit me.
Keep in mind, I’m formulating this from the people I know and it occured to me while I was scrubbing dishes. But here’s the thing. The people I know who didn’t care for Battlestar were the same people who had lukewarm feelings (if not outright disinterest) in music in general. The people who lit up like Roman candles at the mere thought of the series were the same people inclined to stand, transfixed, when they happened upon their favorite song. (You know the type. Those people who seem governed by their ears and get that faraway look like they’re having a vision when they hear a song they love.) I think that Bear McCreary’s composing was so masterful that it bewitched people who would have otherwise have simply enjoyed the series. I think that, despite the other compelling evidence in that show, that it’s most captivating element was in the scoring and that non-music lovers couldn’t be won over.
So, I’ve never taken a class in music theory. But I’m going to stand by this theory. I’m also going to encourage you to click on Bear McCreary’s name above and visit his website.
5 responses to “Bear McCreary (and magic)”
Ok, I’m going to throw your hypothesis for a loop…LOL! But you know that I adore you no end anyway, right?
I watched the old BSG back in the day (cheesy, but it was the closest thing to Star Wars and SF in general that I could get…and I’d already watched ST:TOS episodes so often that I could name the episode within 2 seconds of the opening scenes), so when the new one came out, and it was highly recommended to me, I decided to give it a try.
Hubby and I watched it for a while. I’d have to say it’s more space opera than real SF…but that argument could be made for Firefly too, and I put that on a pedestal. What turned me off was not the soap opera-ish feel of it but rather the over-the-top woo woo-ness. I can put up with spiritual mysticism garbage if everything else were superbly done. But we just rolled our eyes and lost interest over the summer before the final season.
As for music-loving, I would say that I am. Between the ages of about 9 and 12 I really wanted to be an opera singer. We’re all very interested in music in my family because our younger son has perfect pitch and the older one has perfect relative pitch. But even the music couldn’t win out over the woo woo. 😉
Well, it wasn’t an ironclad hypothesis (I’ve never even taken an intro to music appreciation class!), but I wanted to say I’d have been there with you on rolling my eyes at the woo-woo element, because they did tell the story in such a way that you could point to some key characters and say they were angels. But someone I was watching with said “nah, see, they’re not angels, they travelled through time!” – and I totally bought that interpretation. (I doubt the creators intended that interpretation, but I was still happy to run with it.) And I really identified (embarassingly) with Gaius Baltar’s frantic ineptitude 😉
You are so NOT like Gaius (he reminded me a bit of Dr. Bashir on DS9; they both struck me as annoying little twerps…LOL!)
Ok, maybe one day, I’ll put the last season on my Netflix queue and convince myself they’re time travelers so I can finally see how the series ended. 🙂
Oh, another reason why we wanted to watch it was because they filmed it in Vancouver and we had a great time the first season picking out all the places we know. But then they did very few outdoors/city shots after that and that also contributed to our losing some interest, though not as much as the woo-woo elements.
I never thought of the Bashir/Gaius similarity, but now that you mention it…you’re right! Have we ever discussed Babylon 5 (between you and I, or with the group?)…?
Are you trusting my memory? Hahaha! I recall we’ve (you and I, and/or the group) brought up Battlestar Galactica and DS9 before, but am fuzzy about Babylon 5 since I’ve never watched it and can’t contribute to the conversation.