TV is such a collaborative medium that it can be hard to appreciate each individual’s contribution to the finished product, but users (particularly those who are geeky about music) tend to notice what songs get used, and those touches can be credited to the music supervisor. The Sopranos used pop songs to emphasize or undercut the meaning of the on-screen action (shades of Scorsese); The OC used indie as a way of enhancing its personal brand. The latter show’s music supervisor was Alexandra Patsavas of Chop Shop, and her choices have become the gold standard of TV soundtracking, with a consistent sensibility that ties Josh Schwartz’s shows together in a nice stylistic bow. But many other supervisors put their own stamps on shows, and you can see threads running through their portfolio. The Los Angeles Times today profiles Gary Calamar, a music supervisor and KCRW host. See if you can spot the connections between the shows he works on:
“True Blood,” which has its season finale tonight and has been renewed for a second season, is part of a string of shows Calamar has worked on, along with “House, M.D.,” “Six Feet Under,” ” Weeds,” “Dexter” and ” Entourage.”
On some, such as the 1970s-steeped “Swingtown,” he looks for time-capsule hits viewers will recognize instantly, but with something like the quirky “Weeds,” the soundtrack is far more of a pop-culture safari.
“Sometimes things are too right on the nose, you want to go off of that sometimes and surprise people. You certainly don’t want to ever bore them.”
You wouldn’t necessarily group House together with True Blood, but it makes a certain amount of sense. And imagine how those shows would be different with a different music supervisor–if House didn’t have quite so many sad-sack montages, for instance. Like all industry jobs, the position involves more negotiation than anything. But it’s fun to think what songs might bump up your favorite show from good to classic.
Music man sets the mood [LA Times]