8 Composers…

Television scores set the tone of a show. They should be unobtrusive while also enhancing each scene. Many of these guys are actually more well-known for their movie soundtracks, but they have also composed some of my favorite music for television.

1. Bear McCreary
Battlestar Gallactica, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Eureka, DaVinci’s Demons, Defiance, Constantine, Black Sails, The Walking Dead, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Outlander
This clip explains how he created a very cool piece of music for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in season two that syncs with the actor’s performance:

2. W.G. Snuffy Walden
Thirtysomething, The Wonder Years, My So-Called Life, Roseanne, Sports Night, Once and Again, Felicity, The West Wing, Men of a Certain Age, Friday Night Lights, Nashville, Aquarius
This list does not come close to all the shows he has worked on, but I tried to pick out the titles that were most well-known. This is the opening theme to Friday Night Lights:

3. Christophe Beck
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, The Practice
A selection from season two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

4. Michael Kamen
From the Earth to the Moon, Band of Brothers
The opening theme to From the Earth to the Moon (which gives me chills every time):

5. Thomas Newman
Boston Public, Angels in America, Six Feet Under, The Newsroom
The opening theme to Six Feet Under:

6. David Buckley
The Good Wife, Proof
From my favorite season five episode of The Good Wife:

7. Mark Isham
Chicago Hope, The Black Donnellys, Mob City, Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, American Crime
A selection from the first season of Once Upon a Time

8. John Williams
Gilligan’s Island, Jack & Bobby, Star Wars: The Clone Wars
This one is cheating a little bit because most of his television composing credits are actually themes he wrote for movies, but the Jack & Bobby opening credits are some of my favorites ever, so I have included him on this list.

You should also check out the music of Bob Thiele Jr, Gustavo Santaolalla, Brendan McCreary, Ramin Djawadi, Jeff Beal, and T-Bone Burnett. I tried very hard to find at least a few female composers working in television but was horribly unsuccessful. If you have any favorites, please let me know in the comments!

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