Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has turned out to be a pretty good TV show. That's something of a surprise. But what's less of a surprise is that the soundtrack is good, too.
This is because the composer is Bear McCreary, who did such fine work on the retooled version of Battlestar Galactica. In fact, his work here might be even better.
This CD dishes up a heapin' helpin' of his soundtrack efforts. McCreary's work is usually pretty thoughtful, but he can pull off some surprises. "Atomic Al's Merry Melody" sounds like Danny Elfman meets Carl Stalling, and "Motorcycle Robot Chase," a crazed mashup with Captain Ahab, is my personal favorite on the album. The point is, McCreary has room to stretch out, and he takes advantage of this time after time.
McCreary wisely doesn't try to outdo Brad Fidel, composer of the 1984 film that launched the franchise, although there are echoes of that movie's' music here—instead he concentrates on melody and underscoring the program's more moody and dramatic moments, with themes pointing up compassion, struggle and defeat. He's real good at this. In addition, there are two non-Bear pieces: Shirley Manson's opening cut, which sounds better each time I hear it, and Brendan McCreary's band's tune, which doesn't. Manson, in fact, leads off the CD, which is a bit surprising.
Presentation-wise, this is a typically strong La-La Land production, nicely put together with a good informative booklet with notes from McCreary himself and others from the show's production team. The La-Las know how to do it. This isn't a comprehensive soundtrack compilation (the Johnny Cash tune capping the season-one finale, When the Man Comes Around, would have been fun to hear), but we're unlikely to get a better one anytime soon. So you might want to give it a spin. At least check out "Motorcycle Robot Chase" and the Manson tune for download.