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 Posted:   Jul 27, 2015 - 8:59 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

Two years before Christophe Beck joined "Buffy the Vamprie Slayer" in season two, giving him a platform where he did his Emmy-winning work, he had a cult-hit series on his hands: "FX: The Series".

Based loosely on the films (scored repsectively by Bill Conti and Lalo Schifrin, with some replacement scoring by Boddicker), the series brought back the film characters (re-cast) of Rollie, Angie, and detective Leo McCarthy, and a series format much like the films: the police look to Rollie to help solve crimes and Rollie being an FX creator for films, helps out in unique ways. The series last two seasons.

Beck took the oppritunity and right out the gate with the pilot, he started sharpening his chops seriously. Prior to that he had some unknown films and some failed TV series.

In many ways the scoring for the series was like a precursor to his BtVS work. You can hear ideas and even orchestration choices that would later show up in the Buff Buff series.

Now, off to the reviews for season one.

"The Illusion" (the pilot)
Stand out cues: immediately from the opening Beck has a good chance to compose, with a fake movie scene for a science fiction movie Rollie is working on, that has anb alien (unseen) flying through the sky at a building with a woman apparently stealign an aliend egg; it opens with brass and strings, deep drums, and some low swirling woodwinds (reminiscent of a BtVS episode he scored, tiotled "Hush"); the swirling is passed to strings with brass playing over it, leading to a dramatic build then followed by some chase music with closed cymbol hits, piano and nervous chopping strings. The jazzy little piece with solo trumpet and various hand percussion and drummed instruments as we see a movie set (actog as a secondary theme while the credits for the epsiode finish going by). Another little percussion cueh with solo trumpet playing the series theme a little freely. The short playful cue with the theme played on a clavinet(?) as Angie roller blades into work. A soft and some what slow jazzy cue with the theme as Rollie comes back to the shop at night continue helping Lucinda. The Jazzy montage piece as Rollie goes from hotel room to hotel room to try and identify the bad guy; with: shaker, hand percussion, solo jazzy trumpet licks of the theme, and variosu percission additions; the cue essentially picks back up a couple minutes later after they find the man and starting setting things up. The slow jazzy piece with double bass plucks, piano notes and chords, the solo jazzy trumpet, and various percussion sounds as Leo is transformed. And the short jazzy double bass with piano cue that closes out the pilot.

There was a good deal of scoring during the long climax, but while osme of it was good (like Leo chasing the bad guy and Rollie squaring off with the knife-weilding baddie a final time), it was too broken up and all over the palce to really recommend.

Director: "What happened? Why is my alien hanging out there like Howdy Doody?"

"Zero Hour" (1.2)
Stand out cues: the bass line and hand percussion piece with a sort of jazzy feel with some modern sounds as the fake plane take-off is set up; similar mateiral is repraised after the fake crash landing. And the short closing piece.

"High Risk" (1.3)
Stand out cues: the modern beat and a drum machine, piano chords, ascending fortissimo violins, and what I think is a trombone as the robbery begins. The descending solo piano notes with violins after McCarthy's girlfriend is threatened, which shofts into some modern beats and echoing descending piano notes (including a rather effective use of an old synth sound long since died out -- even then) with the trombone playing the theme for the episode again. The beat comes back again with those echoing piano notes, what sounds like repeating staccato mini didgeridoo notes after Leo gets control over the SWAT and situation.
More beat with staccato didgeridoo sounds and trombone (doubled with violin) as Rollie sets up the helicopter crash and building fire; as scenes shift it's aided by tense strings and even brass and timpani hits.

A breif part of a cue not mentioned above had a part very similar to one later heard in his score to the episode "Hush" from BtVS (an Emmy-nominated score). Some of the string sounds vaguely remind me of BtVS, too.

The episode was rather score-heavy.

Aside from the pilot score, musically the initial episodes didn't take off in a big way, but there are some strong episode scores coming, including one or two which may be amongst the best work Beck had ever done for episodic television.

 Posted:   Jul 30, 2015 - 5:50 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

Stand out: the kind of jazzy cue that opens the episode, that begins with a fake mobster film, with cymbol taps, piano, trumpets and double bass (the theme is paying homage to another known piece that I can't recall the name of at the moment). The faked assassination piece. The scoring as heard in the opening, is heard again as the finale of the film of the movie in this episode is shot again.

I'm guessing fans of a couple of his more jazzy films scores would probably enjoy this.

A good second tier effort.

"The Ring "
Stand out: the short opening cue, with solo jazzy trumpet. The cue with the kind of modern elextronic drum kit beat and decending two notes on violins as the bad guys escape from the faked shop bust; it's essentially picked back up as Rollie escapes from the secret underground shop; the cue slows down and loses the beat with some decending notes on a couple trombones, then takes a sort of jazzy turn (with a very nice solo xylophone ending playing the first part of the main title theme).

 Posted:   Jul 31, 2015 - 4:56 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

I had to skip two episodes because I haven't watched them yet.

"The Brotherhood"
Stand out cues: the kind of sad piece after the opening credits where Leo looks at the dead body of a friend; though the orchestrations are different, you can hear this later in pieces in BtVS. The short downbeat sad cue with strings, trombone and solo sorrowful trumpet as Leo holds the badge of his dead friend; a variation is heard at the end of the episode as Leo hangs up a picture on the wall with other fallen officers. The odd jazz-like piece with drum kit and some kind of synth organ sound with quick licks playing the show's theme, albeit breif, as Lucinda enters the museum in disguise. The cool montage cue as Angie and Rollie prep, which is essentially an alternate version of the show's main title cue if it were crossed between the first and season season versions. The cue that has a beat that I coulod best describe as an update Drum Machine, with double bass licks with some additions sounds, as Rollie committs a crime to stop a crime -- it also has sounds slower interludes with strings, trombone, piano; it's a long cue at over five minutes; I'm a little more on the fence about this cue, but I think others woud like it so I brought it up.

This episode requires one hell of a lot of suspencion of disbelief. IRA Brotherhood men want to steal the Crown Jewels of England which are conviniently located (on display in the U.S.) in a low-security building, below a large ceiling air grill big enough for a fat guy to get threw, and protected by one guard who can get distracted by animal noises. There's more and better security than this in your typical Super Wal-Mart.

"French Kiss "
Stand out cues: the cue with a quick beat that varies into a silly paridy as a cheesy wolf movie is beign filmed, that takes a dramatic turn with an explosion and death of a secondary character, which becomes a sad piece for woodwinds backed by strings doubled with trombone as Rollie tries to put the fire out. The odd Irish-flavored cue as Rollie gives a farewell speech (he's Australian, why is there Irish-flavored music?) that is upbeat and ascending with bagpipes playing with somekind of ethnic woodwind. The montage cue as Lucinda is transformed into the dead women, featuring a slow and steady percussion beat with echoing piano and double bass, with a woodwind played over (maybe a clarinet). This catchy modern (for the time of the show) beat with a rising in sound instrument that sounds like it might be a french horn, that then drops two quick notes, heard if breif pieces in the second half of the episode. It is heard in one longer cue as Lucinda is kidnapped; there is a breif minute of no score, then the cue essentially picks back up. Another version is heard as Rollie tries to sneak into where Lucinda is being held.

That catchy beat with the simple three repeating three-note motif is quite enjoyable and makes the score, espcially the second half, as a result enjoyable. I'm tempted to put it in as a second tier effort.

 Posted:   Aug 8, 2015 - 7:34 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

"Eye of the Dragon"

Stand out cues: the opening action cue for the filming of a fake film. the soft cue that opens with wind chimes and a solo flute and moves into a trombone with I think the flute doubling it, as Rollie sees his old flame. Another version with violins and cello backing it; it takes a slightly bitter turn with some harp and a clarinet (the cue is reminiscent of his BtVS work). The slow bitter strings and cello with a bass flute while Rollie thinks as he works. The slow cue that opens with a moody cello bass and some sort of bass woodwind, that then moves into a wistful mood with violins and sparce piano as Rollie walks over to see his old flame late at night. The cue as Rollie and his old flame take a virtual reality tour of a Chinese town by the ocean, with a repeating harp, cello, windchimes; the cue goes into a dark mood with some light trinagle tapping, soft wooden block tapes, strings and deep drum sounds as the bad guys plot. The action cue during hte filming of a climax in a fiction film, very similar to certain action cues from BtVS (like when Buffy and Angel sword fight, distracting her from the attack on the library -- you fans know what I'm talking about); the cue turns into a sad piece with woodwinds and a solo legato violin line under it after the explosion; then a mournful turn is taken with a steady repeating soft timapni beat, solo trumpet, strings and a big cymbol for some soft swishes for the funeral (mostly SFX free), taking a slower pace with strings and woodwinds as Rollie gets back to his shop; the some soft piano, strings and fltue in unison, a clarinet and cello and finally a solo violing with delicate pino chords and a windchime as the good-bye happens (a wonderfully scored scene), and then it closes out on some piano trombone in a ascending more positive sound.

A top tier effort, even the cues I didnm't mention aren't bad.


Stand out cues: the uneasy, almost sems of impending dread, cue that opens the episode withtwo-note acending woodwinds, low strings and deep drum; a weird cymbol rool transitions the cue into a more tense mood sparce wooden block taps, tense breif string chords while various instruments take over the two-note motif, becoming more dramatic with what sounds like that whistling tube sound from the "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" opening titles; deep cello bass, trombone and waterbowl lead up wit ha brass stinger finish, for McCarthy meeting with an informat in a park who is taken out by an assasin over a mile away. The low throbing synth line with doubled cello doing the two-note motif and deep cello bass and soft cymbol rool finish as the assassin gets a new piece of body art a similar cue with harsh single drum hits is head after the assassin finishes having sex with a girl he met while getting his body art, with some harder hits with brass growls as he gets his new assignment and packs up. The cellos, hard drum hits and brass growls as thigns are starting to be set up for a late-nght filming.

The beats in the later half of the episod,e while keeping with other episodes, did bring a little of a downside to the score.

There is a lot of dark and moody stuff in the score, with strings and woodwinds instead of relying on synths to achieve the sounds, though there are some here and there. It works very affectively in the episode and has a dark sound kind of unique of its own. The cue with the quickly-paced modern-sounding beat with vibrato violins and low woodwinds for the two-note motif, for the assassin targetting an unsuspecting Leo McCarthy.

This is not just a top tier effort, but one ofhte best scores for an episodes of a TV series, in my personal opinion, that Beck has done. He was nominated twice for a Gemini Award on the series, but surprisingly neither were for this episode.

 Posted:   Aug 8, 2015 - 8:22 PM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

I vaguely remember the series. Had no idea there were two seasons, 40 episodes. I see both seasons were released on DVD in Canada.

 Posted:   Nov 22, 2017 - 7:39 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

How's the soundtrack situation for this?

 Posted:   Nov 22, 2017 - 8:09 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

While I'd love to see it, the chances are probably grim. Hell, all except maybe "Gunsmoke", of TV show scores threads I have posted, are probably grim.

 Posted:   Nov 22, 2017 - 8:13 AM   
 By:   Tobias   (Member)

Hey, I remember this one. I did watch it when it was on Swedish television. That was the first time I see Christophe Beck`s name however I think I may have a vague memory of the fact that he is credited as Jean-Christophe Beck.

 Posted:   Nov 22, 2017 - 8:32 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Hey, I remember this one. I did watch it when it was on Swedish television. That was the first time I see Christophe Beck`s name however I think I may have a vague memory of the fact that he is credited as Jean-Christophe Beck.

That is correct.

I'm interviewing him next month, and just realized there's a TON of his stuff I haven't seen or heard yet. This one, I HAVE heard and seen, thankfully, but it's been so long. Strange that no soundtrack ever was in the pipeline.

 Posted:   Nov 22, 2017 - 8:36 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

I think he was at the time, but re-runs have him sans "Jean".

 Posted:   Mar 17, 2018 - 12:14 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

"Bad Influence" (1.19)

  • 0:00 in.
  • 5:44 in.
  • 11:48 in. A simple repeating beat with some piano smashing about. It picks back up twice with som other ideas, as well as changing the beat pattern.
  • 15:16 in.
  • About 17:30 in.
  • 33:39 in.
  • 38:03 in.

     Posted:   Aug 2, 2019 - 1:45 PM   
     By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

    Continuing SEASON 1:

    "Dingo" (1.6)

  • 0:00 in.
  • 5:08 in.
  • 7:07 in.
  • 15:50 in.
  • 17:34/19:41 in.
  • 29:50 in.

    "White Light" (1.7)

  • 1:56 in.
  • 8:31 in.
  • 12:02 in. And every cue until 37:44 in; yeah, it's just cue after cue from commercial breaks until that point.
  • 38:40 in.

     Posted:   Aug 4, 2019 - 12:11 PM   
     By:   acathla   (Member)

    Hm, I should check this out if it sounds like his Buffy work!

    I really miss this Beck.

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