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 Posted:   Jun 11, 2016 - 8:05 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

In 2000 Walker scored a very short-lived TV series called "The Others", which not only last only thirteen episodes, but also ended on a dramatic cliffhanger that as a result was never resolved (don't you just hate that?). Even worse is the cliffhanger was shown out of order and was the second-to-last episode aired.

Walker of course did some of the finest television scoring ever with series like "Batman: The Animated Series" and "Superman: The Animated Series", so naturally I had to give the series a go to hear the music.


A new university student named Marian sees a dead girl in the dorm room bathroom, which nobody else can see. This attracts the attention of a group that calls themselves The Others -- people with unnatural capabilities, like communicating with the dead or seeing threw other people's eyes in memories.

The group of "lead" by Professor Miles Ballard (John Billingsley) with heavy assistance from the elderly member Elmer Greentree (Bill Cobbs).


The show is something of a cross between "The X-Files" (with more darker "MillenniuM" tones) and "Mysterious Ways". And the former is no coincidence, as a number of episodes are written and produced by Glen Morgan and James Wong.

The series is well done, but it has some faults, but the faults aren't really that bad:

  • It's too slow at times and it doesn't seem to earn that slowness or pay off often.
  • There's sometimes not much going on.
  • It occassionally felt like the runners weren't comfortable enough with their characters to play around with them.

    At first I thought maybe there were too many main characters (there's seven of them), but after finishing the series, I changed my mind and came to two conclusions:

    1: The character Warren Day, was mis-cast. Sorry, but Kevin J. O'Connor just wasn't right for the part.

    2: The characters and their abilities needed to be better defined.


    Aside from that it was well written, shot, plotted -- just overall professionally done. I'd have gladly watched more episodes if more had been made. The great thing about the series is it's not one that has a time limit or bizarre format that would preclude it from being picked back up years later, so a show like this could easily return if somebody wanted to try and make that happen.


    Julianne Nicholson nicely played the nieve and kind Marian.

    Gabriel Macht pulled off Dr. Mark Gabriel without error, though his character was a little too one-tone at times.

    Missy Crider did a good job playing the psychic Satoria. This was kind of a big deal for her, as since then she's not had another series as either a regular or a main character.

    Bill Cobbs delivers a fantastic performance as Elmer Greentree, the elderly soft-spoken black man with seasoning in life and his powerful abilities. I really liked this character.

    John Billingsley was wonderful as Miles Ballard, the only person with no abilities. Better known as the doctor from the shitty sequel Star Trek series "Enterprise", a quick scroll through his IMDb credits show this was only one of two series as a main character. He's has some good fortune with re-occurying characters and movie parts, but no more main characters. I see he's listed for the pilot to the upcoming "Twin Peaks" revival.
    Unfortunately, everytime I hear his voice, I think of that quote from an interview or Trek convention where he comments on how good the captain (Archer) looks in those tight pants. LOL. Sorry, I couldn't find a youtube link to that.

    And finally John Aylward plays the curmogeonly and blind Albert McGonagle, who's grumpy and hard to get along with. It's like he was born to play that character.


    There is one fault, before I get to Walker, with the music: the theme music composed by Kaus Badelt. It doesn't work, it's not memorable, and it sounds like a demo cue crossed between the 1995 "The Outer Limits" theme (John Van Tongeren & Mancina) and the "Poltergeist: The Legecy" series end credits music (John Van Tongeren again).


    Now, the main attraction, Shirley Walker.


    The scoring is mainly orchestral in nature, but it does use synth, including dark sound design and ambient female vocals. While not amongst the finest scoring of television like B: TAS and S: TAS, it does, however, offer many highlights that would make for a strong 2CD set. Like other series I have done episode score comments on, the same will be done here, only this time I link to episodes and give time stamps -- so have a listen before the youtube channel I found is gone.


    "Pilot"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dr_SDdGxrQ
    Highlights:
    10:25: the odd but please mino key piano piece with strings. It's short but nice. / It kind of picks back up around 11:01.
    13:57: A meloncholly piano and string piece as Gabriel talks about his dog when he was a kid.
    22:59: the orchestra builds and percussion hits as Warren sees mroe numbers coincidences, which leads to brass and strings as Warren makes his way back to the widow's house and in.
    28:21: The sad strings and woodwinds as the widow's storyline comes to a close, which is followd by a long bit of darkness that then goes to this weird thing with strings and synth female vocals.
    31:39: the drum kit, picatto strings and this clock-like sound as Marian is pulled from the tub
    38:22: The sad strings and woodwind cue as Marian channels the dead girls for closure. It moves as the drama continues, into different ways, but comes to a warm conclusion with cellos and bass for a happy ending.

    Albert: "Did she at least flip me off? I'm curious."


    "Unnamed"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiUDGQ4dBog
    Highlights:
    1:03: The solo piano piece much remenicent of Snow's work on "The X-Files". Soem dark sound design and some kind of xylaphone-like instrument turns the cue dark before it closes out.
    9:00: The uneasy sounmding strings that lead to a cello bass with a solo brass instrument (I think trombone) playing a theme of doom; I've heard this theme elsewhere in some other composer's score, but I can't seem to remember where yet.
    11:35: the plesant cue with strings and harp as Elmer waits for Mirian to come out of class and watches the every day beauty of life; the cue rests for a few seconds and picks back up when she comes out.
    36:36: the theme of doom returns.

    Elmer: "It was nineteen twenty-seven, peace time -- happy times. My family thought I was out of my mind. So did I."

    Satori: "As a woman, it's not a lot of fun when a man knows exactly what you're feeling. I mean -- what's romance without a little mystery?"
    Marian Kitt: "Honesty?"


    "Eyes"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FouapnzmIA
    Highlights:
    5:17: the solemn strings and cellos for when Marian finds Albert in the same theater she is in.
    6:01: the source cue in the Japanses(?) restaurant for hand percussion of a few sort as the guest star of this episode is on a date. Kind of reminds me a little of a Klingon cue from Ron Jones ST: TNG work (on the FSM Jones box). Thee's a variation with different orchestration around 18:25.
    10:15: The tender and sad strings as Albert shows up at Elmer's house. A very nice cue. Kind of remidns me of the slow wistful string eork on episodes of "In the Heat of the Night".
    22:35: the frantic brass, woodwind flourishes and percussion as the guest star is attacked by demons. It's remeniscent of a cue from the first "Final Destination" score. The cue stops and picks up a few times. There's more around 30:20.
    25:59: the beautiful piece with a small ensamble of violins as MArian looks up information about Albert online. There's something kind of close in ideas to a short cue in an episode of "Superman: The Animated Series" she scored (disc three, if you have the LLLR set).
    29:08: another tender and sad piece with strings and woodwinds as Albert is with The Others. There's a little more at 42:07.

    Elmer: "You know what we should have on our web page, Miles?" walking over to Miles on a laptop.
    Miles: "Ah, yeah, just a second Elmer..." fiddling with the computer.
    Elmer: "Bridget Cam?" looking over his shoulder.
    Miles: "Yeah."
    Elmer: "Um. Perhaps I am inclined to doze off during The Others meetings, but I'm certain she's never been in attendance."
    Miles: "Yeah. Well, Friday night, you know."

    Elmer: "He's not seeing the Devil."
    Satori: "Why?"
    Elmer: "Because if he was seeing the Devil, he wouldn't be alive."


    "Souls on Board"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zllY8tVQZEA
    Highlights:
    20:45: the weird cue as Marian is channeling writings in the plane bathroom.
    32:56: the moderately paced suspence cue as things go wrong on the plane. It continues for several minutes and ends with dramatic builds with strings as it ends.
    37:23: the suspense grows more dramatic with brass as the episode reaches it's climactic act.
    41:32: the bittersweet piece at the end as the spiritis of the dead crew look on.

    Kid on the plane: "What are you loking for?" looking at Warren looking out his window.
    Warren: "Oh, the hairy gremlin ripping up the wing of the plane."


    As Mulder one said on "The X-Files":
    "If coincidences are coincidences, then why do they feel so contrived?"

    What's the plot of the episode? Well, something similar to "Final Destinatrion", a film Walker scored.

    Who wrote this episode? A writer of two episodes of TX-F's, a show Morgan and Wong were involved in.

    What did Morgan and Wong write? "Final Destination". As well as Wong directing that film.

    Who edited the episode? Why, only a guy who's edited on TX-Fs as well as projects Walker has worked on, including the final film she scored before passing away. Also including "Final Destination 3"...

    Who filmed it? Why, a guy who did camera work on "True Lies" -- a film Walker conducted and orchestrated.


    An episode like this could only exist pre 9/11. If you watched something like this written for today, the writer would be requiring you to not only suspend disbelief, but turn your brain off.

  •  
     Posted:   Jun 12, 2016 - 4:45 AM   
     By:   Shaun Rutherford   (Member)

    Have you been writing the review of this show for 16 years?

     
     Posted:   Jun 12, 2016 - 7:22 AM   
     By:   ryanpaquet   (Member)

    Thanks for this Justin - I had no idea this one existed and I love Shirley Walker's music. Appreciate you highlighting the timecode score excerpts.


    Would love to see this released in some form one day along with other Shirley Walker gems like this one:

     
     Posted:   Jun 12, 2016 - 2:17 PM   
     By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

    "1112"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMGmxF8npPg
    Highlights:
    0:00: the sad solo piano piece. It's joined by some synthy female vocals and then some woodwinds as it takes a turn for the more mysterious. There's a lull in the music for a few seconds before tying it up. It's probably about four minutes in length. There's mroe of this sad music at 11:32.
    8:30: the uneasy strings and harp as one of them is channeling the emotions of somebody.
    13:01: the mysterious cue for strings, woodwinds and harp as three of them attempt to figure things out.
    15:13: another sad piece for some ensamble strings and woodwinds. It's a beautiful cue.
    21:59: the dark and mysterious cue with strings, woodwinds and synth female vocals in the hospital as Satori finds one of the guest stars. There's another soft and sad cue right after this one when it comes back from a commercial break.
    25:40: another sad cue for strings and woodwinds.
    35:18: mounful strings, woodwinds with a solo cello(?) lightly playing over parts of it. The cue beaitifully encompasses life and death in a montage. It's over three minutes long.
    39:22: another nice cue in the vein of the one before.
    41:45: more strings, woodwinds, harp and piano for a more positive and hopeful sound. It closes out the episode.

    Warren: "Is there any food?"
    Albert: "How's he looking?"
    Mark: "I can't take you guys anywhere."
    As they stand over an open coffin at a funeral.

    The score over all, even the cues I didn't mention, make for an overall wonderful effort. This episode score is certainly a highlight of Shirley's career.



    "Luciferous"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6OFTDN5j7Y
    Highlights:
    29:02: the soft string peice as Elmer and Marian watch the newborn babies in the hospital.
    33:53: the string work in a cue as Elmer explains darkness to Marian (the theme of doom makes a breif appearance). There some nice piano later on before the music loses o na sinister note for a commercial break.
    37:07: there's some tense string work with some marcato as things start to take a turn for the worse. It picks back up after about 20 or so seconds, iwht some percission as Satori and Mark race to help Marian.
    41:28: the downbeat cello bass and woodwind (maybe a bassoon) piece that ends the climax.

    Elmer: "That's a nice dress Vanna's got on," as he rocks in his chair while watching "Wheel of Fortune".



    "Theta"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHRxcXF08jA
    Highlights:
    1:43: a strings and piano piece.
    10:11: another strings and piano piece.
    29:29: the unstelling piano piece with upper octave strings. It goes on for a few minutes with some synthy sound design and more piano.
    41:16: the solo piano theme for Jenny returns with some strings and soft brass as Jenny tries to reconcile a childhood tragedy with Marian's help.

    Miles: "Oh, safety is no accident."



    "Don't Dream It's Over "
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CYFuo20-nI
    Highlights:
    10:31: the soft string work with some piano and woodwinds as Mark describes the girl he is dreaming of.
    18:23: the dreamy synth sounds as Mark dreams about the woman again, this time with Marian helping him in the dream. The delicate piano and cello bass creep in and strings built the pioece up. It pauses for a few seconds and then comes back with with upbeat strings and brass.
    33:13: the solumn string work as Mark is told what happened to the woman he is dreaming about.
    38:44: the marcato cellos as the woman is being targeted; violins join in and the music builds to a tense pace, the marcato cellos keeping a "JAWS"-like threatening sound going.
    41:32: the depressing strings, woodwinds and piano piece that closes out the episode. Unfortuantely second before the cue, it sounds like the episode went into mono.

    Elmer: "Maybe fate draws people together, in one life time or another; or maybe nobody was calling anybody; maybe it was simply a matter of two souls meeting meeting at the far end of time. One empty, the other overflowing. Or maybe it doesn't make any sense at all. Maybe, ahhh ... it just hapened."

     
     Posted:   Jun 12, 2016 - 10:28 PM   
     By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

    "The Ones That Lie in Wait"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nm8uJs7aBCg

    Elmer: "Imagine if the devil knew what you wanted most, how defenseless you'd be."

    I'd advise you to watch the series, but if you are skipping it and just pulling up the time stamps I mentioned, there are two episodes I would not advise to do that on. This is one, simply because this is a wonderful episode and worth watching.

    Highlights:
    12:17: the short moody cue when there is a knock at Elmer's front door.
    19:39: the errie strings with the theme of doom on brass as Satori is paid a visit from the dark mystery woman.
    23:47: a mournful cue with strings and woodwinds as Marian recieves a phone call...; there's more at 24:48 and 30:44.
    36:34: the moody cue with cello and bassoon as Elmer realizes what's happened; the theme of doom returns on brass and in concluded with piano while synth female vocals underline it.
    37:24: another eerie cue, with violas and violin as Marian is still on the phone. The sad music concludes when it starts back up at 41:56, with a happy ending.

    Elmer: "Life ... it's a fearful thing to love that which Hell can touch..."

    Remember, if a malevelant-looking woman with dark hair and blood-red lipstick asks you what you want, don't say anything! ;-)



    "Till then"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzDGUDs-uUQ
    Highlights:
    0:00: This is a very unusual cue for Walker. why? 'cause it could have easily been written by Mark Snow and yanked straight out of an episode of "The X-Files". It picks back up at 0:58.
    7:30: another moody synth strings X-Files cue.
    22:33: another moody X-Files cue.
    30:20: now Walker is back in Walker territory, with woodwinds, strings and urgency as Marian channels and Elmer is paid a visist by a spirit. There's more at 35:44.
    34:26: a delicate peice with harp and strings

    Young Elmer: "The spirit wants to be healed by time."



    My next review post will finish the series.

     
     Posted:   Jun 15, 2016 - 3:00 PM   
     By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

    "$4.95 A Minute"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Axku-wLos4
    Highlights:
    5:57: the slow sad strings and piano as Satori tries to make contact with somebody with no success. There's more at 12:40.
    28:57: slow violins and cellos play with piano tinkling over it, then some violins and chimes.
    36:02: a solo piano playing against some soft strings.


    "Mora"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UniZkKpAScM
    Highlights:
    8:04: Some delicate strings with a lightly playful piano playing a theme for a guest star. There's more at 9:25 and 26:50. And at 33:52 it becomes a little more complex and prominent (there's little FX).
    10:32: Some slow legato strings with french horn and some brass as Mariam talks to Mark.
    21:01: the ominous brass and errie strings as Satori snoops around the hospital.
    22:50: the soft strings flute and harp as Mark is visited in the hospital.
    24:45: darker strings and brass as Mark's father visists him. There's more at 35:00.
    32:32: the moody brass as Elmer confronts an old lady.
    37:52: the guest star's theme returns, exchanging between clarinet and piano. It pauses for a few seconds and then comes back.
    41:22: a nice cue with strings and brass for Mark and his dad talking. It them goes into one last rendition of the guest star's theme, after a pause of two or three seconds, with a soft and gentle good-bye on piano.

    Miles: "Thee Old Hag myth is the one where people believed that, ah, witches or hags could assume various forms and ride around on people's chests while they were sleepin'."
    Warren: "Is that ... something weird?"
    Miles: "Yeah. Yeah, ah, and then they would suck the life out of them."

    For such a standard episode, there's a lot of nice quality work here from Walker.



    I won't be giving time stamps for the series finale "Life is for the Living", because it's a cliffhanger and if you are even remotely interested in watching the series there's no point in spoiling it.

     
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