Hiatus Helper: The Walking Dead’s Composer Bear McCreary Talks Season 5 [Exclusive Interview + VIDEO and PHOTOS]
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
The Walking Dead season 5 premiere is only a month away. The last time we saw Rick, Carl, Michonne, Daryl, Glenn, Maggie and Abraham, they were in some serious trouble. They’d traveled to Terminus looking for sanctuary. What they actually walked into seems to be a camp for cannibals. How will Rick get them out of this mess? Or will Tyreese, Carol and Sasha come to their rescue? If you’ve seen the Comic-Con trailer (featured below, for those who missed it), we know that Beth’s alive. But can she make it back to the group? And this wouldn’t be The Walking Dead if someone doesn’t die. Any guesses on who might be next?
TV Goodness spoke exclusively to composer Bear McCearyÂ last month about this show, as well as Outlander and Intruders (check out those interviews here and here). For The Walking Dead, we discussed the challenges and rewards of working with 3 different showrunners, some new sounds he’s created for this season and more.
TV GOODNESS: What is the most challenging part of creating music for The Walking Dead?
Bear McCreary: “To be honest, the most challenging part of creating that show is that it hasn’t been a show, it’s been 3 shows. I’ve changed showrunners twice, so there have been 3 different people running the show and each person has had a different style and wants to take the show in different directions. So, while inherently the show has remained Walking Dead and just continued to improve and improve and improve, every time you change showrunners there’s a growth period and you have to learn the new language and you have to learn to communicate with a new person. Everyone has a different style, so it’s been really tricky for me because in season 2 I was basically starting over and then in season 4 I was basically starting over.
But the joy of it has been that the quality has remained consistent and new showunners have pushed me into new sounds. The show does not sound like it did in the first few seasons, and that’s kept me on the edge of my seat. It’s been exciting for me to be able to keep pace with all those changes and certainly in the history of television, when you change the showrunners, very often you change composers. I’ve been on both sides of that situation in my career so, the fact that I’ve been able to stay on and each new showrunner has given me a chance to follow their vision, that’s been really exciting. And I must say, season 5 is so shocking and so exhilarating. People that think the show can’t get any better are in for a surprise in October.”
TV GOODNESS: It seems like the upcoming season is going to be even more brutal and dangerous. Is there anything you can talk about in terms of the music that’s been different or that you’ve been excited to work on?
Bear: “Sure. Last season all of our characters were spread out and separated and we had these very intimate character pieces for all of them. In the closing moments of the season, we reconnected everybody so I’m starting season 5 in a very different place. The second half of season 4 was predominantly about each individual character. The first part of season 5 is about- I’m introducing some sounds that represent this place that they’re at, this place called Terminus.
So the Terminus storyline has given me a new opportunity to reinvent the sound of the show and you’re gonna hear a lot of very aggressive, distorted electronic sounds. I mean, the sound of the score has evolved one hundred and eighty degrees from the intimate orchestral sound of the first season. And while those sounds are still there representing the relationships of our characters, this new threat Terminus is represented with a new sound and I don’t know if fans are gonna notice it on a conscious level, but subconsciously the opening minutes of the show tell you that ourÂ heroes are in big trouble.”
TV GOODNESS: Any final thoughts?
Bear: “I did want to say one final thing. I’ve been saying this to everybody, I’ve been saying it to my friends. I’ve encountered a lot of fans of Walking Dead that let their little kids watch it. I’ve even signed autographs for 8 year-olds and I’ve heard every possible excuse like, ‘Oh, they know it’s not real,’ or ‘I cover their eyes during the scary parts.’ I am begging everyone: do not let children watch season 5. I’m begging them. Do not. I’m not joking. You cannot do it. I’m not gonna sign autographs for kids anymore. Do not let kids watch this. So that’s all I’m saying about season 5.”
TV GOODNESS: I’m a little surprised people let their young kids watch the show. It can get pretty violent.
Bear: “I am too, but I’m not judging anybody. I watched horror movies when I was a kid, but this is why I’m just trying to let everybody know. This season is different. It’s just different. It’s not the same thing. You can’t let your kids watch it. That’s my disclaimer.”
Edited for space and content.
All images credited toÂ Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Dennis Heaton Talks The Imperfects
Longtime readers at TV Goodness will know that Motive is one of my ride-or-die series, and as such, I am fiercely loyal to its creator, Dennis Heaton. He followed up that fantastic reverse procedural with Netflix’s The Order and is back on our streaming screens with The Imperfects, which dropped…
Kelly McCormack Talks Favorite Moments in A League of Their Own
[Warning: Mild spoilers for season 1.] Now that you’ve had a chance to watch A League of Their Own, here’s the rest of my chat with Kelly McCormack about her favorite moments of the season. Seeing the iconic Peaches uniforms for the first time wasn’t just a goosebump moment for…
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People [streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…