Underscored

I finished binge-watching my way through all three seasons of Teen Wolf just in time for the premiere of the new season of Arrow, ensuring I will have an uninterrupted flow of impossibly-well-muscled men with their shirts off. Stephen Amell’s delicious abs, however, weren’t the only thing I noticed.

As the opening credits rolled, that familiar, strident, faux-siren sound set the tone for the show, and I realized one of the elements that’s been driving me a little nuts about the big genre newcomer, Agents of SHIELD: namely, the musical score.

I don’t know that I think Arrow is scored with some musical masterpiece or anything, but I feel like there’s a … grit to most of the music that usually serves the show well. It builds on the atmosphere the creators seem to be going for, which is what a good score does.

The music underneath Agents of SHIELD, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be working quite as well for me. Certainly Mutant Enemy is going for a more straightforwardly heroic story than the harsher Arrow, but there are enough conspiracies and broken people and questionable motivations that it isn’t simplistic in its intentions.

But whenever our intrepid agents run into any kind of action, something like a simplified Superman theme trumpets underneath them. When an antagonist starts to menace, we get the musical equivalent to “bwa-ha-ha.” I think that it unintentionally cheeses things up in a way that isn’t doing the show any favors.

Hopefully, the music is just going through some of the same adjustments that the show itself is, trying to suss its place and tone out. And hopefully when it settles, there’s more than four colors to the results.

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