Recently, I saw a couple of complaints - in TV Guide and TVSquad.com, among them - about the use of musical montages at the end of TV show episodes. Once in a while it was quite effective, but that episode of 'The West Wing' after Mark Harmon's character was gunned down? That seems to be when the dam burst and suddenly everybody was doing it. ('Rescue Me' is one of the heavy hitters in this trend; every episode ends that way.)
And to make it more grating, that song "Hallelujah" seems to be the popular choices, used in three different programs so far.
When it comes to musical montages that end an episode, 'Lost' can be like that as well. But for only a few episodes did they use prerecorded songs, and it was a natural part of the scene - playing on the CD player that Hurley had.
But suddenly it ended; abruptly in the middle of a song because Hurley's batteries finally died. Now THAT was effective.
Since then, they've relied on using the original music from the show's composer, Michael Giacchino, and it has been what sets 'Lost' apart from the other shows with their musical montages at the end. We come into that music hearing it for the first time, with no preconceived memories attached to it. And the image and music blend together to form the complete emotional experience for the viewers.
Watch that scene from near the end of last season as the raft was launched and everybody said good-bye; doesn't it sweep you up like the raft is swept out to sea on the waves? I'm not the most emotional fellow in the ward, but after all the times I've watched it, I still find myself tearing up with a lump in my throat.
It happened again this past week as Hurley played Santa and passed out the food among the 40 or so "lostaways".
I know it's not just the music; the acting by all concerned (but special mentions for Emilie de Ravin and L. Scott Caldwell for their contributions during the scene) plays a major role in creating that emotion.
But the power comes from the music, which is as spare and piercing and beautiful as that composed by George Winter: sparse piano notes and some strings. That's all that was needed to make it work for me.
I'm just sayin' is all.