As a spin-off from the immensely popular BBC series “Doctor Who”, “Torchwood” has taken on a life of its own. The five episode third season (or series I should say), subtitled “Children of Earth” continues the run of success this spin-off has had. Although music is not always recognized for its ability to stir emotion and push a storyline beyond what it can achieve on its own, some television music is impossible to ignore. Ben Foster – who has worked on the series since it began, has provided just such music. And as film music journalist Michael Beek mentions in the liner notes for the soundtrack to this 5-part series, Ben Foster “has produced an expansive score… which manages to be edgy, exciting and downright beautiful in places…” In this brief sentence, Beek has captured Foster’s work on “Children of Earth,” which is one of the most epic television scores I’ve ever heard.

As longer tracks like “Judgement Day” (my favorite on the album) showcase, Foster raises the level of dramatic moments without forcing anything. His music here is both expressive and, to steal Beek’s word, expansive. There’s over an hour of music included on this album and though the majority of it is in one or two minute snippets, there’s still a very clear theme that ties these 40 tracks together. In fact, Foster has commented on the fact that because this series was aired as five one hour episodes on consecutive days it gave him more opportunities to push thematic elements of his music along; and he’s taken every opportunity he was given, not only giving characters themes but giving certain actions and events themes as well. For more commentary on the thematic elements of this score, as well as a brief breakdown of each “day” of music, the liner notes in this album are unbeatable in providing interesting and memorable information.

Like the best composition work, Foster’s work here expertly captures emotions and plot dynamics without requiring the actual scenes to play out before the audience. It’s the kind of score that can be put on and enjoyed by fans of the series and those who have never even heard of “Doctor Who” – wait, who are those people? – alike. The action-packed dramatic tracks like “Breaking the Connection” are equally matched in soft, contemplative pieces like “Jack’s Secret.” After working on the previous two seasons of “Torchwood” it’s clear that Foster has gotten into his groove here. This is easily the best soundtrack of the series, and in fact, one of the best current television soundtracks period.

Zach’s Rating: A
Perfect For: Any fan of television scores, but fans of Torchwood should buy this album without hesitation
Stay Away if: You look for scores with lengthy tracks rather than numerous short tracks

To purchase the soundtrack for Torchwood Children of Earth, visit Amazon

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