TV Article

Sour Notes

Why TV's music montages are played out. Dalton Ross is getting tired of dramas cueing up the ''sad'' Playlist at five minutes to the hour

Video killed the radio star, and now it's starting to positively mutilate the TV drama. The power of pop music on television dates back to Phil Collins' ''In the Air Tonight'' on Miami Vice, but ever since White House staffers started moping around to the sounds of Jeff Buckley's ''Hallelujah'' after Mark Harmon got shot in the season 3 finale of The West Wing (following a Dire Straits-themed season 2 ender, no less), writers have been eschewing good ol'-fashioned dialogue in favor of turning the last five minutes of every other episode into a music-blaring, montage-heavy weepfest. While the epidemic extends from troubled-teen shows like One Tree Hill and The O.C. (which has also resorted to ''Hallelujah'') to even Lost and the series finale of Six Feet Under, easily the biggest offender has been FX's Rescue Me, which for some reason morphs into Fuel TV at 10:55 practically every Tuesday night. Keep this cliché up, and viewers may start creating their own montages — by channel surfing.

Originally posted Sep 16, 2005 Published in issue #841 Sep 23, 2005 Order article reprints