A Very Eureka Christmas
Composed by: Bear McCreary
Distributed by: Back Lot Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Eureka is a science fiction television series featuring a town located somewhere in the Pacific Northwest inhabited entirely by scientific geniuses working on technological advancements for the United States government. What these geniuses have actually created is a place where anything can happen...and often does. The series stars Colin Ferguson as Sheriff Jack Carter, Salli Richardson-Whitfield as Allison Blake, Joe Morton as Henry Deacon, Erica Cerra as Jo Lupo, Neil Grayston as Douglas Fargo and Niall Matter as Zane Donovan. Like any other television series, Eureka has aired a couple of Christmas episodes during its time on television. A Very Eureka Christmas, released by Back Lot Records in November 2012, features music from those beloved Christmas episodes.
The music for both episodes was composed by popular American composer Bear McCreary, also composer for the musical score of the entire Eureka series. Having received classical musical training in piano and learning how to play the accordion on his own, it seemed that music was definitely in McCreary's future, but it was while at USC Thornton Music School that Bear showed an aptitude for scoring. Best known for composing the score of the Battlestar Galactica series, he has also composed the scores of the television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles; Caprica; The Cape; Human Target; The Walking Dead and DaVinci's Demons, the movies Chillerama and Step Up 3D and video games SOCOM 4 and Dark Void.
The first episode represented on the album is from O Little Town which aired in December 2010. In this episode, the Global Dynamics employees gather together for the company's holiday party while staff member Dr. Drummer (Chris Parnell) attempts to make off with a volatile experiment. As the hydrogen crystal becomes more unstable, it becomes apparent that it will take more than tinsel and carolers to save Christmas...and Eureka for that matter. The second episode is Do You See What I See which aired in December 2011. In this episode, Sheriff Carter and Allison Blake attempt to surprise their kids this Christmas, but a mysterious kaleidoscope wave of color leaves the entire town and all of its inhabitants animated. How will the folks of Eureka get out of this one?
A Very Eureka Christmas features regular themes mixed with traditional Christmas carols. With vocals performed by Bear McCreary and his wife Raya Yarbrough, this album has a fun Christmas feel. The best tracks on the album combine the animation themes, which tend toward the fast-paced funny sounds, with the sounds of Christmas. Think Tiny Toons Adventures meets Do You Hear What I Hear. I had a lot of fun identifying snippets of Christmas carols within the high intensity orchestral score of the show. I have only one complaint - they shortened Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas . I absolutely love that song and was shocked to see it truncated on this album. It's not as if Yarbrough's vocals couldn't handle the tune - I think she did a great job. My only guess is that the song had to be shortened to fit in whatever seen it was arranged for.
Otherwise, I found A Very Eureka Christmas to be quite an enjoyable experience. In fact, I even wrapped my Christmas presents along with the music. Of course, it's not one of those holiday albums with a lot of singing - this is mostly instrumental - but sometimes you just need to hear the sounds of Christmas: the snippets instrumental versions of holiday favorites, the jingling of the bells...you know what I mean. Fans of Eureka will get a definite kick out of this album, but I have never watched a single episode of the series and I can honestly say that this review album is a definite keeper for me. A Very Eureka Christmas is one of those albums you have to experience to understand just how enjoyable it is, but once you do, you won't want to give it up.