V: The Final BattleA few years before Star Trek: The Next Generation hit the air, composer Dennis McCarthy was recruited literally at the eleventh hour to rescore V: The Final Battle for Warner Bros. and NBC. The highly anticipated SF mini-series had already been tracked with a synthesizer score which met with the producers’ disapproval – not a welcome problem since they were still scrambling to complete the project after V (and later Alien Nation TV series) creator Kenneth Johnson divorced himself from the project over creative and commercial decisions. McCarthy had to re-score the entire show – and fast, with the broadcast scheduled for less than a month away. The result earned him the assignment to score the entire V weekly series which followed – which, as it turned out, didn’t even last one full season – but also earned him a reputation for turning out good work quickly. The rest is history when Gene Roddenberry and his army of producers started working on Next Generation in 1986.

McCarthy’s music from V: The Final Battle is very much what one would expect from having heard his Star Trek work, though the mini-series producers gave him much freer reign. Percussion is actually heard here. But in the same vein, it’s almost hard to believe how much this music sounds like McCarthy’s Trek work – one motif which begins to appear in “Aqueduct Attack” was actually recycled nearly ten years later – or, to give him the benefit of the doubt, very closely approximated – as McCarthy’s fanfare for Star Trek: Generations! On the one hand, I really do like McCarthy’s style a lot of the time, and I understand the constraints of time weigh heavily on the composer of episodic TV. But this degree of re-use of material almost puts him in a category with Christopher Franke, who slavishly recycled samples, sequences and entire cues in Babylon 5’s later seasons.

On the other hand, there are quite a few good cues, including one scene which everyone is bound to remember with either a fond smile or a groan, the balloon liftoff scene as the Resistance members take to the air with a Visitor-repelling toxin to drive the reptilian invaders back to the safety of their motherships.

4 out of 4All three of the V soundtracks are hard to come across, since they’re composer promos. Composer promos are barely-semi-official releases, more likely to appear on eBay than your local store shelves (I bought these directly from the now-defunct Supercollector.com, who pressed them originally). But for fans of McCarthy’s work, as well as V fans (and we know you’re still out there), this might make a worthwhile investment.

Order this CD

  1. V: The Final Battle main theme (2:04)
  2. Lizard Raid (3:48)
  3. New Headquarters / Ruby’s Final Curtain Call (2:09)
  4. Memorial For A Heroine (1:22)
  5. Aqueduct Attack / Planting The Charges / Brad’s Sacrifice (7:18)
  6. The Balloon Theme (1:50)
  7. Maggie Mourns / Maggie And Brad (2:58)
  8. Pop Goes The Lizard / The End Of Father Callahan (3:50)
  9. His Father’s Looks / Lizard Twin Dies / Elizabeth Spits Venom (3:47)
  10. Robin’s Revenge (4:28)
  11. Donovan Really Pissed / Donovan And Tyler Debate The Issue (2:07)
  12. Love Theme (1:16)
  13. Into The Lizard’s Lair / “They Haven’t Got A Chance” (3:34)
  14. V-Day (2:54)
  15. The Doomsday Weapon / Diana Rants And Raves (2:08)
  16. Elizabeth Saves The Day / Diana Escapes / Finale (6:08)

Released by: Super Tracks Music Group
Release date: 1996
Total running time: 52:26