Focus Features’ Downton Abbey movie, the big-screen sequel to the Emmy-winning, hugely popular PBS series, surprised everyone by making nearly $100 million and virtually ensuring a sequel. Composer John Lunn, who scored all 52 episodes from 2010 to 2015, returned with a score he called “bigger, better and grander,” and the music lived up to the hype. I wrote about this for Variety on Sept. 20 and then did a Society of Composers & Lyricists Q&A with the composer on Nov. 14 at Universal Studios. Lunn, as always, was a delight.
For this season’s Emmy contenders issue, the editors at Variety posed an interesting question: When TV series run two, three, four or more seasons, how do the composers treat their characters and story arcs? Is it best to ground them in familiar musical territory, or should the scores reflect the changing, often expanding, storylines? I interviewed a wide range of composers to find out how they handled the challenge: Bear McCreary (Outlander), Blake Neely (The Flash), Joey Newman (The Middle), Jeff Beal (House of Cards), Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones), John Lunn (Downton Abbey) and Sean Callery (Homeland).
My friends at Emmy magazine asked me to profile three composers, all potential Emmy nominees for their scores for TV series in the 2012-13 season. Here’s the piece about John Lunn, who scores PBS’s Downton Abbey. I also wrote about Christopher Lennertz of NBC’s Revolution and Ramin Djawadi for HBO’s Game of Thrones. Will try to post those shortly.