Can We Talk About the Theme Music for Making a Murderer?

Somewhere between season two and season three of Game of Thrones I quit. It was too evil and rape-y for my squeamish brain. But one thing I did love about the show was the theme music. It fit perfectly with the show's sinister yet magisterial mood. Fast forward to last week when I'm binge watching the true crime documentary series on Netflix, Making a Murderer. It took 10 episodes to realize that the theme music for Making a Murderer sounds a lot like the theme music from Game of Thrones. A colleague noted that the credits also parallel the True Detective credits. (She pointed out this is also true for real life HBO crime drama, The Jinx.)

Sure, this is likely just television composers and artists tapping into trends. Composer Ramin Djawadi wrote endlessly hummable music for one of television's most popular shows, Game of Thrones, and it's filtered or mirrored in Gustavo Santaolalla's theme for Making a Murderer. And same goes for the credit designer, who used similar techniques to those used by the creators of True Detective.  But if you want to look at this with a bit of gravity, it also reveals the manipulations that happen when real life is packaged as entertainment. Certainly, Making a Murderer is a documentary, but it's also television. Television that's consumable — binge-able.  And just like a movie or an opera, it has leitmotifs, signaling to the audience how to feel about each of the characters real people. 

All of this is just a reminder to stay alert, stay vigilant. Making a Murderer is not a made-for-TV drama. Sorry for taking things a bit too seriously. You may return to your mindless binging. 


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