You’re a human being with access to the Internet in 2015, so you probably watch a lot of TV shows. A LOT. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, some really amazing ones will come along, the perfect mixture of a great scenario, talented actors and maybe even a really, really good soundtrack. Those shows do exist. These are their stories. (Tum dum).
skins UK (2007-2013)
It’s honestly baffling that ‘UK’ needs to be specified because the US version was so, so irrelevant, but hey. Here’s a fairly obvious choice but one that needs to be mentioned anyway, one of those shows whose soundtrack has been praised from the very beginning to the very end(ish, not everyone was that into Ellie Goulding’s You, My Everything). Because every episode tended to focus on one member of the cast, it allowed a much greater freedom in terms of styles, with each character having their own very personal soundtrack. From the rave scenes featuring a cameo from Crystal Castles to Nicholas Hoult singing On The Street Where You Live at an all-girls choir, it had everything. The second episode of season five focusing on metalhead Rich even made it possible to have a part-metal (Napalm Death actually performed a gig in the episode) part-classical music soundtrack. (JB)
My Mad Fat Diary (2013-2015)
Why My Mad Fat Diary was cancelled after only three series is one of the greatest mysteries of 2015. Based on the book of the same name, the show was not only beautifully directed and acted but also touched, like skins, on a lot of sensitive issues in a very understanding and realistic manner. Set in Stamford in the mid-90s, its soundtrack is perfectly nostalgic and features every 90s staple you could think of – The Stone Roses (who are coming back), Blur, Placebo, Pulp, you name it – with a soft spot for Oasis who, quite topically, are the subject of a book that’s been released really recently. (JB)
How To Get Away With Murder (2014-present)
Shonda Rimes has proven times and times again that she knows how to make a soundtrack fit the mood of her shows, with Grey’s Anatomy’s long list of tearjerkers (How To Save A Life, anyone?). How To Get Away With Murder focuses on a group of lawyers whose activities are unorthodox, to say the least (and without spoilers). It’s grimy, funny in a really dark way and dramatic, making it a perfect use to goth-up (if it wasn’t a word, it is now) the soundtrack. It featured Hot Chip’s Dark and Stormy in the trailer, and continued to deliver throughout the first series and the first half of series two (the show’s coming back in January), with the likes of Chelsea Wolfe, The Soft Moon, Dead Can Dance and no less than ten (!!) IAMX songs, including a never-heard-before demo (that will also never be released anywhere apart from the show) called Dead In The House. (JB)
The Vampire Diaries (2009-present)
Everybody knows about the terrible love triangle between the vampires Salvatore’s brothers and (spoiler alert) human-then-vampire-then-human again Elena Gilbert. Vampires, werewolves and witches are not everyone’s cup of tea but luckily the real beauty of this show hides behind its soundtrack that season after season has included some of the best hits and underground songs of the last few decades. Every track fits perfectly its scene giving this show more quality points! Mariana’s Trench, Placebo, Cartel, Hurts and Kodaline are only a few of the artists that have been featured in The Vampire Diaries since it first aired in 2009. Drop In The Ocean by Ron Pope even had massive rise in sales when it was used for a crucial heartbreaking Stelena scene in Season 3. (GP)
Grey’s Anatomy (2005-present)
Unless you are living under a rock, you must have watched at least one episode of Grey’s Anatomy in your whole life. But if you are not as obsessed as me with this show you might know that this cheesy medical drama has a funny little characteristic: every single episode is actually named after a song! From rock to pop the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack is full of beautiful songs that will hit you right in the spot and often make you shed a tear or two.
Soundtrack includes Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine, Broken by Lifehouse and let’s not forget Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol and How To Save A Life by The Fray who may have been featured more than a couple of times because they’re too damn good. After twelve seasons the tracks are still picked very carefully to make sure your eyes will water as much as they can. Unfortunately this last season actually introduced the covers as a theme for its soundtrack … not a big fan of them but they still have their effect, I guess! (GP)
The 100 (2014-present)
The series follows the life of 100 kids who were born on space stations and are sent back to earth after almost all life was wiped out 97 years earlier. What makes this show enter our list for the best soundtracks is the brilliant way in which each song is picked even though they may often sound ridiculous. When the guys walk their first step on earth after a nuclear war an unpredictable (no) Radioactive by Imagine Dragons starts blasting in the background. How ironic is that? That scene may be worth watching just for that! Through the two seasons that have aired so far you might also catch We Come Running by Youngblood Hawke and some of the best songs by Radiohead, Disclosure, Chelsea Wolfe and Tom Odell. (GP)
Words by Jillian Blandenier & Giovanna Paglino