Where some other hugely popular sci-fi series are basically stuck in time and space, DOCTOR WHO is blessed by its ability to jump all over the two in an English phone booth. That’s been a particular mitzvah to composer Murray Gold since he jumped aboard the TARDIS’ sassy reboot so many series ago.

Now the CD hand strikes 5 with a two-disc compilation that continues to show off WHO scoring as the Gold standard when it comes to some of the most delightfully inventive TV scoring in any one’s universe, music that mostly packs a rambunctious sense of joy to embody its eccentric Gallifreyan, especially in an age where a hero’s worth is measured by how dark and conflicted his vibe is.

Past WHO composers like Ron Grainer and Tristam Cary did their limited music budget best to create a cosmically epic sound out of the cheesy special effects, which were always part of the show’s charm. Yet it’s doubtful the “new” WHO would have taken off like it has without the producers’ desire to make everything just as much fun, with top-flight production values that had the splendid odor of Camembert.

Yet it’s one thing to have the wonderful resources of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (conducted by Ben Foster), and another thing to have the melodic chops to use them in surprising ways. Thankfully, that’s never been Gold’s problem, who continues to make WHO‘s music blazingly cinematic, no more so than with SEASON 5.

While his numerous episodic selections have their own distinctive themes, Gold ties every musical arch into a splendid whole. “The Eleventh Victim” employs a zany organ, haunting voices and lullaby twinkling, while the rousing strings of “The Victory of the Daleks” could just as well accompany the Brits triumphing over the Huns- that is if the good guys were boiler-plated villains.

Perhaps the best selection accompanies “The Vampires of Venice,” a salute to classic bloodsucking music, complete with haunting Gypsy violins and a Grand Guignol orchestra. But if there’s one episode that salutes Gold’s delight in conveying The Doctor’s eccentricity, then it’s “The Lodger,” which varies MAN FROM UNCLE spy jazz with woozy tango rhythms.

Half of the fun of Gold’s WHO compilations are his acerbic liner note commentaries, which SERIES 5‘s glossy booklet offers again as Gold sorts through the ten story arcs on hand. It’s music that shows off his clever audaciousness over the course of two hours and change. Given the way that the Doctor, and Gold’s music keeps regenerating with even more impressive results for each series, there’s likely to be more sci-fi delights to come.


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