Why Outlander Is Bear McCreary's Breakout To Stardom

Written by: Blake Larsen

Occasionally, Mary and I would like to get involved with the Blog too!  God knows, we already talk too much on the podcast, but there are some ideas that I want to publish immediately without having to get the whole studio ready and my two kids to sleep!  Plus, it gives me an excuse to avoid my actual job while I type this at my desk.  Ok - onto the whole point of this...

Outlander is going to be Bear McCreary's slingshot into stardom.  True, he is already kinda big time - with shows like DaVinci's Demons, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Walking Dead etc., all under his belt.  Hell, he's already even won an Emmy for DaVinci's Demons!  But, there's something about his enthusiasm (and almost a surefire Emmy winner) for his work on Outlander.

Take a look at the video I embedded above.  This was ALL McCreary's work AND idea.  He just really loves the effing bagpipes man.

Consider his past projects though. Yes, did the Governor's Theme on The Walking Dead blow my doors off? You bet.  Is the DaVinci's Demons composition good too? Yeah.  But, here's the rub - The Walking Dead is mostly all tone music (setting the scene) so nothing ever really stands out. DaVinci's Demon's sucks, so no one watches it or cares about it.

BUT - Outlander, ah, Outlander.  It has quickly become STARZ's headline show, and rightfully so.  It's quality writing, technically impressive (cinematography, locations, directing etc.), great acting, and that sweeping score.

You see, very few show are defined by the score.  LOST was largely written with the music from Michael Giacchino's work in mind.  Do you have any idea what that means?! The writers wrote ENTIRE scenes with the idea of Giacchino's work appearing as an unseen character.  Sean Callery's work on the hit Fox show 24 also served as a mainstay and helped redefine the focus of score in television.

McCreary's work on Outlander has quickly forced it's way into the category of defining a show. When you start pairing his quality, with enthusiasm, the method for his name to be proliferated into the aether via the popularity of the show, the financial backing, the unique nature of the work (ie: bagipes) and the fact that he is ALREADY been nominated for an Emmy, this is going to finally put him into the conversation as a soundtrack heavyweight.

Let's look at some history here: Giacchino was, for the most part, in the same space as McCreary before Lost.  He had some good shows under his belt, but nothing that knocked people out.  Then LOST came along, and it was life changing - for he and his listeners (including me)  --quick aside, we actually had some of his LOST work played at Mary and I's wedding -- Giacchino won some Emmys, sold a TON of soundtracks from LOST, and then was asked to do some work by Disney/ Pixar for their movies because of his meteoric rise.  You may recall The IncrediblesUpRatatouille?  All Giacchino.  Or, how about the latest Star Trek filmsMission Impossible 3 and 4Tomorrow LandSuper 8? and most recently, Jurassic World?  ALL GIACCHINO.  Why? Because of his exposure on LOST.

The same will happen for McCreary.  You wait and see.  And then you can thank me for my insight, and Ron Moore for giving Bear the exposure he needed to become the star he already is.

Do you think Bear McCreary is ready for the stardom he will get from Outlander?


  1. "Nobody Likes Bagpipes" was great!
    Thanks for the Bear blog, Blake!!

  2. The music is great and very iconic. Bear has got to win the Emmy and will go on to earn many more plaudits to come.

  3. I LOVE bagpipes!! So glad Bear brought them into the score. Love the druids' dance, the Skye Boat Song, Claire's theme, Jamie's theme, Comin' Thro' the Rye with little Hamish, the fiddle music at the Lallybroch quarter rents gathering, alllll of it.

  4. Ooops... Bear McCreary is the next James Horner, John William.

  5. I enjoyed the whimsy of this piece! Bear's score is so beautiful, and I loved bagpipes long before the Outlander craze. I'm happy to see so many others are coming around.

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  7. And, Blake, you didn't even mention Bear's INCREDIBLE work on "Black Sails". Just listening to his main theme will set your blood to boiling. It's amazing. But yes, I do totally agree - his work on Outlander is THE BEST.

  8. Re watching the Walking Dead marathon during the Daryl and Beth episode's Still and Alone, I heard music that was very Outlanderish. I didn't notice it the first time I watched but it really stood out now. Love the music I often listen to it while driving in rush hour traffic makes me think about riding through the Scottish countryside instead of the concrete jungle.


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