I talked about how much less music In Treatment has than its parent Israeli series, but while that’s still true, other episodes this season will have a little more background music than the premiere episode, and more music than is usual for an HBO series. In an interview with Alan Sepinwall, director Paris Barclay explains that the show has started to embrace the idea of using mood music under dialogue, something that doesn’t usually happen on HBO:
“Because it’s a half hour and it’s just talk, I think a little music helps differentiate the whole afternoon and helps emphasize something,” says Barclay. “There’s going to be more music this year than last year. I think we have probably found music is more helpful than we thought. For a normal person, it’s a hard thing to listen to, just people talking. It helps highlight, puts a little halo on it, invests it with a different emotion than what is being said, in the same way that we’re doing much more with lighting this season, so that every episode is at a different time of day that’s lit for a different time of day.”
Knowing when to use and not use music is a tricky thing, and if many network dramas go too far in one direction, some cable dramas probably could use more music than they have, so it’s interesting to see how In Treatment is still trying to find the right mix (in every sense of the word).