Mid-Season TV Brings Liz Phair Scores, George Michael Cameos, Vampire Blues

It’s getting less unusual hearing favorite songs on television — whether in commercials or on bona fide shows. Less unusual, but still plenty fun: A Billboard article (thanks for the tip, Christopher) looks at some new ’08 shows and their musical content. The ’70s Ice Storm-seeming Swingtown will include an original score by Liz Phair amid “licensed tracks” and key parties:

Created by Mike Kelley (“Jericho”), executive-produced by Alan Poul (“Big Love,” “Six Feet Under”) and music-supervised by Gary Calamar, the show will make use of tracks by Gary Wright, Rita Coolidge and Captain & Tennille.

Then there’s the HBO drama True Blood, produced by Six Feet Under’s Alan Ball:

Based on the “Southern Vampire” book series, the show, set around a Louisiana roadhouse, follows the adventures of vampires who, thanks to advances in the manufacture of synthetic blood, no longer have to bite necks to survive. “The soundtrack will be swampy, bluesy and spooky,” music supervisor Gary Calamar says. “C.C. Adcock is a good idea of the core sound.” Jim White, Joseph Arthur and Slim Harpo will also be heard, but Ball and Calamar are open to new sounds as well.

A show about vampires, eh? Someone send Alan the Blue CD-R. One-upping all the aforementioned (sorry, Liz), ABC’s “one-hour comedic drama” Eli Stone will bring us George Michael in the flesh. Not that George Michael:

When the [“lawyer with a heart”] title character, played by Jonny Lee Miller, begins to feel he might be a prophet, he receives his celestial communications in an unusual form: via pop stars crooning past hits. The pilot has Stone interrupting an act of coitus to answer the call of “Faith” being sung by a very real George Michael. The artist has reportedly signed on to appear in several more episodes.

Wait, Mr. “I Want Your Sex” (whether in a bathroom, officer, or whatever) interrupting coitus? Wham! Well, one more try, right? There’s something creepier after the jump.

Of the entire list, the social-network-based Quarterlife seems the most eerie.

Scheduled to make its prime time debut Feb. 18 on NBC, “Quarterlife” was initially developed by producers Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick as a series of webisodes appearing on Quarterlife.com, a social networking site geared toward artists, writers and musicians. In a meta-digital twist, the show’s narrative follows a cast of young creative types who are all using the site to begin or advance their careers. A wide range of indie music has been brought to the show by music supervisor Jen Ross, including Asher, Early Day Miners and Helen Stellar.

Bands heard in the webisodes or the forthcoming hourlong drama can be tracked down through their own Quarterlife pages, which offer footage of band rehearsals, club shows and interviews. “We’re trying to show where these bands are coming from and give them a personality outside the show other than just being a music cue,” says Billy Kostka, music channel director for the site.”

Wonder how many websites and “webisodes” can be adapted to television. Guess they could combine MySpace with To Catch A Predator. If the trend continues, which would be your favorite adaptation?