Jump to content
DVDVR Message Board
Swiftian

The X-Files

Recommended Posts

I'm surprised there hasn't been more talk about the X-Files considering the new season is starting in 2 weeks.

 

A few years ago, I bought the box set and my wife and I had been (very) slowly going through the show but when we learned that a new season was coming, we suddenly had to hit the gas and make our way through the final 3 seasons in a short time. It's not a particularly bingeable show, so it's amounted to pretty much watching an X-Files episode every single day for the last 3 months. So with about 10 episodes left, I figured I'd give some thoughts. Most discussion around the show tends to focus on the first 5 seasons and not much after that.

 

The mythology stuff has always been confusing and more convoluted as the show goes on. Even watching so many episodes in such a short time, I'm still having trouble figuring out exactly what the hell is going on. Even still, those episodes tend to be the better episodes because the stakes are higher whereas things that happen in the MOTW episodes are forgotten as soon as the episode ends.

 

Anyway, some highlights and lowlights of the last 3 seasons...

 

Orison So despite what I said about MOTW episodes, this is actually a sequel to the season 2 episode Irresistible which featured Donnie Pfaster (Nick Chinlund), a fetishist who kills women and collects their hair and finger nails. In that episode, he ended up stalking Scully but was apprehended. In this episode, he escapes prison and tries to finish the job. Pfaster is portrayed as the devil incarnate so it becomes a fight between good and evil. I always liked the moments where Scully's faith comes into play. The final scene plays out in almost complete silence to good effect.

 

The Amazing Maleeni A fun, twisty episode with Ricky Jay as the titular magician in a rivalry with another magician (Jonathan Levit)

 

Signs & Wonders Some genuinely intense scenes involving a snake handling fire and brimstone preacher make this episode.

 

Sein und Zeit and Closure The agents investigate a missing girl, which leads them to a child murderer. Very harrowing with the the first episode ending with the scene of the children's graves on this guy's property and then the final scenes of the second episode with all of their ghosts leading Mulder to the ghost of his sister. Really powerful stuff. It's one of the few late season episodes I actually remember from the original airing because I remember Moby's "My Weakness" making me fairly emotional after the episode had ended. The wife was crying this time around.

 

X-Cops The X-Files filmed as a Cops episode. Not particularly good, but an interesting change of pace. Has some funny moments with the agents playing up to the cameras aware of how they might be portrayed.

 

First Person Shooter Awful 2000s idea with awful 2000s CGI to match. The fact that it takes place in a virtual reality video game is really all I need to tell you.

 

All Things Scully meets a former lover who is dying and re-evaluates decisions she has made in her career and life. This was the year 2000, so once again a Moby song from Play is present throughout the episode as Scully wanders the streets in slow motion. At this stage of the show (near the end of S7), many of the episodes have featured Mulder and Scully separately investigating cases. Probably a case of Duchovny wanted to limit how much time he spent on the show.

 

Hollywood A.D. Very uneven episode written and directed by Duchovny. A screenwriter follows Mulder & Scully as they investigate a case in order to prepare for a FBI based movie. It turns out that the characters become heavily based on the two agents. The case itself is boring, but once the second half of the episode gets to Hollywood, it actually becomes pretty funny in places. Garry Shandling plays Mulder and Tea Leoni plays Scully. There is a scene where Leoni asks Scully how she is able to run so much in heels, which then evolves into Scully just running back and forth in the background of a Mulder/Shandling scene. Legit made me laugh out loud. There's also a three way split screen phone conversation between Mulder, Scully and Skinner where they're all sitting in bubble baths (!), dancing CGI bones, and dancing ghosts on a cemetery movie set.

 

Fight Club Generally considered one of the worst X-Files episodes and it's hard to disagree. Kathy Griffin stars as two doppelgangers who have been following each other throughout life causing mayhem whenever they are in the same place. Also features Randall 'Tex' Cobb as her pro wrestling boyfriend with Rob Van Dam as his non-speaking opponent and Judo Gene LeBell as a bartender.

 

Je Souhaite Fun episode with a genie who grants wishes to a couple of dumb brothers (Will Sasso plays one) Scully has some funny little scenes where she is so excited that she gets to autopsy an invisible corpse.

 

Requiem The agents return to the scene of the Pilot episode to investigate more abductions. Ends with Mulder being abducted.

 

Within Season 8 introduces Robert Patrick as Agent Doggett who is tasked with finding Mulder. Doggett is a breath of fresh air to the show. You could get the feeling that the writers had run out of ideas towards the end of S7, but with Doggett, they get to explore a new dynamic where Scully is the believer but Doggett is the skeptical hardass. Throughout the rest of the show, Doggett, for me, becomes the strong point. Patrick is such an underrated actor.

 

Roadrunners Scully becomes stranded in a small town where cult members keep her hostage. Bizarre, enjoyable episode.

 

Invocation A boy goes missing, only to reappear ten years later unaged. Introduces the back story of Doggett's son being kidnapped and murdered years earlier.

 

Salvage A metallic man goes on the rampage. I'm only mentioning this episode because it has Robert Patrick deliver the line "What are you saying, Ray Pearce has become some kind of metal man? 'Cause that only happens in the movies, Agent Scully.

Scully: Does it, Agent Doggett?

 

This Is Not Happening and Deadalive Mulder's dead body is returned to Earth, is buried, dug up months later and comes back to life.. Agent Reyes (Annabeth Gish) is also introduced. She will go on to become a series regular later on. Mulder's character at this point is a bit of a dick, not liking the presence of Doggett on the X-Files.

 

Alone With Scully having taken some time off (pregnant, possibly alien) Doggett is paired up with a new agent on the X-Files, who is an X-Files fangirl. She quits at the end of the episode of course.

 

The next four episodes (end of S8, start of S9) are all really well made action thriller stuff focusing on Scully giving birth and super soldiers out to kill her baby. S9 has Mulder just up and leaving completely, with no explanation from the writers beyond he was fearing for his life. Duchovny obviously not interested anymore.

 

4-D Interesting idea about parallel universes, but the episode doesn't work if you think too hard about it.

 

Lord of the Flies Not a great episode but notable for Aaron Paul doing a Jackass gimmick.

 

Trust No 1 Another convoluted mythology episode, but Carter was somewhat ahead of his time featuring the NSA spying on citizens.

 

John Doe Doggett wakes up in Mexico having lost his memory. There's a heartbreaking scene later on where he is told that his son has died years ago, and he gets to relive that grief again. Of course, in the next episode he has gained his memory back fully.

 

Hellbound Interesting idea about someone getting revenge on his four murderers, with all five then being reincarnated again and again to go through the cycle.

 

And finally some guest appearances and early roles from the last 3 seasons (outside of what has been mentioned already) - Mimi Rogers as a former lover of Mulder's who may not be what she seems, Mark Pellegrino, Lance Henriksen and Octavia Spencer in the Millennium finale, Beth Grant, Shia LaBouef, Anthony Heald, Billy Drago, James Morrison, Tobin Bell, Minnie Driver (cameo audience member in the Hollywood episode), Danny Trejo, the black guy from T2, Grant Heslov, Michael Bowen, James Franco (WTF! Now I have to go back and find him playing a cop - I'm scrolling through IMDB finding these guest stars for the record), Wade Williams, Deep Roy, Betty Draper's second husband, Roy Thinnes in a returning role, M.C. Gainey, Zach Grenier, Adam Baldwin and Cary Elwes in recurring roles, Lucy Lawless, James Remar, Jane Lynch, Kathryn Joosten, Terry O'Quinn (who appeared on the show in an early episode), Don Swayze, Neal McDonough, Alan Dale, James Parks and I understand Burt Reynolds shows up later. There's also a future episode set in the Brady Bunch house (!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I blew through the whole thing a few years ago, and got pretty invested in the mythology. The ending was totally flat, and the second movie set after the show sucked. Even so, I got hooked. So I'm in to watch these new eps, and I'm pumped. I also liked Doggett and I hope he makes an appearance at some point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As long as they don't fuck up this miniseries like the Lost finale I think I can live with it.

 

I'm not expecting Chain Smoking Man to spill all the beans, but he'd better spill one or two.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's set after their 2012 date, so if aliens haven't taken over yet; then, Mulder will be sad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm excited. I had a very unusual start to watching X-Files. It aired on Fridays for a time and I was always out doing stuff on Friday nights. For whatever reason, I was home one Friday night and decided to watch. It was Jose Chungs from Outer Space. I became an instant fan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought X-Files was a project blue book / kolchak knock off and brisco county would be the hit when they both debuted in 1994. Oops

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought X-Files was a project blue book / kolchak knock off and brisco county would be the hit when they both debuted in 1994. Oops

 

Yep, If X-Files hadn't aired immediately after Briscoe County Jr., I probably wouldn't have watched season one.

 

I was a big fan of the show until the late seasons but, personally, I couldn't be less interested in the mini-series.  I can't envision their being much of an audience for it.  Of course, a year ago, I would have said that about Star Wars so....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm looking forward to the mini-series and I didn't watch the original series when it aired.  The style of show is right up my alley though and I enjoyed the movies.  The shows just came out at a time where I wasn't watching much TV and I never really tried watching them.  I actually might decide to go back and watch the series from the beginning. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of the very early non-alien or continuity episodes in season 1 I remember being very hard to get through when I attempted a re-watch following the DVD release. Then there are episodes like Beyond the Sea and Tooms, which fucking ruled. Was a favorite show of mine growing up for the content and ideas alone but they also filmed nearby until Duchovny forced their hand to move the show to LA; my uncle worked as a set-designer which was neat as a kid. I'd give the series a watch if you have plenty of time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to the OP.  I have the box set but never got all the way through it.  Time to cherry-pick some good episodes from the later years.

 

As far as the new episodes, to me, if you used to be into X-Files then there's no reason not to watch these new ones.  It's not like it's a huge time commitment.  I even enjoyed the second movie just because there were these old Chris Carter tropes that I hadn't seen in so long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They're certainly self-aware about the "isn't it a tad bit late for this?" aspect of the whole project:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Season 1 and 2 are the best, imo. That great grittiness that is so specific to 1993-94. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Early buzz on the first new episode is...not good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No show has captured my imagination so vividly and then burned me as badly as the X-Files. I discovered it on BBC 2 on a Thursday night (first episode I saw was Darkness Falls) and was hooked from that point on - me and my friends would routinely have discussions about what was happening, and our anticipation was at fever pitch when the second series ended on that buriel site cliffhanger. I was fully into the alien conspiracy part of the show but once it wasn't put to rest with the movie I kind of zoned out on it, especially with the whole Casandra Spender bullshit the following season.

 

I'd kind of checked out of the show by Season 6/7 and would only watch episodes here and there rather than it being a can't-miss thing what with going through puberty and everything. With that said I was brought back into the fold with Season 8 with the whole 'Search For Mulder' thing and Doggett was a great introduction that breathed some fresh life into the show but from there the mythology got worse and worse with the whole super soldier thing replacing the alien conspiracy. I fully stopped watching by Season 9 and begrudgingly tuned into the finale only to then become further annoyed at the lack of closure - so much so I refused to get invested in a TV show for a long time until Lost was in full swing.

 

I'll be watching the new series out of nostalgia because it was a huge part of my childhood and nothing more. I have no expectations about the truth or anything of that ilk, it'll be pure nostalgia and I'm glad they've brought the creme de la creme of old writers back for it.

 

Oh and FYI, Krycek remains one of my favourite TV bad guys of all time

 

ALSO bonus points for the mention of Briscoe County Jr. I rewatched that show a few years ago and loved how fun it was, makes no sense that it didn't get more seasons

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Early buzz on the first new episode is...not good.

 

On the other hand, episode two is supposed to be better, while episode three was labeled as an instant classic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Oh and FYI, Krycek remains one of my favourite TV bad guys of all time

 

 

 

I had a legit lol when I played the PS2 game and Mulder calls Krycek a piece of shit as soon as he shows up. That's the same reaction I had whenever he'd pop up on the show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Early buzz on the first new episode is...not good.

 

On the other hand, episode two is supposed to be better, while episode three was labeled as an instant classic.

A lot of good things about episode 3 on Twitter. I guess we can't complain too much if the hit-to-miss ratio ends up being similar to the original series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Episodes 2 and 3 sound like the monster of the week formula, while episode 1 looks like it's definitely a mythology episode. I can understand why episode 1 wouldn't be as liked then because people seemed to really sour on the mythos stuff, but I always dug it. I just wished Chris Carter could have figured out a better path for it all to take, beyond that huge two parter we got late in the series. Was that in the season prior to the one without Fox and with the two new agents?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

 

Just wanted to say that pretty much your entire post is my experience too, from first catching the repeats on BBC2 (rather than originally on Sky One) to zoning out in later seasons, but tuning in for the finale and being underwhelmed.

 

I just finished the finale today. If anybody is interested in the mythology stuff, it's probably a good episode to rewatch. It's a double length episode where Mulder is on trial for murder for the first hour. Various characters from the show are called as witnesses. Basically, it allows Carter to explain all of the mythology stuff through flashbacks, and as a reminder, it's pretty decent. Again, as originally, the whole thing ends underwhelmingly though.

 

Now to check out the bad 2008 movie which I've never seen, and I'm all caught up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not that bad. Not any worse than any random MOTW ep from the last 2-4 seasons, really. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only saw the 2008 movie once but I remember thinking it was terrible. I actually like MOTW episodes - all my favorite eps are primarily those moreso than the mythology stuff that got convoluted and frankly nonsensical after the first movie - but I wouldn't rank the '08 movie much higher than an average MOTW ep.

I started re-watching the series around Christmas. I'm not watching every ep because of time but it really struck me how the show benefited from patience that FOX is notorious for not having (*insert obligatory Firefly bitching*). Outside the Toombs 2 parter, the Starbuck one with an amazing Brad Dourif and Erlenmeyer Flask the first season wasn't too good - too stiff and "procedural with monsters" for my taste. S2 is when things really jumped next level.

As an aside, it's crazy to see all the notable guest stars they had in those first few years. Besides Dourif, Seth Green pops up all the way back in Ep2, Donal Logue plays an asshole friend of Scully's from the academy, Felicity Huffman shows up in some terrible "The Thing" ripoff, Terry O'Quinn is a cop and getting killed in one of the opening teasers before the credits even roll is none other than Ryan Reynolds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite was Luke Wilson as the cornpone country sheriff in the goofy vampire episode. (Well, I assume that EVERYONE'S favorite would be two certain men-in-black in "Jose Chung", but those guys are so awesome that it's unfair to count them.)

As for the 2008 movie: if it had just been a random episode of the show, nobody would even remember it at all. The reason we all reacted to it in such a violently negative manner was basically "six long years after the show ended in such an incredibly anticlimactic fashion, we finally get a chance for a do-over and THIS no-stakes bullshit is what you give us?!". It would be as if Star Trek 9: Insurrection had been the only Next Generation movie they'd ever made.

EDIT: although even THAT's not a good comparison, considering that "All Good Things..." was such a fucking awesome finale, actually better than any of TNG's movies. Okay, better example: imagine that, instead of the epic climax we got with Joss Whedon's Serenity, we instead got some bullshit with Mal & Co. having some low-budget bumbling misadventures involving some bandits on a desert planet, aka the exact same shit we'd already seen several times even on a show that only lasted 14 episodes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd have to give it some serious thought, but Jose Chung's From Outer Space is always my knee-jerk reaction favourite episode: Mulder ordering a whole sweet potato pie during a questioning, Jesse Ventura giving the nerd a backbreaker, Scully fetching ice, Mulder's yelp when he sees the dead body, all of it is gold

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Jose Chung is a greeat meta outlier. But maybe too inside baseball.

Clyde Bruckman's final reprose is a great bittersweet episode with peter boyle hitting it out of the park. I also love Humbug (the circus freaks episode).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...