X-Files

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TedBelmont
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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby TedBelmont » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:07 pm

I'd previously only seen a few episodes of X-Files before I started watching them along with Monster of the Week. Definitely makes the terrible episodes more bearable.

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Healy
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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby Healy » Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:14 pm

Huh, I never really got into the X-Files. In my defense, I was way too young for it and a pretty big wuss to boot. I watched the pilot today, and it was pretty good. One question, though: Are there any episodes in the first season I should skip?
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Thad
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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby Thad » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:07 pm

Healy wrote:Huh, I never really got into the X-Files. In my defense, I was way too young for it and a pretty big wuss to boot. I watched the pilot today, and it was pretty good. One question, though: Are there any episodes in the first season I should skip?


I dunno about "should" but season 1's episodic as fuck and there are plenty you CAN skip. It's been about a year, but after thumbing through Monster of the Week I'd say episodes 4-9, 11, 12, 14-16, 18-20, 22, and 23 are pretty inconsequential, and that's as far as I got into season 1.

I kinda like most of them in one way or another, though. Even the bad ones tend to be pretty fun, this early in the series. (That doesn't always hold later on down the line.)

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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby Smiler » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:10 pm

I just started watching the pilot of X-Files. If anything it's probably the most backround noise show I could be watching. A coffin just tumbled down a hill. That's cool I guess.

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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby Smiler » Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:38 pm

After watching two episodes I can confirm this show is probably going to be a really good sleep aid.

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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby Smiler » Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:57 pm

Is every episode of X-Files that involves the government jerking them around going to feel like they just stitched a bunch of scenes together or is it just because the first season is rough? The episode with the stretchy man was pretty good but the other non-pilot episodes so far have been kind of boring.

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Thad
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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby Thad » Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:00 pm

The Tooms episodes are definitely some of the highlights of the first season.

The show does tend to focus quite a lot on the spectre of the government coverup, Mulder's battle with his superiors, and his clashing with Scully about Rational Explanations for Things. All of these kind of drag on way longer than they should (particularly Scully's skepticism, which becomes progressively more unbelievable as she sees more and more crazy shit, though once Mulder leaves the show the writers have the inspired idea of making her the true believer to bounce the skeptic new guy off).

I would definitely say the first season is rough and the monsters, supporting cast, and narrative coherence get better as the show goes on. The downside is that there eventually comes a point where it gets too slick and overproduced (certainly by the time the production leaves Vancouver and moves to Hollywood; I would argue a season or two before then), and also it becomes quite clear over time that there is no Big Plan and the writers are just making shit up as they go along. (To that end, I find that ultimately the one-off episodes are more satisfying than the big arcs, because the big arcs build and build but never really get any kind of resolution.)

I haven't seen much of seasons 2 or 3; I think I must have started watching around 4. By that point, supporting cast members like Walter Skinner, the Cigarette Smoking Man, and the Lone Gunmen have been developed into pretty enjoyable characters in their own right (the Lone Gunmen eventually got a spinoff; I think I watched the first episode and didn't keep up with it). It's also got Home, which is possibly the most memorable episode of the series and popularly considered the most disturbing.

Certainly by season 5 the show's comfortable working as a comedy and does it quite well; Bad Blood has a Rashomon-style take of Mulder and Scully telling different versions of the same story, and it's got Luke Wilson in it; season 6's Dreamland has Mulder switching bodies with Michael McKean and includes a truly excellent mirror bit, and a few weeks later there's a Christmas episode with Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin as ghosts.

...which isn't really helpful as far as whether you should watch seasons 2 and 3, but again, I haven't really seen much of them. That seems to be when the show really started getting a lot of notice and recognition, though, and Emmy nominations started to stack up. (Season 1's Emmy nominations -- and one win -- were exclusively for its opening titles; with season 2 it started getting recognized for stuff besides the opening of the show.)

I like season 1, for all its rough edges. But the show does get to be a more well-oiled machine as time goes on.

If you want more action and less talk, well, it continues to be a very talky show but its budget definitely gets bigger and there are some pretty good action sequences as time goes on.

If you want better characters and acting? Duchovny remains pretty wooden but I think that's well-suited to Mulder's character; Anderson really starts to shine over time, and, as I said, the supporting cast really comes into its own (Pileggi is a highlight). The guest stars start to be established, well-known stars as opposed to people who would go on to BECOME established, well-known stars, and the show starts to stretch its wings and show an adaptability across multiple styles, tones, and genres.

It's never a perfect show, but I would say it has perfect episodes. Course, keep in mind I'm a guy who likes season 1, warts and all.

I'm sure there are lots of people who have (1) seen the whole series and (2) seen those later episodes again since their original airing and could answer your question better, even give a list of what episodes to watch and what to skip (either on criteria of "importance" to the mythology or just general quality). Off the top of my head AV Club has reviewed most of the series by now, and some of them have simple letter grades if you don't want to read an entire spoiler-filled review.

X-Files threadsplit might be a good idea.

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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby beatbandito » Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:43 pm

Before you ever try to take the over-arching story of X-Files seriously remember that when it was time for them to finally nail down the conspiracy they pointed to a random extra from one scene and said "hey, that guy sure can stand around and smoke cigarettes. Seems like a villain to me!"

With that in mind here are all the episodes worth watching
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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby Thad » Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:12 pm

...I would not recommend that anyone worried about a major spoiler from 2002 click that link.

Anyway, I kinda love that early episode where the Cigarette Smoking Man is just standing around smoking with no lines and no explanation whatsoever.

Man, you guys, now I kinda wanna watch X-Files.

But I also kinda wanna go play Tactics Ogre.

Maybe I can do both! You're really right about the background noise thing; it's a good show to have on and start paying attention when it starts looking like it's getting good. (It was my go-to show for awhile when I would hit the elliptical machine every morning back when I was unemployed and did not have a dog. I haven't used the elliptical machine much since getting a job due to lack of free time, and none since getting a dog, because exercising without including her seems like a missed opportunity for both of us.)

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TedBelmont
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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby TedBelmont » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:08 pm

Wow, S4E6 of X-Files, Sanguinarium, is surprisingly gruesome for a network TV show, especially in the mid-90s. I'm honestly not sure how they got that one past the network censors, although I suppose it's possible that their ratings granted them some freedom other, less popular shows wouldn't have enjoyed.

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X-Files

Postby Thad » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:39 pm

Haven't seen it in ages, but -- more gruesome than Home? Home was the one that really raised hackles (and IIRC was not allowed to be rerun for some months afterward, eventually airing in a later timeslot). But yeah, either way, season 4 was where X-Files really pushed S&P boundaries for violence (and, in the case of Home, general horrifying creepiness). It's also where the show got moved to a different night and also where its popularity really started snowballing (leading up to the movie -- which shot after season 4 and was released after season 5 -- and the production's relocation to LA for season 6).

All of which is a long time ago and stuff where I'm looking at Wikipedia to get dates and orders right.

As for me, this thread's piqued my interest enough that I watched a few more episodes and wrapped up season 1. The s1 finale is really about as good as the Mythology (aliens/government conspiracy) episodes get, and I enjoyed the hell out of it, but on the other hand it's a pretty good symbol for the show's tendency to spin its wheels. Scully actually holds a frozen alien embryo in her hands in that episode; for the next couple of episodes after it seems like this really has been a sea change and she's not going to be a skeptic anymore, but then everything kinda slides back into its episodic status quo format. And shit like that just happens over and over again -- seriously, how many season finales end with the X-Files being closed?

But there's great stuff in there too -- above all, it leads to Skinner becoming a bigger character and Pileggi really having a chance to shine.

Seriously, guys, threadsplit?

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TA
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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby TA » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:42 pm

Home was the hillbilly one, right? Because yeah that one was pretty gross.

I think that one and the Nephilim one are the only ones I really remember.
のほも is such a good word?? the concept is kind of hard to fully get across in translation, but basically it means a feeling of pure, deep, platonic affection, and i think thats beautiful

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TedBelmont
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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby TedBelmont » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:48 pm

Sanguinarium has a dude getting stabbed to death with a liposuction needle, a nurse puking up straight pins, a lady getting a laser through her face, another lady getting her face melted off with acid, Marie from Breaking Bad getting a bunch of scalpels teleported into her stomach(she lives, though!) and Ben Horne from Twin Peaks peeling his own face off. Almost all of this happens on camera, except for the face melting, although we see the immediate aftereffects, so I'm guessing that was just for budget reasons. So yeah, I'd say definitely more gruesome than Home, and definitely what I would call pushing boundaries.

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TA
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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby TA » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:04 pm

Eh, different kind of gruesome. That's just violence.
のほも is such a good word?? the concept is kind of hard to fully get across in translation, but basically it means a feeling of pure, deep, platonic affection, and i think thats beautiful

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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby Thad » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:28 pm

TA wrote:Eh, different kind of gruesome. That's just violence.


Yeah. Home wasn't just violent, it was disturbing in a way that the rest of the series never really matched (which is probably a good thing). I've talked to multiple people, 15 years after the fact, who will point that one out as the one that really terrified them. (And TA immediately knowing what episode I'm talking about is another example.)

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TA
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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby TA » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:01 pm

Well, like I said, it was memorable.

I never really followed the show, but I remember the airing of Home getting a lot of special press, like "The episode they didn't want you to see" or something, so I tuned in for it when it aired.
のほも is such a good word?? the concept is kind of hard to fully get across in translation, but basically it means a feeling of pure, deep, platonic affection, and i think thats beautiful

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TedBelmont
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Re: What's on Netflix?

Postby TedBelmont » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:34 pm

Home was disturbing, but it wasn't what I would call 'gruesome'.

Then again, I've always had a weird fear of hospitals/surgery/medical procedures in general, so that might be why Sanguinarium got to me. Or maybe I'm just getting soft in my old age.

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Smiler
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Re: X-Files

Postby Smiler » Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:04 pm

Oh hey I finally got around to splitting this thread. Hello I'm still watching this show slowly. Just got past the Indian Werewolf episode, that one was pretty boring.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Fri Feb 28, 2014 1:23 am

There's a comic book miniseries going on at IDW right now where the Lone Gunmen team up with all the other licensed franchises IDW publishes (Ghostbusters, TMNT, Transformers, ...).

Mainly I am trying to wrap my head around how the timeline can possibly work.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:52 am

You know, if I'd actually watched season 2 as it aired, it probably would have been clear to me much earlier that the writers were just making shit up as they went along.

Krycek, Scully's abduction and pregnancy -- those plot points stay important for the remainder of the series (literally through the last episode, if I'm not mistaken -- I actually never got around to watching it, despite taping it when it first aired), and seeing them alluded to again and again, they certainly loomed pretty huge.

But actually watching them play out as they originally occurred? They're a bunch of increasingly ridiculous workarounds to deal with Gillian Anderson's pregnancy.

EDIT TO ADD: Hell, even Scully's religion -- which becomes a key part of her character and makes for some fun role-reversal episodes where she's the believer and Mulder's the skeptic -- is introduced in the same episode where she immaculately conceives. Now, it's possible they'd always intended to make her religious -- the episode where her father dies implies, at minimum, that she believes in an afterlife -- but as for how it's actually introduced, it's one more "Hey, Gillian Anderson is pregnant, what can we do with that on the show" moment.


And then there's Mr. X, a drop-in replacement for another character. Purportedly the season 1 finale was intended to establish that no character was safe except Mulder and Scully. Okay. But then season 2 goes on to demonstrate that this doesn't matter, because any character can be replaced with another character who is exactly the same.

(Which of course was eventually applied to Mulder and Scully themselves.)

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