X-Files

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Thad
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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Sat Apr 04, 2015 3:00 pm

Right around the end of season 3/beginning of season 4 is when I started watching during the original run, so I'm having an increasing number of hits of "Oh, I remember this one."

There are definitely some changes happening -- by season 4 the show's gotten popular, won a couple Emmys, has a bigger budget and the formula pretty well figured out. BUT, Carter starts Millennium at the same time, and there's a brain drain. (I can't say how much Millennium feels like early X-Files because I never got around to watching it, but I plan to, so I should have more to say about that later.) I think it's probably fair to say that season 3 is the best season of the entire series, but there's still a lot of good stuff to come.

The first four episodes of season 4:

Talitha Cumi/Harrenvolk dives headfirst back into the mythology, and it's clear how fucking unwieldy it's become by this point. Like, when the Bounty Hunter shows up, I'm going, wait, is that the guy who killed Deep Throat, the guy who was stalking Clone Samantha, the guy who tried to abduct Krycek...? And didn't they kill him? Is he another clone? And this is from watching all that shit fairly recently, never mind how hard it must have been to follow spaced out over three years (or just starting to watch the series at this point, like I originally did). We also get the first appearances of Jeremiah Smith and Mulder's mom, and the first hint that the CSM is Mulder's real father. And the bee/clone colony, which...I haven't seen the movie since it was in theaters, but that comes back in the movie, right? Just gets hard to keep all that shit straight. And we also get Mr. X's death and immediate replacement by Andrea from The Walking Dead.

Also, the Netflix versions of the episodes seem to have all the taglines stripped off the opening titles, which is irritating. (Usually it's "The truth is out there" but they like to change it up; it's "Everything dies" in Herrenvolk, "Deceive/Inveigle/Obfuscate" in Teliko, etc.) Wonder if it's like that on the DVD's too. Probably; there are a lot of shows that just copy the same opening titles sequence and put it at the beginning of every episode, presumably so they only have to clean up the titles once instead of for every single episode, but obviously it's not a good idea when the opening titles can change from week to week.

I've already expressed my feelings on Home: it's creepy and transgressive but it really doesn't have anything going for it. Take out the incest and body horror and you'd have a generic monster-of-the-week script that would have been weak even by season 1 standards.

And Teliko is pretty terrible. It's one of those episodes where they deal with another culture and just go full-on racist with it.

Unruhe is another pretty generic, season 1-style Monster of the Week episode, on down to Scully in Peril in the last act. But it's a lot better than the previous two.

The Field Where I Died is one I remembered; I like the reincarnation angle but I don't remember it ever being explored again. And like Unruhe, it suffers from a weak last act.

Also, it's got a glaring logical error in it: when Mulder undergoes hypnosis and relives a past life, he refers to Cancer Man being a member of the Gestapo in his past life. Which doesn't make any sort of chronological sense at all. It's 1996 and Cancer Man looks to be in his 60's (William B Davis was actually in his late 50's); how the hell could he be reincarnated Gestapo? And no, "he's aged prematurely because of all the smoking" doesn't work as an escape hatch, because he's already been shown as an adult in a flashback to 1953 (making him at least a few years older than Davis's real age). Seems like a pretty glaring mistake for a one-off line.

Also I'm intrigued by the sort of little details that are hard to remember and maintain over time. Wetwired establishes that Mulder is red-green colorblind; I'm pretty sure that's never mentioned anywhere else, before or since. But I'm not sure if it's ever explicitly contradicted, either.

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Re: X-Files

Postby TedBelmont » Sun Apr 19, 2015 5:28 pm

THIS POST REMOVED FOR INSUFFICIENT CONTEXT

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:27 pm

Glen Morgan and James Wong will each write and direct an episode; Vince Gilligan will not. No word on any other Morgans yet.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Thu May 14, 2015 1:37 am

I've never really paid attention to online X-Files fandom, so I was surprised to learn that apparently a lot of people really hate Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man. I don't really understand why; I think it's great.

I mean yes, it's off-format, and it provides a possible backstory for a mysterious character that replaces that mystery with something that is hacky as all fuck, at once prosaic and over-the-top -- but that's what I love about it. It's the show having the good sense not to take itself seriously.

(Plus hey nerds it's not canon, it's Unreliable Narrator Origin Story shit like The Killing Joke. All the "flashbacks" are actually Frohike's interpretation of what he's pieced together from CSM's fiction. And the show even tells us, outright, that the text has been altered by the magazine that published it. The only thing this episode really tells us for sure about CSM is that he got a short story published in a porno magazine.)

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:05 am

New season to have episode guest-starring Joel McHale as a right-wing pundit.

This bodes well for the new miniseries having some great oddball episodes with funny guest stars, just like the original.

Even better, the article says Darin Morgan is confirmed as returning, which really is the best possible X-Files news.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Mothra » Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:27 am

Actually getting pretty excited about these new episodes.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Sat Jun 06, 2015 2:16 pm

The second episode of the new run is titled Home Again.

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Re: X-Files

Postby TedBelmont » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:01 pm

THIS POST REMOVED FOR INSUFFICIENT CONTEXT

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Re: X-Files

Postby Mongrel » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:11 pm

TedBelmont wrote:Also, David Duchovny has a tumblr now.


David Duchovny wrote:
Anonymous wrote:Is it true that you are actually a swarm of large bees?

FUCK fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck who told you this
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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Tue Jul 07, 2015 8:40 pm



So if you watch an episode a day, starting with the first episode today, you'll be caught up in time for the premier.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:58 pm

Working my way through Millennium.

It's not bad, but it doesn't seem like anything special, either, at least in the early episodes. Lance Henriksen is great, and I like that he's got a family to keep him sane and grounded (which differentiates him immediately from Mulder and Scully).

But it feels like there was a mandate to make the mythology less convoluted than on X-Files, and while that's a laudable goal, the result is that it's episodic as fuck. The first episode suggests some kind of struggle between the Millennium Group and shadowy forces that may be an apocalyptic cult, but this thread is not picked up again for another dozen episodes. In the meantime, Frank just investigates serial killers (and, in one episode, Catherine investigates a rapist); it's like X-Files' Monster-of-the-Week episodes, except without any of the supernatural elements. (Frank has what appears to be a limited psychic ability to get inside killers' heads and see flashes of the murders, but all the villains seem to be stock serial killer types.) The main thing that sets it apart from other shows of the day is the level of violence -- while it's rarely shown on-screen, there are frequent graphic descriptions, in dialogue, of acts the serial killers have committed. All that stuff's pretty routine on network TV today, but it was striking back then. It's not on a level with Home, but it's nastier than a typical X-Files episode.

I don't think it was originally intended to be set in the same universe as X-Files, partly due to its much lower-key approach to the supernatural and partly because some actors (including CCH Pounder, Brad Dourif, and Morgan Woodward) appear as different characters than they played on X-Files.


But the upshot is, it's mostly like a much less fun, much less interesting version of X-Files, at least in the early going. But I just hit the midpoint of season 1 and things seem to be picking up. I wouldn't have waited through this much if I weren't confident that the writers could turn it into something interesting, and with episode 13 that seems like it's finally happening.

(tl;dr if you want to check it out you can safely skip episodes 2-12.)

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Sat Aug 15, 2015 9:36 pm

Fired up Memento Mori (the Scully Has Cancer episode) and was about 2/3 of the way through it before I realized I was watching it in widescreen.

I've accidentally activated Netflix's widescreen zoom before, so I poked around looking for it, but it was nowhere to be found.

And the picture looked good, not like a zoomed-in 480p transfer. So I'm going, okay, did they jump to 16:9 halfway through season 4? Because I remember they were one of the first shows to switch to widescreen, well before widescreen TV's were readily available, but I didn't remember it being that early, and halfway through a season seems fucking weird.

(I looked it up, incidentally, and I was right; season 5 was the first season broadcast in 16:9.)

Anyway! I looked it up and apparently Netflix has switched over to remastered versions of the episodes.

It didn't look like anything had been cropped off the top and bottom of the picture, and apparently (with the exception of the pilot) it hadn't; the series was actually filmed in widescreen from the get-go, and the edges were cropped for the original broadcast, DVD's, etc.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Mongrel » Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:02 pm

Thad, are you interested in original scripts at all? A friend of mine got a shooting copy of the script for Red Museum and doesn't really have any reason to hang on to it. He'll pretty much take any reasonable offer if you'd like it.
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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:31 am

Not really interested in Red Museum, but thanks for the heads-up.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:14 pm


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Re: X-Files

Postby Spooky Skeleton » Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:12 am

The only thing I really liked about Home other than just the legitimate horror of the episode, was that it's one of the few episodes where I was actually worried for Mulder and Scully. When they go into the house for the climax, I wasn't worried that Mulder was going to get his gun knocked out of his hands, I was worried that he was going to get his head smashed in. It's one of the few episodes that actually scared me like that as a kid.

Red Museum is an interesting episode that I sort of have a soft spot for. I really like how you don't have any idea what the mystery is at the start of the episode. In so many episodes, you know what's going on right from the cold open and the whole episode is just Mulder trying to remove people's doubt from his crazy, evidence lacking theory. In Red Museum there's actually a mystery to unravel as a viewer and that makes for a much better episode. I also really like how the one guy in the conspiracy is just sort of randomly a pedophile. It allows for the unraveling of the mystery to be a little more interesting and just a little bit stranger.

Boy does that episode have its problems though. It has the classic X-files problem that plagued many episodes which is that Mulder and Scully don't actually solve anything the whole episode. Answers are just given to them randomly and without them earning them which makes the story feel unrewarding and their investigation sort of pointless. First there's the classic "I can't tell you about this here, meet me later" shy exposition character trope with that farmer telling them what's going on. But then, even worse than that, is the part that ruins the entire episode for me; when the doctor's plane RANDOMLY CRASHES FOR NO REASON and they find his briefcase that tells them everything. Until that happened, they were fucked and never would have gotten to the bottom of anything. How about have Mulder and Scully actually do something clever to get back on the trail? NOPE, WE'RE DOING THE RANDOM PLANE CRASH THING. I understand that they were frequently under the gun to get episodes written and out the door* but I can't believe someone wrote such a stupid deus ex machina with a straight face.

*Listen to the Darin Morgan episode of The X-Files Files to hear a great story of how he almost quit before finishing his first or second episode because he couldn't get the script done on time

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:52 am

I've posted up lists of my favorite episodes of X-Files and Millennium; I'm not done with either show yet and plan to add to them as I go (and also add Lone Gunmen when I get to it).

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Re: X-Files

Postby TA » Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:02 pm

I remember my favorite episode of X-Files being All Souls, but I don't remember if it was actually any good.
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: X-Files

Postby Thad » Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:38 pm


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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Fri Nov 20, 2015 1:24 am

Latest Humble Comics Bundle is X-Files Comics, including old stuff from the '90's, the recent Season 10, and Year Zero, the miniseries about the founding of the X-Files in the 1940's.

(Not included: that miniseries where the Lone Gunmen met the Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and Ghostbusters.)

I hear good things about the new series and have been meaning to check it out. And the '90's series has some early work by Charlie Adlard of The Walking Dead. (It's hard to discern the scan quality from the preview images; some look great and others look kinda jaggy, but the previews might not be the same quality as the full files. At any rate, they don't appear to have been recolored, which is a plus.)

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