X-Files

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Thad
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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:02 pm

I threw in at the $1 level to check it out. Not sure if I'm willing or able to get up to $15.

So far I've read the first issue of Season 10. It's pretty great; decompressed as hell but suitably moody. Writer Joe Harris does a great job nailing Mulder's, Scully's, and Skinner's voices, and I really like the art (Michael Walsh is the artist, Jordie Bellaire did the colors) though it's a bit stiff in places.

My biggest complaint so far is that IDW has done a real shit job on the credits in the CBZ version of the comic; I had to scour the Internet to find the name of the writer, artist, and colorist. They're not on the front or back cover, and the credits page only lists editors, designers, cover artist, and Chris Carter. It's like there's an entire page of credits missing or something.

The book doesn't dive too deep into continuity so far; Scully's son appears to be a MacGuffin for the first arc, but all you really need to know is that Scully had a son and put him up for adoption. (Which is good, because that's all I do know; I only watched the series sporadically its last couple seasons and I'm still on season 4 in my Netflix re-watch.)

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Wed Nov 25, 2015 1:27 pm

Vol 2 is a lot more inconsistent than Vol 1, but I like it better; that's X-Files for you.

Vol 2 is where the series starts alternating between mythology stories and monster-of-the-whenever. It does it in a supremely awkward manner (we're supposed to accept that they go from being hot on the trail of monsters who are looking for Scully's son and have already abducted Doggett and Reyes to moving back into the basement and investigating the return of Flukeman) -- but again, that's X-Files for you; pretty much any time they went from a huge, overarching conspiracy story back to the status quo required a great deal of suspension of disbelief.

I'm not crazy about the Flukeman two-parter; it's got weaker art than the rest of the set and, while Flukeman IS one of the more fun and memorable monsters of TOS, I wish they'd gone with a new monster instead of a rehash.

The other three issues in Vol 2 are much better, though. The Flukeman story is followed up by an origin story of sorts for Mr. X, which is kinda neat. After that is a great story involving bugs and serial killers that really nails the aesthetic of some of the more horror-and-suspense-focused episodes; my only real gripe about that is that it would work much better as a Millennium story than an X-Files one. (There's a Millennium comic out now too; I haven't read it.) A sub-gripe is that it relies on the sort of Scully-in-peril setup that the show largely left behind after season 1, but I don't think that's a separate gripe, I think it's directly related to this essentially being a Millennium plot jammed into an X-Files setting.

And the story closes out with Further Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man. As I've said before, I think Musings is a fantastic episode despite popular fan opinion to the contrary. This, well, isn't as interesting and doesn't tell us as much, and it's mostly a series of retcons to explain how CSM is showing back up in the present day despite his clear onscreen death at the end of the series. But it does evoke the same kind of dreamlike unreliable-narrator funhouse-mirror look at important events of the twentieth century (starting with the Bay of Pigs), and the art is fantastic.

I'm still on the fence about whether I want to contribute to the Bundle at a higher tier to get the rest of the series; guess I've got a few days left to decide. Meantime, I've still got Classics vol 1 and Year Zero to read and see what I think.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:22 pm

I read the first issue of Year Zero. I really like the story and art, but the presentation is fucked up; there's a horizontal line across every page. It's fucking distracting. (There's also one page so far with really bad JPEG artifacting, but since it's only one page that's not as big a deal.)

A quick look at the checksums indicates that this hasn't been fixed, and the CBZ file that HB's got for download is still the same one I got. Haven't checked the other formats.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Fri Nov 27, 2015 1:53 am

Okay, so Year Zero is really good. To the point where I'm going to go look and see if Karl Kesel has written any other X-Files comics. (Artists Greg Scott and Vic Malhotra and colorist Mat Lopes are great too.) I wish the Humble Bundle put fucking credits on these things.

When the book started I was a lot more interested in the forties stuff and the new characters of Ellinson and Ohio, the founders of the X-Files. By the end, I found the present-day stuff more compelling. Kesel did a great job of creating a mystery that spanned both stories, and of packing it with the kind of interesting supporting characters that the best episodes of X-Files featured. He also writes a mighty fine Mulder and Scully, and in a dynamic we never really got to see on the show: things are back to status quo with both of them working on the X-Files, but now they're both believers.

Scully still teases Mulder about his more outlandish leaps of logic, and suggests simpler solutions when they present themselves, but she's onboard with all the alien and supernatural stuff. There's a great moment where a psychic alien says he doesn't know what happens to a supporting character because he can't see his future after tomorrow; as Mulder gets ready to leave, Scully suggests that they should stay to protect the man from whatever is going to happen. I think it's perfect -- Scully's still acting as foil to Mulder, still questioning him when he needs it, but it's not the believer/skeptic dynamic anymore, it's something different.

Pity about the fucking line across all the pages, though.



...huh. So in answer to my question about whether Kesel wrote any other X-Files comics, there's an X-Mas Special where Ellinson and Ohio return that he co-wrote. (It's referenced, briefly, in Year Zero; apparently it takes place somtime before they move into the basement.) And it's got a cover price of $8, so the $10.11 that it currently costs to get it in the Humble Bundle isn't much more than its cover price. Not sure if there are any other Kesel books in the set (there are some other annuals and one-offs, and again, this shit is really poorly-credited).

Definitely thinking about it now. Guess I've got 5 days to decide; in the meantime I've still got X-Files Classics vol 1 to read.

(And X-Files Classics Season 1 vol 1, which...I actually might. My first thought was "Why would I want to read a comic book adapting a bunch of TV episodes I've already seen?" And then I looked at the preview (PDF) and was like "Oh. That's why." The layouts and art are really freakin' impressive.)

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Re: X-Files

Postby Mothra » Fri Nov 27, 2015 2:27 am

Watched the season 3 X-Files two-parter about the oil alien who burned people with radiation. Maybe not worth two episodes, but some good Scully, good Skinner, and holy crap do I love Mulder's conspiracy friends.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Spooky Skeleton » Fri Nov 27, 2015 9:52 pm

They're called the Lone Gunmen, Jason! I know their spin-off series got cancelled quickly, but you can at least remember their name.

Millennium caught on, but all the other Chris Carter things never went anywhere. It's a shame, I actually liked Harsh Realm but no one else was watching it except for me :/.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Sat Nov 28, 2015 2:09 am

I don't think I even knew Byers's name until about a month ago.

Re: Millennium: I sometimes wonder if its (relative) success might have just been down to the network giving Carter the benefit of the doubt since X-Files was raking in so much money.

I also wonder whether they let it ride out as long as they did just because of its title. It is a little maddening that a show called Millennium got cancelled in 1999.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Mothra » Sat Nov 28, 2015 2:46 am

Geo are you yanking my chain or did those wonderful bastards actually get their own spin-off

Also: Getting sucked into this. I just watched the one with the man who can make anyone do what he tells them to. It ruled.

"Pusher"

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Re: X-Files

Postby Spooky Skeleton » Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:00 am

Mothra wrote:Geo are you yanking my chain or did those wonderful bastards actually get their own spin-off

Also: Getting sucked into this. I just watched the one with the man who can make anyone do what he tells them to. It ruled.

"Pusher"


I'm not fucking with you, Mothra.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Mothra » Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:29 am

Okay this was going great until

One solid hour of mumbling in the near-pitch-black sewers

"how do you explain these cats scully"

I'm now officially only watching episodes that get good reviews

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Re: X-Files

Postby Mothra » Sat Nov 28, 2015 8:43 am

Oh boy:

Wikipedia wrote:The production of the episode was plagued with issues. At the last minute the ending of the episode had to be rewritten; originally, the script called for "hordes" of common house cats to attack Mulder and Scully. Unfortunately, the cats refused to attack under direction and did "pretty much nothing". To further complicate matters, Gillian Anderson revealed to the producers that she was severely allergic to cats.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Büge » Sat Nov 28, 2015 10:41 am

"I don't care if your throat is closing up, Gill! You're an actor, use it!"

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Re: X-Files

Postby Mongrel » Sat Nov 28, 2015 10:55 am

Now I'm imagining Gil, from The Simpsons, in a badly-fitting Scully costume, including a slightly lopsided wig.
Image

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Sat Nov 28, 2015 1:03 pm

Spooky Skeleton wrote:I'm not fucking with you, Mothra.


Unfortunately, Lone Gunmen isn't on any streaming services; your options are DVD and piracy. (Same goes for Millennium.)

I only caught a few episodes when it was new. You might want to wait until you're caught up in X-Files, or at least until after the episode with Michael McKean, whose character becomes a regular on Lone Gunmen.

Mothra wrote:"how do you explain these cats scully"

I'm now officially only watching episodes that get good reviews


I kinda love watching the terrible ones, but you have a point; there are a lot of episodes of X-Files and it can be a slog.

I've got a list of favorites that, so far, goes most of the way through season 4.

The important thing is that you've got Jose Chung's From Outer Space coming up.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Spooky Skeleton » Sat Nov 28, 2015 1:33 pm

Oh my God, the greatest use of unreliable narrators ever put to screen.

I love that episode so much I want to fuck it.

When the show was originally on my sister and I were big fans. She was the one originally interested in it (she's 8 years my senior). My Dad never liked it because it was too "weird", he only liked very classic, or pulpy scifi like Star Trek or John Carter if Mars type stuff. He was also and still is, both a TV-aloholic and a very introverted control freak when it came to "The big tv" in the house. This coupled with my sisters busy academic life meant that we both frequently didn't catch every episode.

When I saw Jose on my little TV in my room, I didn't know how I was every going to explain it to my sister. "It's the craziest episode I've ever seen," I told her.

"Oh was it really scary?" she asked.

"No, only a little scary," I responded, "and only because I didn't know what the fuck was going to happen next. It was disconcerting but in the end, awesome and mostly really funny."

Now I can watch it and it isn't scary at all, not even in the slightest; it's a hilarious episode. But at the time, I was terrified of grey aliens and abduction by aliens and so the cold open had a really profound effect on me. The audacity of the aliens being in full view with no subtle presentation was alarming but then where the scene ultimately goes threw me for a loop.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:07 pm

Yeah, as I mentioned earlier in the thread I think it's my favorite episode, though it's a tough call between that and Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose.

Season 3 really is the best season.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Spooky Skeleton » Sat Nov 28, 2015 4:28 pm

It's the episode that got me to try sweet potato pie for the first time and just with mere words, Thad, mere words.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Mothra » Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:14 pm



Okay that was great.

I also caught the season finale/S4 opener with the shapeshifting alien, and felt a bit mixed about it. The first part was gripping, especially all the scenes with the shapeshifter tied up talking to the Smoking Man. That was great, great TV.

The second part where they're just wandering around, running from the other alien, occasionally knocking him down or stabbing him or whatever, was tedious. Then they pick up Mulder's sister's clone at the bee place and she just disappears after that plot peters out.

Eh, didn't exactly leave me hungry for more.

Jose Chung's From Outer Space was a lot of fun though.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Spooky Skeleton » Sun Nov 29, 2015 7:47 pm

Mothra wrote:Eh, didn't exactly leave me hungry for more.

Jose Chung's From Outer Space was a lot of fun though.


Yeah, as Thad has already stated, Season 3 is really the high water mark for the show. As it goes on the "Mythology/arc" episodes get more and more tedious and boring revealing that Chris Carter never really had a good idea for what the big conspiracy would be or where it would go that would be interesting. In the end, X-files is really best due to the philosophical questions it asks about truth and the search for it, and the interesting scenarios it creates to explore this. The details of what the truth actually is in its universe, pan out about as well as they did for any other show of this type (Lost, Twin Peaks, etc).

That said, there are still some good monster of the week episodes that happen in later seasons, but the show is never as clever again. I say watch up to at least the first movie and then decide if you wanna bother with it anymore after that. The X-files was a show that existed when there was hardly anything good on television and basically nothing in the scifi-thriller genre. It's best remembered in that context.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Mothra » Mon Nov 30, 2015 3:04 am

I've seen both movies, and enjoyed the first quite a bit more than the second. I'm probably not going to go out of my way to keep up on the main plot from here on out, since I know it takes so, so long to get there.

Thad: Thanks for the list, especially the Monster of the Week one.

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