The X-Files: Season 10 Review

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On January 24th, fourteen years after what fans thought was the series finale,  The X-Files kicked off its much hyped six episode event. Ratings were HUGE with 16 million people watching episode one (probably didn’t hurt that it directly followed the Super Bowl) and even though episode two only pulled in about 10 million viewers, those are still big numbers for any network show, but especially interesting considering the show’s age (the pilot episode of the X-Files premiered 23 years ago.)

Critics eviscerated the first episode (“My Struggle”), but from a fan perspective, I thought it was pretty good. Granted the first episode brought a lot of happy nostalgia with it, which probably skewed my opinion of the episode a tiny bit, but at the end of the first two hours, I felt like the show still had something special to offer. Yes,  a lot of information was thrown at us all at once but the writers only had so much time to catch everyone up, introduce a new alien conspiracy and set in motion the rest of the season.

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny also seemed a little bit rusty with their character portrayals, although by the second episode, the actors seemed more like their usual selves. But maybe the most jarring part of watching was seeing how much Mulder and Scully have aged from previous episodes – it took some getting used to and probably seemed more prominent since I had just finished watching the entire series the week before.

Episode two (“Founder’s Mutation”) felt more like your typical X-Files, re-introduced us to the William story-line and left fans feeling a little bit weepy. By episode three (“Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster”) fans were treated to a monster-of-the-week episode written by Darin Morgan who wrote several of the show’s all time best episodes. “Home Again” contrary to early speculation was not a sequel to season four’s “Home” (although that would have been really cool) but instead continued with the monster-of-the-week theme.

By episode five, the season 10 story arc had switched gears, moving things toward the finale. “Babylon” felt more like an episode of 24 and touched on post-9/11 subject matter and themes that the show never got to explore  in its initial run. The episode also has one of the funniest moments of season 10 when Agent Mulder is given psychedelic mushrooms and sends him on a country music fueled trip that also includes a tribute to the Lone Gunmen – another weepy moment for the show.

That brings us to episode six (“My Struggle II”) and the finale. We’re brought back to where episode one left off and a deadly contagion starts wreaking havoc across the globe . Scully seems to be the only one who is immune to the virus and begins work on a vaccine made from her DNA but when she finally reaches Mulder in time, only their son William can save him. The problem? No one knows where William is.

Cue the alien spaceship and bright light beaming down on Scully and cue the end of season 10.

Fans were promised a cliffhanger and Chris Carter delivered. The only downside is, we have no idea when/if the show will continue, so opening up a whole new chapter on the X-Files when there are no more episodes being planned is really quite typical, but frustrating.

Do I think there will be more? Probably. Ratings were solid, fans will be eager to see what’s next and the actors have said they’re open to more. Personally, I’d like to see maybe thirteen more to explore the themes the show opened up this time around but I say after that,  wrap it up and give some closure to the series.

When that will happen remains a mystery. Until then, I want to believe there’s more story left to be told. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another fourteen years to tell it.

 

A Look Back at the X-Files, Season 6

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Season six of the X-Files picked up where the movie left off and focused on Mulder and Scully’s reassignment to other cases within the F.B.I. The agents, who had been taken off the X-files, still found themselves dealing with cases very much like what they had been working on before, much to the chagrin of the director of the F.B.I.

During season 6, production of the show left Vancouver and relocated to Los Angeles, giving a little bit brighter  appearance and tone to the show. We began to see more subtle hints of a potential Mulder/Scully romance and the episodes were a little more humorous than previous seasons.

There are also signs that the end of the series is approaching – major story lines were beginning to wrap up and answers to some of the show’s biggest alien conspiracy revealed.

This was also the season which contained the excellent episode, Drive,  featuring guest star Bryan Cranston that eventually led Vince Gilligan (producer on the X-Files and Breaking Bad) to cast him in the lead role of Walter White on Breaking Bad. This one is a MUST WATCH for fans of both shows!

Here are just a few other notable episodes from season 6:

Episode 4 & 5: Dreamland and Dreamland II
Mulder and Scully travel to Area 51, only to be detained by top secret government officials. A mysterious craft flies over as the agents are being confronted, causing Mulder and another official to switch bodies.

Episode 6: How the Ghost Stole Christmas
The agents investigate a haunted house and are tricked by ghosts into believing they are a real couple that murdered each other. Lily Tomlin guest stars.

Episode 8: The Rain King
A man claims he can make it rain at will and seems to be profiting off his supernatural ability to control the weather. However, things aren’t always as they seem and the agents discover it’s actually a local weatherman who can’t control his feelings over the woman he’s loved since high school.

Episode 13: Agua Mala
Mulder and Scully travel to Florida after an old friend of Mulder’s calls about something mysterious in the water. A hurricane is raging and with all the sea water coming in the pipes and up the drains a different kind of monster emerges.

Episode 15: Arcadia
The agents go undercover as a married couple and move to the suburbs where residents mysteriously keep disappearing.

Overall, this was another stellar season for the show. I’m currently about 10 episodes in to season 7 (and right back on schedule with the 201 days of X-files rewatch that has been happening on Facebook), so it shouldn’t be too long before I am finished and ready to recap again.

Happy watching!

2015-2016 Fall/Spring TV Preview

2015-2016 Fall/Spring TV Preview

In a little less than two months, new seasons of TV shows will be returning to the networks.  Re-boots are the next big thing these days, but many brand new shows will also be making their debut alongside the lucky shows that got renewed for another season. (Condolences to the fans of the cancelled shows that didn’t make it to another fall premier.)

These days, the cancellation ax comes quickly – sometimes even just after two aired episodes if ratings are bad – and it’s hard to decide which of the new crop of freshmen shows to invest in. No one wants to watch an entire season of something, become attached to the characters, then suffer the disappointment of an unresolved ending thanks to a network cancellation.

So how do you choose? Some may wait to see if a show gets buzz, then catch up and finish out the season if it looks like a sure thing. Others might wait until at least a second season is guaranteed before binge-watching the first. I’ve done both, but after looking at the crop of new shows and reboots for the up-coming season, I’ve  found a handful that I’m interested in watching right away.

Here’s my list of shows I’m excited about for the 2015 – 2016 TV season:

Heroes: Reborn
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The first season of the original Heroes series is exceptionally good. Then the writer’s strike in Hollywood happened and season two got cut short, ratings fell and it was all downhill from there. I stuck it out and found that by the end of season 4, it was getting interesting again, but it was too late for the show to be saved. Heroes: Reborn is a re-boot of sorts, although most of the original cast will not be returning. Zachary Levi stars and it’s being billed as a 13 episode mini series and premiers September 24th on NBC.

Scream Queens
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I like American Horror Story and I liked Glee up until the last couple seasons, and Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens seems like it might be a mash up of both his shows. Each week there’s a new murder with the killer to be revealed at the end. The casting is also pretty solid: Lea Michelle, Emma Roberts, Nick Jonas, Jamie Lee Curtis and Ariana Grande, just to name a few. Sounds like a soapy, guilty pleasure kind of show! Airs on Fox, beginning September 22nd. 

SuperGirl
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Comic book adaptations are hot right now for both the TV networks and movie studios. I’m more of a Marvel fan myself, but really enjoyed Melissa Benoist on Glee and the trailer for this show looks really good, so I’m going to give it a shot. Plus, CBS is usually pretty solid with their programming. SuperGirl premiers on Monday, October 26th.

You, Me and the End of the World
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The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, and Community are all long gone from NBC’s comedy line-up and in a world where everyone is searching for the next Breaking Bad, good comedies are hard to come by these days. You, Me and the End of the World looks promising though. Jenna Fischer (The Office) and Rob Lowe (Parks and Rec) star, with a release date TBD on NBC.

Vinyl
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This one won’t be on until 2016, but is brought to you by HBO, Martin Scorsese and Mich Jagger. Vinyl centers around the music industry in New York in the late 1970s and stars Olivia Wilde, Ray Romano and Bobby Cannavale. I enjoy almost anything music related, so I’m pretty excited about this one!

The X-Files

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The truth is still out there…The X-Files returns to Fox on January 24, 2016. Right now, there are only six episodes scheduled in this limited edition mini-series (mostly due to the actor’s tight schedules) but if it’s a hit, we can probably expect Fox to order more in the future. I want to believe this will happen. Don’t disappoint me Mulder and Scully.

Glee: Where Do We Go From Here?

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This just in: Fox renewed Glee for two more seasons. That’s right not one, but TWO. Considering how the ratings the past few seasons have been consistently dropping, that decision comes as a pretty big surprise. But then again, this is the same network that’s beating us to death with twelve seasons of American Idol and nine seasons of Bones – both good shows at one time, but anymore just feel stale.

So where does Glee go from here? The current season, which started out promising by sending most of the original cast members off in different directions to college, has floundered plot-wise. We were introduced to new characters this year at McKinley High, but as it turns out, they weren’t really all that different from our old cast. Every year, it’s the same recycled plot: prepare for sectionals, regionals, finals and then on to nationals…if they make it that far.

Someone’s always on a soapbox about being bullied, gay or not fitting in with everyone else. Mr. Schuester and Mrs. Pillsbury are on-again, off-again and back on-again with their relationship. Sue Sylvester still has it in for the Glee Club. The bottom line: Ryan Murphy has written his show into a corner that’s going to be very hard to get back out of.

Listen up Mr. Murphy, because here’s what needs to happen:

  • Leave high school behind and focus on the original cast as they move past Glee Club and go off to college. Switching back and forth between Rachel and Kurt in New York and the rest of the gang that graduated (but for some odd reason still seem to hang around the high school) makes for a very disjointed plot.
  • Consider fast-forwarding a few years to speed the show up a bit. It worked for One Tree Hill and Desperate Housewives, and it could work for Glee.
  • Have an end game and start creating story arcs that lead up to that. Glee is the type of show that suffers at the hand of its own creativity. When it first aired, there was nothing else like it on television. It was fun, fresh and for two seasons, people loved rooting for New Directions at show choir competitions. But now we’re in season 4 and as previously mentioned, we’re still rehashing the same plot over and over.
  • Keep the original cast and ditch the newcomers. They’re basically less likeable versions of the old cast anyway. Have the rest of the originals that are still at McKinley High graduate at the end of this season and develop story lines where their characters grow and develop. The audience is growing up with them, so this should be a natural progression.
  • Mr. Schuester should marry Ms. Pillsbury, hand over the Glee Club reigns to a newcomer and take an amazing job in NY where he can mentor Rachel and Kurt and any of the others who might end up in NY for in college.

Since Glee still pulls in around 8 million viewers per episode, it’s probably wishful thinking that the network will decide on season six as the last. But if the writers don’t find ways to creatively move the show forward, this viewer is definitely going to tune out and a lot of other people are probably going to do the same.