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 9

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Well, I did it! I finished re-watching the entire series – and a full week ahead of schedule! My season nine re-watch wrapped up on Sunday, the 17th of January and the new revival begins this Sunday, the 24th at 10 p.m. on Fox.

Season nine was a mixed bag. David Duchovny only appeared in two episodes and was completely taken out of the opening credits. Scully was more of a consultant on cases and began a teaching career at the FBI Academy. Even the opening theme song and montage was tweaked – giving it a 21st century feel.

In many ways, it felt like season nine was a transitional season – a baton was to be passed from Agents Scully and Mulder to Agents Doggett and Reyes and while the Doggett/Reyes combo was fine, they just weren’t the heart and soul of the X-Files. Had the show continued without original cast members, I doubt it would have lasted more than one season.

Toward the final few episodes, there are some real heart-breaking moments, most notably with the Lone Gunman and William, Mulder and Scully’s baby. I won’t spoil anything but I would have liked to have seen a better ending for the characters, however I know not every story line can end happily.

Instead of breaking down particular episodes to watch like I’ve done in previous posts, I recommend that you watch the entire season. Sure it’s got ups and downs and overall isn’t as good as previous seasons, but it is the final season and closes the book on that particular chapter of the X-Files.

I hope you’ve enjoyed re-watching and re-living The X-Files with me! Don’t forget to tune in to Fox on Sunday, Jan. 24th at 10 p.m. to watch the first of six all new episodes. Check back here in a few months for my recap of the X-Files: 2016 Revival. And remember: The Truth is Out There.

A Look Back at the X-Files, Season 8

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Mulder is out and John Doggett is in as Scully’s new partner on the X-Files. Originally recruited for a special FBI task force to find Mulder (who may or may not have been abducted by aliens),  Doggett and Scully start off on the wrong foot but by the end of the season, generally work well together. As a veteran FBI agent on the X-Files, Scully’s skepticism and need for proof seems to have been satisfied and for quite a bit of season eight she almost personifies Mulder while Doggett becomes the skeptical partner.

The first half of season eight focuses on the search for Mulder, working in a few monster of the week episodes here and there. The last half is all about *SPOILER ALERT* Scully’s pregnancy and whether or not her unborn child is an alien baby. We also meet Agent Monica Reyes, who joins the series full time in season nine.

From a critical standpoint, season eight is very uneven as viewers have to adjust to a new working chemistry between Scully and Doggett. The show starts to show its age a little and you can feel that the producers and writers were running out of steam. The addition of Doggett and Reyes, besides filling a character hole left by Mulder’s absence, were probably brought in to give the series life beyond the central characters of Mulder and Scully and while they were fine in their own way, they just weren’t the heart and soul of the X-Files.

Here are a few stand-out episodes from season eight:

Episode 1: Within. Important to watch as viewers meet John Doggett and learn about his assignment to find Mulder.

Episode 3: Patience. Doggett and Scully work on their first case not involving the search for Mulder and realize their investigative techniques are nothing alike.

Episode 4: Roadrunners. Scully is out on her own and is taken by a satanic cult that worships a worm like creature. Gross content alert!

Episode 6: Redrum. Doggett’s friend is on trial for the murder of his wife and while trying to clear his own name, finds that his days are moving backward. The best episode of the season.

Episode 17: Empedocles. Mulder and Doggett work a case together but neither trust the other.

Episode 21: Existence. Scully’s baby is born.

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!