The X-Files: The Complete Series

"Extraordinary"

The X-Files: The Complete Series Review


In the early 1990s, the young Fox network was just beginning to hit its stride with an odd mix of television not found on the major three networks. Fox viewers found irreverent comedy courtesy of the dysfunctional families on The Simpsons and Married... with Children; gripping real-life crime action in COPS and America's Most Wanted; and sappy post adolescent soap drama with Beverly Hills 90210 and Party of Five. Just about the only thing missing from this eccentric network line-up was a show about aliens. Oh, but wait... oeven that show would eventually find a home on Fox; in the fall of 1993, The X-Files arrived.

The riveting pilot episode quickly sets the framework for the entire series. FBI Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) works outside of the bureau's mainstream on discarded, unsolved cases regarding paranormal activity called the X-Files. His immediate supervisors think his work is without merit, so they assign a young female agent, Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) to work with Mulder and disprove his wild theories. Mulder believes we are not alone in the universe; Scully believes science holds the key to the unexplained. Their first case together -- teenagers being abducted and killed in Oregon -- raises more questions than answers and leaves Scully with little exculpatory evidence to report back to her superiors.

In addition to introducing the main characters, the pilot also establishes The X-Files mythology : a series-long subplot regarding a government conspiracy to conceal the existence of aliens. Uncovering this deep-rooted mystery is what drives Mulder. He knows the government is hiding significant details regarding alien life on earth and he's convinced that his superiors within the FBI are purposefully holding him back from finding the truth. The mythology episodes appear sporadically during the series including each season's premiere and finale episodes. Each mythology episode builds upon the prior and reveals startling new revelations of the bigger picture of a conspiracy. These episodes are clearly the most exhilarating of the series.

The remaining X-Files episodes deal in the strange world of the extraordinary where Mulder and Scully must try to explain the unexplainable. These episodes have little bearing on the wider mythology, but they introduce us to some odd characters with some unusual abilities. Some of the most memorable include insurance salesman Clyde Bruckman who can predict people's deaths (Season 3, Episode 4); retired freaks and side-show performers with abnormal bodily functions (2.20); Robert Modell, aka "The Pusher," who can change people's thoughts (3.17); and the inbred Peacock family who are less than human as a result (4.2). These episodes also give us further insight into Mulder and Scully and what makes them tick.

In addition to its fantastic conspiracy theories and fascinating characters, each X-Files episode is a visual feast for the eyes. There are no cornball special effects with this science fiction show. While the earliest episodes show a rustiness with the visual effects, overall The X-Files is technically resounding, even from the pilot episode. Fans of film noir will dig the show's dimly lit palette, one that fully compliments its bizarre storylines. The high end production values show in every episode. It's not a surprise that The X-Files took home most technical category Emmy awards during the nine-year-series-run.

The X-Files "jumped the shark" at the end of the seventh season (and after a decent movie outing) when David Duchovny jumped ship, downgrading his involvement to part-time status. New agents John Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) were brought on to fill the void left by Duchovny, but the show labored. The changes clearly proved that seven years of chemistry between Mulder and Scully could never be replaced. While the final two seasons feature a handful of must-see episodes that bring closure to several key storylines, the bulk of seasons eight and nine can be skipped.

The X-Files is even better on DVD and it's not because each season's box set comes with a plethora of DVD extras including interviews, documentaries, and behind the scenes information. What makes the show so much better on DVD is that we have the ability to pick and choose our own adventure, like watching just the mythology episodes in order. We don't need to wait all summer to find out what happens to Mulder in the boxcar at the end of season two. We can just pop in the next DVD. It brings an entirely new level of enjoyment to a series that is already immensely fulfilling.

Certainly a fictionalized show that ponders the existence of extra-terrestrials couldn't last beyond one season, right? Well, The X-Files lasted almost 10 years and it will continue to shock and amaze new X-Philes for a lifetime to come.

A little higher with the probe, bub!



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Kim Manners, , , Ron Reedy,

Producer:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.