Saturday, March 10, 2018

Case 04, File 10.5: The Springfield Files

AKA: Remember When This Show Was Good?

At this point in its history, The X-Files was an unstoppable juggernaut, the kind of which hadn't been seen in a horror show since The Twilight Zone, if even then. Between a massive devoted fanbase, huge ratings and rolling in critical acclaim, the series was riding on the kind of high most series would die for. At its peak there was frankly only one show that could even come close to matching it.

Okay two, if you count Seinfeld.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Case 04, File 10: Paper Hearts

AKA: The Hearts Are Made Of Cloth Dude

I think it's a bit of a false dichotomy to assume that, in an episodic series like The X-Files we have to keep our plot and character furthering stuff separate from the Monster of the Week episodes. Some of Buffy's best character work was done in what amounted to Monster of the Week episodes, so we know it's possible. Still, the series usually keeps the overarching stuff from touching the Monster of the Week stuff.  Usually

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Case 04, File 09: Terma

AKA: Gulags Are Known For Being Easy To Break Out Of

The difficulty in doing a two part episode, especially in the pre-Netflix era, is that you want to have each episode have a complete narrative while tying into each other, since you can't be sure that your audience will get to see both episodes. And The not the best at this. Yes there's the Duane Barry trilogy, but a lot of times the dual episodes either have a weak opening or fails to stick the landing. But there have to be some exceptions. Sometimes they have to get both episodes right.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Case 04, File 08: Tunguska

AKA: Not Approved By The Russian Tourism Bureau

For the longest time, whenever someone asked me what my favorite Myth arc episodes are, once we discounted the Duane Barry trilogy (which is more about Mulder and Scully's relationship than the overarching plot), I would answer the Tunguska/Terma duo. Partially because it felt nice to have an answer (and prove I'm not totally anti-myth arc) and partially because it sticks out in my brain pretty strongly. And since part of the point of this project is to interrogate my memories of my favorite show, this is one review I've been looking forward to.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Case 04, File 07: Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man

AKA: The Most Evil Thing You Can Do Is Write Tom Clancy Knockoffs

The X-Files is, on the whole, not overly interested in the people who make up its villainous conspiracy. They exist, they live and they die, but they're not generally explored beyond that. The exception is, of course, the Cigarette Smoking Man, the longest running and most well known member of the conspiracy. The desire to flesh him out, to make him less of a force of nature and more of a person, had to be handled carefully, lest they risk making him less interesting or less of a threat.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Case 04, File 06: Sanguinarium

AKA: The Gritty Scrubs Crossover We've All Been Waiting For

There's a lot to be said about episodes like The Field Where I Died or the next episode Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man. Episodes like that take the show in new, interesting directions, expanding the types of stories the series can tell, flesh out the world and characters and are just generally incredibly healthy for the show. But there's also a hell of a lot to be said about episodes that are just right in The X-Files' wheelhouse.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Case 04, File 05: The Field Where I Died

AKA: Ripped From Last Centuries Headlines

One of the side effects of being a concept heavy show is that its very rarely on the actors to carry the episode. Oh there have been some really great individual performances such as Brad Dourif in Beyond the Sea or Tony Todd in Sleepless, but that's the actor carrying the concept rather than the actor carrying the episode. So it's pretty interesting to see an episode with a pretty light concept being held up by the acting, especially when the heavy acting is coming from one of our two leads.