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.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Case 04, File 04: Unruhe

AKA: Mister Police, You Could Have Saved Her, I Thoughtographed All The Clues

It's something that doesn't come up much, but I've always felt that one of the things that helped The X-Files get greenlit is the massive smash success of Silence of the Lambs just two years before the Pilot aired. There's probably an interesting article to write about the debt The X-Files owes Silence, but honestly, it can be best seen in episodes like this one or Irresistible which feel like they could almost be lost Thomas Harris books.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Case 04, File 03: Teliko

AKA: The Gang Kills A Melanin Vampire

Part of what keeps The X-Files unique and engaging is the fact they're always wiling and able to come up with new and interesting ideas for its monsters of the week. Sometimes these were cool monster designs, sometimes they were just a fresh take on an old idea or sometimes they were just presented in a cool way. However, this creativity can occasionally backfire, especially when dealing with other people's cultures

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Case 04, File 02: Home

AKA: The People Who Should Go Back Under The Stairs

I've mentioned (once, twice, a few dozen times) that Season 4 is the moment where the series felt bulletproof enough to take the series in a darker, grimmer direction and it's important to put that in context. The series has always been irrevocably an adult show, but it also a show that was usually pretty restrained in its content, enough so that it managed to keep its Parental Guidance rating at TV-14. So when the series got its first TV-MA, it was something of a big deal.