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.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Case 04, File 01: Herrenvolk

AKA: It Is A Physical Struggle To Not Make A Wicker Man Reference

Season 4 of The X-Files is a special season for me, probably my favorite overall, and part of that was the sheer freedom they were getting from Fox. It was this year that The Simpsons made the crack about the only three shows Fox had that were consistently making money, one of which was The X-Files and the writers seemed to use that freedom to take the show in a bleaker, more brutal direction, that gave the series more bite and made some of the most intense and memorable moments of the series.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Case 03, File 24: Talitha Cumi

AKA: Ancient Aliens' Wet Dream

Honestly, part of the reason I prefer reviewing Monster of the Week episodes is that they have a wider variance of quality and interesting things to talk about. The Mythology episodes can be good and they can be bad, but they very rarely swing as high or as low as some of the Monster of the Week episodes, and I tend to have the same criticisms. I mean, I assume you're as tired of reading that an episode sets up the next one but spins its wheels too much as I am of writing it, but here we are.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Case 03, File 23: Wetwired

AKA: I Think I'm Paranoid

Usually when examining The X-Files, I (along with with most people) divide the series into two kinds of episodes: Monster of the Week and Mythology. And while that's a handy way of cataloging the series, its not actually that clear cut. Several times an episode has appeared to be a Monster of the Week and turned out to Mythology episode (its sort of happened in reverse a couple times but not as notably). Its a hard shift to pull off, as the attempts to conceal the Conspiracy's hand in things tends to leave the episode a little confused and awkward. But there are ways to make the transition work.