Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Case 01, File 18: Teso Dos Bichos

AKA: Faster Kitty Cat, Kill Kill Kill

Despite my nitpicking of some individual episodes, if I'm being 100 percent honest, The X-Files has been batting 1,000. The entirety of season 3 up to this point has had some of the best episodes of the series, most of the others have been exceptional, even the weaker ones have been pretty damned good. I knew, instinctively, that such a run of great episodes had to end, even the first time I watched it. I just didn't expect it to collapse in such spectacular fashion.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Case 03, File 17: Pusher

AKA: Push It Real Good

Way back in the day when I first discovered that Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad, wrote for The X-Files, I went back over the episodes he wrote to see if there were any connections. And while there is a fairly obvious one I won't talk about until a Vince Gilligan penned episode WAY down the line in Season 6, I always found this story, about a man with terminal cancer who decides he's going to live out his final days doing illegal things and being a dick about it to have some connection to Gilligan's masterpiece.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Case 03, File 16: Apocrypha

AKA: Aliens Drink Your Milkshake

Back when you first start watching The X-Files, you are always under the impression that the show has a long term plan for its Myth Arc that will eventually bear out. Once you've finished it, you realize that it was mostly just making it up as it goes, which is good preparation for disappointment from stuff like Battlestar Galactica or Lost. That isn't necessarily a bad thing; Junji Ito's Uzumaki was written by the seat of its pants and it has a great story and ending. It does make some individual episodes kind of messy though.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Case 03, File 15: Piper Maru

AKA: Oil Is Usually Black, Right?

Ah, the Black Oil. One of the most key components of The X-Files' internal mythology, and yet it didn't show up until over halfway through the third season. It's definitely one of the most memorable aspects of the mythology, visually distinct and utterly unique from most of the previously established alien mythology (which, aside from the Alien Bounty Hunter, have been pretty straightforwardly pulled from general UFO ephemera). And its introduction would mark a major turning point in the story.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Case 03, File 14: Grotesque

AKA: Gargoyles Are My Design

A lot of great horror is found in subtly, ambiguity, the sense of not being sure what's going on, which is why it's a bit of a shame The X-Files doesn't indulge in it very often. The Shining is one of the greatest horror films ever made, and that final shot, which makes you question everything that came before, is one of the big reasons why. Although, I will say, the usual lack of any ambiguity makes those moments where it pops up very memorable.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Case 03, File 13: Syzygy

AKA: You Guys Ever See The Craft?

The X-Files is a fairly adult show. I don't mean that there's lots of sex and violence (although it can get pretty violent at times). I mean that the characters are entirely adults, who have finished college, have steady jobs and have no children (and generally no desire for them). The only way the show could be more adult is if we saw them doing taxes on screen. This isn't a complaint but it does mean the moments where the show dips its toe into actual contemporary teen culture...odd.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Case 03, File 12: War of the Coprophages

AKA: Kafkaesque on the Shore

Darin Morgan is one of those X-Files writers who is really really excellent in a way that's very hard to quantify if you're not an X-Files fan. I've heard him compared to Larry Charles for Seinfeld, but Charles is important because he wrote a huge number of episodes, Darin Morgan only wrote 5 (and one of them was in the new season). But he made an indelible mark on the show in those 5 episodes, to the point where the show was still imitating him seasons after he stopped writing for them, and even the least of his episodes is a stone cold classic.