Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Case 01, File 11: Eve

AKA: Come Play With Us Mulder


While twins are not universally creepy, there is something about them that other people can find...odd. I remember watching a video which involved Tegan and Sara (who are twins, and one of my favorite bands) and they mentioned how they would occasionally wear the same outfit, even when they're miles apart, without coordinating, and I found that to be odd.

This oddness can easily be pushed into creepiness with proper framing and direction, and many great films have made use of these, either as a central element (David Cronenberg's excellent Dead Ringers) or as a minor scene (the infamous scene in Kubrick's The Shining). And while it was inevitable that The X-Files would get in on it, this is one conceit I don't think anyone expected them to ramp up to 11.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Case 01, File 10: Fallen Angel

AKA: If it Bleeds, We Can Kill - Oh Never Mind



Over the course of 9 seasons, it became increasingly clear to anyone watching that The X-Files really didn't have much in the way of an overarching plan for its Myth Arc. I was never 100 percent clear if they had a plan to begin with and ran out of it, ala Battlestar Galactica or if they just were making it up as they go along from the word go. As a result, the rules, goals and appearances of the aliens tends to be somewhat...shall we say, inconsistent?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Case 01, File 09: Space

AKA: Space Core's Favorite Episode


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Wha-what? Oh right, the review. Ahem. I don't bring it up much, but I do research the production history of each episode when I review it. I'll bring it up as I find it appropriate,but in this case, I feel it's exceptionally appropriate, since this episode came about from studio mandate to have an episode come in under budget, and was therefore written to use a ton of cheap stock footage.

Hilariously enough, the NASA set went over budget and the episode wound up the most expensive of season 1.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Case 01, File 08: Ice

AKA: John Carpen-who?

It is inevitable that, over the course of The X-Files' epic 9 season run, that it would repeat itself. That's not a complaint, not really. There are over 200 episodes, and it's really unavoidable that scenes and concepts would pop up multiple times, even unintentionally, or from entirely different writers. This has the unfortunate side effect of meaning that episodes that might be pretty good or even great on their own merits tend to get overlooked because their best scenes were done better in other episodes.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Case 01, File 07: Ghost in the Machine

AKA: I'm afraid I can't do that Mulder

Ghost in the Machine is an episode that a lot of people forget exists, or if they do, they mostly remember it as something of a 2001 knockoff. Which it kind of is (although I'd say it has far more in common with an obscure 1977 curiosity called Demon Seed). The reasons for this is obvious; Outside of a few solid scenes, the episode as a whole is pretty forgettable. So, I'll do my damndest to keep this review from being as forgettable.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Case 01, File 06: Shadows

AKA: Surrogate Daddy Issues From Beyond the Grave


One well I seem to remember The X-Files returning to a lot was the 'Revenge from the grave' well. It's a reliable enough well, as many movies, books and TV shows have used it in the past, but the flip side of that is that most elements of it have been covered already. As such these episodes tend toward being samey at worst, and kind of unoriginal at best. There are a couple that work though, so don't take my opinion on these episodes as given.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Case 01, File 05: The Jersey Devil

AKA: Eat Me Tonight in Atlantic City


Over the course of the next 9 seasons, The X-Files will draw inspiration for its monsters from dozens of different sources, from folklore, to urban legends to their own bizarre imaginations. The problem with drawing on existing folklore and legends, even recent ones, is that the time and budget constraints of TV can mean there isn't enough time to properly research the legend in question and you can wind up screwing it up. When the episode is good, people will brush it off, but if it isn't, well screwing up the source can become the main point of discussion.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Case 01, File 04: The Conduit

AKA: The Title Doesn't Come Up Much



It's worth pointing out that, while one generally associates the alien episodes with being part of the larger Myth arc, that's not always the case. Some of the alien based episodes are so self contained and apart from the conspiracy, especially in the early seasons, that they basically amount to a Monster of the Week episode. And while that could technically apply to Deep Throat, I feel like it applies much more strongly to this episode.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Case 01, File 03: Squeeze

AKA: Why Did I Think There Was a Rubber Man?



I don't think it's particularly controversial to say that I'm much more into the various Monster of the Week episodes than I am in the larger Myth Arc. Not that I don't enjoy the Myth Arc, but overall there's generally more enjoyment to be found in tuning in to see two characters I like tracking down weird monsters. And goddamn did The X-Files have some weird monsters.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Case 01, File 02: Deep Throat

AKA: Do Not Google Image Search the Title of This Episode



Something I realized as I watched, as I'm sure every X-Files fan eventually realized, is that the Myth Arc was not thought out in advance. For some fans, this realization is traumatic, but I took it in stride. The myth arc episodes always seemed to ask more questions than they answered and occasionally go around in circles, so I wasn't too bothered to figure out they weren't really going anywhere with it. All an episode can ask at that point is to be solid on its own merits, rather than as part of a larger whole.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Case 01, File 01: Pilot

AKA The FBI's Most Unwanted


Most TV shows, with the exception of shows focused on large overarching plots (Breaking Bad, Twin Peaks, Battlestar Galactica reboot), tend to open kind of shaky. With the exception of a handful of good episodes, the first season of Buffy is basically unwatchable, the first season or so of Seinfeld does not resemble what we think of as Seinfeld in any meaningful way, TNG didn't find its feet until mid season 2 to season 3, etc. etc.

That doesn't seem to really be the case with The X-Files. While there are a solid number of duds in the first season, the series really seemed to know what it wanted to be, and more importantly how to be that, from the word go. Which is more than I can say for a lot of shows.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Case 0, File 1: Mission Statement




AKA: So here's what this is.

Hello. My writing name is Elessar (not my real name, obviously). I am a staff writer for a website called Moar Powah and I am an absurdly huge fan of The X-Files