Monday, May 30, 2016

Case 01, File 24: The Erlenmeyer Flask

AKA: I Don't Know Why It's Called That Either

One of the more charming aspects of The X-Files to me is that it always seems to suddenly remember it has an overarching plot right at the end of each season. After 24 episodes of spinning the wheels and Monster of the Week episodes, it suddenly remembers it needs to move the plot forward and forces what amounts to half a season's worth of plot development into 45 minutes. But, if nothing else, it usually makes for an entertaining season finale.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Case 01, File 23: Roland

AKA: Gold Medalist in the Gross Ways to Die Event

I mentioned a couple episodes back that The X-Files has an awkward history of addressing non-white races, and I was all prepped to say the same thing about its attempts to address people who are mentally challenged, but that might be a little unfair, because that issue is far from isolated to The X-Files. The Hollywood system means that people who have mental challenges rarely get to write, direct or act their own stories, so its left to writers trying to write them from the outside, which can lead to an over-reliance on cliches and ugly stereotypes, which can not only perpetuate said stereotypes but can damage the overall story the writer are trying to tell.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Case 01, File 22: Born Again

AKA: Like The Departed But With Ghosts

I mentioned last week that The X-Files' best conceit was reimagining staples of Americana or quintessentially American ideas and events, like Chemtrails or the Waco massacre, into horror movie concepts. This isn't really a new thing (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes both did it) but The X-Files did it more consistently and more successfully than anyone else. I mentioned The Hills Have Eyes above paritally because that movie got so thoroughly trumped by Home. But that's three seasons away, and The X-Files is still working hard to hammer itself into shape, so its attempt at reimagining the quintessentially American corrupt cop story into an X-File didn't go so well.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Case 01, File 21: Tooms

AKA: There's Elastic Man, Plastic Man...

The X-Files has an awkward history in doing followups to their well received episodes. The temptation is always there of course, since most episodes end vaguely, with the implication that the monster of the week is still out there, if not active. The problem is, there's usually not a lot of meat on those bones. To its credit, the show always managed to avoid the sequel episodes being just a retread of the original, but that means that they tend to wind up...well a little weird. We'll cover the strangest one way, way, WAY down the line when we get to Season 7, but for now, let's talk about this one.