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Picket Fences – Away in the Manger (Review)

This August (and a little of September), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the second season of The X-Files. In November, we’ll be looking at the third season. And maybe more.

The crossover that almost was.

Red Museum is a mess of an episode. There are a lot of reasons for that, but perhaps the most obvious is the fact that it was originally intended as a very different story. In fact, Chris Carter had planned to cross The X-Files over with Picket Fences. While The X-Files was airing on Fox, Picket Fences was broadcast on CBS. Perhaps predicting the long-running feud that would evolve between those two networks in the twenty-first century, CBS decided it had better things to do on Friday nights than promote The X-Files.

We can talk about it till the cows come home...

We can talk about it till the cows come home…

The result is that Chris Carter and David E. Kelley had to hastily re-work their episodes, averting the crossover rather late in the cycle. Carter shifted the location of the story, and had to write a new ending. Kelley seems to have been a bit more casual, with Away in the Manger feeling like an episode that takes place perpendicular (if not quite overlapping) to Red Museum. The result is curious, two episodes that speak to their own shows – but also the differences and similarities between Picket Fences and The X-Files.

In some ways, Away in the Manger feels almost like an episode of The X-Files shot from a different perspective.

Agent Morrell, FBI...

Agent Morrell, FBI…

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The X-Files – Red Museum (Review)

This August (and a little of September), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the second season of The X-Files. In November, we’ll be looking at the third season. And maybe more.

While Firewalker is a solid episode ill-served by its position in the schedule and its similarity to an early episode of the show, Red Museum is just a mess.

The production issues with Red Museum are infamous. It was intended as the first part of a crossover between The X-Files and Picket Fences, both airing on Friday nights. The idea was that fans could tune into The X-Files on Fox for the first part of the story, and then move over to CBS after the credits rolled to pick up the case on Picket Fences. It was an ambitious effort – too ambitious. Although showrunners Chris Carter and David E. Kelley agreed on the idea, CBS vetoed it. It resulted in two orphaned hours of television, Red Museum and Away in the Manger.

Well, not quite. The result is something of a malformed two-parter composed of two individual malformed episodes.

He likes to watch...

He likes to watch…

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