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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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When the Sheen Comes Off: The Lonely Ballad of Charlie Sheen…

It’s human nature to want to rubberneck at some grotesque car wreck. I have no idea where that grim compulsion is rooted, but it is buried deep within our human nature – we can’t resist it, like some form of morbid curiosity. In fact, on major motorways, the problem is so intense in that it has been suggested in the Netherlands that police should erect blank screens to stop passing drivers from peering at accidents. As I watch Charlie Sheen’s continuing descent into madness (because it seems – defying the laws of nature – like there is no rock bottom), I can’t help but wonder if we should do something similar about the actor’s recent attempts to train wreck his career.

He's not Half the Man he used to be...

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