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The X-Files (IDW) Annual 2015 – Most Likely to… (Review)

This June, we’re going to be taking a look at the current run of The X-Files, beginning with the IDW comic book revival and perhaps taking some detours along the way. Check back daily for the latest review.

Most Likely to… is an interesting stories in a number of respects.

Most obviously, it represents a clear change in how IDW are approaching their X-Files license. When The X-Files: Season 10 was announced in January 2013, a big deal was made of the fact that it would be the “official” continuation of the adventures of Mulder and Scully. The comic line was very much an expansion of the series, to the point that the bulk of issues – including spin-offs like Conspiracy and like Millennium – took place following the events of The X-Files: I Want to Believe. The future of the franchise was up for grabs.

Flashback.

Flashback.

Most Likely to… is notable as the first X-Files comic published by IDW to unfold entirely within the continuity of the television series, rather than beyond it. Even the framing device in Year Zero was very much set during Season 10. The comic is dated as taking place in November 1999, which would place it early in the seventh season of the show. The dialogue makes it clear that this issue takes place before the events of Sein und Zeit and Closure. This choice of setting feels more like the Topps or Wildstorm comics than the IDW line.

This is a very interesting transition, given how keenly IDW had been focused on their position as the continuation of the franchise. However, it does demonstrate just how much as changed.

Burning down the house...

Burning down the house…

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Star Trek: Voyager – Flashback (Review)

This February and March (and a little bit of April), we’re taking a look at the 1995 to 1996 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

Flashback was largely advertised as Star Trek: Voyager‘s contribution to the thirtieth anniversary celebrations of the Star Trek franchise.

It featured guest appearances from three alumni of the original show. It was set during the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. It featured Tuvok and Janeway dressing up in movie-era uniforms. It was publicised as “a very special episode.” It aired only three days after the thirtieth anniversary, while Star Trek: Deep Space Nine waited nearly two months to broadcast Trials and Tribble-ations. Anybody would be forgiven for looking at Flashback as the obligatory nostalgic celebratory adventure to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Star Trek franchise.

Hero shot.

Hero shot.

Put simply, Flashback does not work in that context. Although it features Captain Hikaru Sulu, the episode doesn’t actually allow him to accomplish anything. As far as “secret histories” go, the episode turns out to be a bit of a cul de sac. More to the point, the continuity is a mess, both in broad franchise terms and specifically with regards to the feature film it heavily references. Although it is great to see Grace Lee Whitney and George Takei back, the script only allows them to interact with Tim Russ and (fleetingly) Kate Mulgrew.

In fact, it could convincingly be argued that Future’s End, Part I and Future’s End, Part II do a much better job of filling the “celebratory thirtieth anniversary story” slot than Flashback, despite the notable absence of any actual characters from the original show. Future’s End, Part I and Future’s End, Part II feel like a gigantic (and enjoyable) homage to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which is both hugely fun and also weirdly appropriate in a play-on-words sort of way. That is more in line with what fans were expecting for the anniversary: nostalgic fun.

Tim Russ was as excited as anyone to get a Tuvok episode.

Tim Russ was as excited as anyone to get a Tuvok episode.

In contrast, Flashback is something altogether stranger. Brannon Braga had been working on the story before it was suggested that Voyager should do a thirtieth anniversary episode, and Flashback plays more as a Brannon Braga script that ties into an anniversary more than an anniversary episode that happens to be written by Brannon Braga. Despite its high-profile guest cast, Flashback has more in common with Braga’s mind-bending scripts for Frame of Mind or Projections than with Trials and Tribble-ations.

Nevertheless, there is something fascinating about Flashback, because it allows Braga to use the springboard of the thirtieth anniversary to talk about memory.

The teacup that he shattered didn't come together...

The teacup that he shattered didn’t come together…

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