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The X-Files – Surekill (Review)

This October/November, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the eighth season of The X-Files and the first (and only) season of The Lone Gunmen.

And with Surekill, the eighth season of The X-Files hits a problem.

The eighth season of The X-Files starts out strong, doing a good job of introducing a new major character without forcing him down the audience’s throat and allowing viewers to come to terms with the idea of The X-Files without Mulder. Even if some of the episodes are not jaw-droppingly amazing, there is a novelty to the format and a genuine curiosity that makes the opening seven episodes of the season more intriguing and exciting than the show has been in quite some time.

A hole lot of trouble...

A hole lot of trouble…

The eighth season also finishes strong. It is tempting to put this all upon the return of David Duchovny to the show, bringing a sense of stability to the series. That is definitely a factor, but discussions of the eighth season tend overlook how the final stretch of the year is the most serialised that the show (and the mythology) has ever been and ever will be. For one brief (roughly ten-episode) run, it seemed like The X-Files had burst into the twentieth century with a new-found purpose and joie de vivre.

Notably, this leaves something of a lull in the middle of the season, between the opening stretch and before the season begins gathering momentum. This is the point at which it feels like this grand experiment might not actually work out, after all. It is very much an attempt to do by-the-book “monster of the week” stories in the traditional style of The X-Files, now that Doggett has settled in. Unfortunately, this only has the effect of reinforcing that one of the key ingredients of a classic by-the-book “monster of the week” story is sorely missing. Doggett is no Mulder.

Throwing in the towel...

Throwing in the towel…

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The X-Files – Fearful Symmetry (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.

Fearful Symmetry is an embarrassing mess of an episode. It’s ambitious, but it’s clumsy and over-wrought. It aspires to great things, but is instead completely banal. For a show featuring an invisible elephant, that’s no small accomplishment.

Tyger, Tyger...

Tyger, Tyger…

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