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The X-Files – Jump the Shark (Review)

This December, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the ninth season of The X-Files.

As The X-Files trundles towards its finalé, there is a sense that the production team do not understand “closure.”

There is, of course, a cheap gag to be made here. Long-time fans of the show might joke that the show never understood the concept of “closure”, as demonstrated by the fact that the show’s mythology frequently resembled a precariously-balanced tower of Jenga bricks gently swaying in a light breeze. This is perhaps a bit unfair; episodes like Requiem and Existence had done a good job of bringing the television show to a point where it might end, only for the show to be picked up for another season.

Shot down in their prime... time slot.

Shot down in their prime… time slot.

The end of the ninth season differs from the ends of the seventh or eighth because the production team know that the show is going to end. There will be no last-minute reprieve, no green-light give mere days before the last episode is actually broadcast. This is, in many ways, the end of The X-Files. With that in mind, the final episodes of the ninth season begin tidying away dangling plot threads and narrative loose ends in the hopes of satisfying the audience. The show seems to be running through a checklist. Lone Gunmen now. William next. Luke Doggett after that.

The problem, of course, is that none of these concepts are really calling for definitive “closure.” There is no reason for the show to draw a line under these supporting characters or plot arcs. It is possible for fans to imagine life beyond a television show for many characters without engaging in ruthless pruning. The Lone Gunmen do not need an epic send-off. In fact, the idea of an epic send-off seems to represent a misunderstanding of the characters themselves.

"Chris Carter said we're invited to the wrap party..."

“Chris Carter said we’re invited to the wrap party…”

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Jumping the Sharks at the Smock Alley Theatre

Jumping The Shark is the moment when an established show changes in a significant manner in an attempt to stay fresh. Ironically, that moment makes the viewers realise that the show has finally run out of ideas. It has reached its peak, it will never be the same again, and from now on it’s all downhill.

tvtropes.org

Jumping the Sharks is a small, quirky play. Essentially a one-man one-act play following the triumph and decline of a Hollywood big shot as he waits in what must be limbo while outlining the seven core stories, it banks a lot on the central performance of Don Wycherley. Wycherley, an actor you might recognise from Perrier’s Bounty or Sweeney Todd, gives the play his all as former television executive and now dearly departed Nick Cross, managing to seem a convincing and charming conversationalist on a sparse stage. His delivery is truly impressive, inviting the audience to overlook some of the sleight of hand the play uses, and helping the hour breeze by.

Swimming with sharks...

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