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The X-Files – The Rain King (Review)

This July, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the sixth season of The X-Files and the third (and final) season of Millennium.

I do not “gaze” at Scully.

Somewhere over the rainbow...

Somewhere over the rainbow…

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“Mulder and Scully” by Catatonia (Review)

This May and June, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fifth season of The X-Files and the second season of Millennium.

Things are getting strange, I’m starting to worry

this could be a case for Mulder and Scully…

If you needed proof that The X-Files was a cultural juggernaut in the mid-to-late nineties, look no further than Mulder and Scully.

The first single off Catatonia’s International Velvet propelled the band to new heights of fame and fortune. Before the release of Mulder and Scully, the band had skulked around the bottom of the British charts; their biggest success before that point had been You’ve Got a Lot to Answer For, a song lucky to scrape the top forty. Indeed, reaching the third position in the United Kingdom charts, Mulder and Scully easily became the Welsh band’s largest pop hit. A month after the release of Mulder and Scully, its parent album would reach the top of the international charts.

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Having a Wales of a time…

Indeed, it could be argued that Catatonia’s success overlapped quite neatly with that of The X-Files. The core of the band’s “classic” line-up, Cerys Matthews and Mark Roberts, began writing songs together in 1992. The single Mulder and Scully and the album International Velvet represented the peak of their success. The band would release two more albums building off the success of International Velvet, before formally announcing the dissolution of the band in September 2001. It is an arc that roughly mirrors that of The X-Files – suggesting Catatonia were another nineties artifact.

Although Mulder and Scully was Catatonia’s biggest success, it is worth noting The X-Files had enjoyed a great deal of success in the British charts. Late in the show’s third season, the theme song had been released as a single in its own right. Mark Snow’s iconic opening credits music had climbed all the way to the number two slot. Nevertheless, Mulder and Scully is interesting because it is a massive hit about the show that came from outside the production office. The X-Files had conquered television, now it seemed to be laying claim to both cinema and the pop charts.

Sing when you're winning...

Sing when you’re winning…

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‘Ship Shape or Ex-Files? Mulder, Scully and Paranormal Romance

This November (and a little of December), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the third season of The X-Files and the first (and only) season of Space: Above and Beyond.

It is very hard to talk about The X-Files without talking about the relationship between Mulder and Scully.

This goes without saying. After all, David Duchovny was a regular for seven years of the show, making a few appearances across the final seasons. Gillian Anderson was in the primary cast for all nine seasons. Both movies have centred around the characters. The recent comic book “Season Ten” returns to the classic Mulder and Scully dynamic. It is impossible to imagine The X-Files without Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

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Given how frequently the possibility of a revival comes up, one suspects that the biggest problem with potentially rebooting or relaunching the series is the fact that it would be impossible to book Duchovny and Anderson for twenty-odd episodes in a given year. Surely some enthusiastic executive has pitched a new X-Files show (“the neXt files”, perhaps?), only to have the idea shot down because it fails to consider how big a deal Mulder and Scully are to the show.

Indeed, given how important Mulder and Scully are to the show, it seems inevitable the discussion would turn towards the possibility of a romantic relationship between the two. They are two very attractive straight people of opposite genders with great chemistry. Romance seems all but assured between the two. Of course the possibility of a romance between Mulder and Scully became a fault line in X-Files fandom.

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The X-Files – Syzygy (Review)

This November (and a little of December), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the third season of The X-Files and the first (and only) season of Space: Above and Beyond.

On original broadcast, Syzygy and War of the Coprophages were separated by three weeks, airing either end of January.

That probably helps to make Syzygy seem like less of a disappointing retread on initial broadcast, but it doesn’t help on modern binge re-watches. Even allowing for the three weeks between the episodes, Syzygy was always going to suffer in comparison its direct predecessor. If War of the Coprophages was Darin Morgan affectionately mimicking Chris Carter’s style, then Syzygy feels like Carter’s attempt to write a script in a voice quite close to that of Darin Morgan.

The horny beast...

The horny beast…

Structurally, the third season is constructed quite cleverly – and Syzygy is a massive part of that. The third season seems to fold in on itself, which means it makes sense for Syzygy to serve as a fun house mirror War of the Coprophages from a purely structural perspective. The problem is that this decision adds a lot to the third season of the whole while undermining Syzygy itself. It feels like an unsatisfactory decision.

However, even divorced from context, Syzygy is still a mess of an episode. Carter would go on to provide some of the show’s most comedic hours in later seasons, and Syzygy marks a starting point of that trend. It is not an auspicious beginning.

Reading the signs...

Reading the signs…

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