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Millennium – 5-2-2-6-6-6 (Review)

This February and March, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fourth season of The X-Files and the first season of Millennium.

It is interesting to compare and contrast the scripts that Morgan and Wong wrote for the fourth season of The X-Files with the scripts that they wrote for the first season of Millennium. The duo were writing for both shows at the same time – with episodes frequently airing within a week of each other. Morgan tended to focus more on the four X-Files scripts, while Wong worked primarily on the three Millennium episodes. While the seven scripts are all fascinating in their own way, there is a marked difference in how the duo approach the two shows.

Their four episodes of The X-Files are very bold and experimental – they look and feel utterly unlike anything that the show has done; before or after. These four scripts seem to needle at the show, pushing it further. Home seems designed to see how much unpleasantness the writers can get on to Fox prime time in the nineties. The Field Where I Died is a thoughtful and melancholy romance with no companion in the X-Files canon. Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man parodies the show’s central conspiracy. Never Again makes the Mulder/Scully dynamic toxic.

Having a blast...

Having a blast…

That makes a great deal of sense. After all, The X-Files was in its fourth season. It was approaching that impressive “one hundredth episode” landmark, the number of episodes necessary before the show would be secure in syndication. (At least in the television landscape of the nineties.) Although less than half-way through its eventual nine-season run, The X-Files was an old dog by this stage of its life cycle. As such, it made a great deal of sense for Morgan and Wong – two writers who had been there at the beginning – to shake things up.

In contrast, the three scripts that Morgan and Wong wrote for the first season of Millennium are a bit more conservative in scope and tone. They are fascinating pieces of television that help to establish the mood of the show, but they are not as experimental of the work that Morgan and Wong were doing on The X-Files. Again, this makes a great deal of sense. Millennium was still a very young show. It was still defining its own identity, figuring out what it wanted and needed to be. Morgan and Wong’s three scripts are essential in that development.

Taking a page from the Group...

Taking a page from the Group…

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Can a Good Talent Be Over-Exposed?

Jeremy Renner is having a good year. Recently confirmed to take over from Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, offered the job of taking over from Matt Damon in the Bourne series, playing Hawkeye in both Thor and The Avengers, and starring in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, it seems that Renner is on the cusp of being huge. And, for those of us who have noted Renner’s performances in films like The Town and The Hurt Locker, it’s surely well-deserved. However, can Renner be over-exposed?

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Where’s Your Head At? Floating Head Syndrome & Movie Posters

Iron Man 2 has had a fairly spectacular pre-release buzz going on. It’s the sequel to a beloved film, it’s got an all-star cast and two spectacular trailers. So the movie poster should be made of awesome, right? Em, not really. The first question which occurred to me was “where is Sam Rockwell?” The second question that occurred to me was “where is everyone else’s body?” Yes, the poster had succumbed to the dreaded floating head syndrome.

Should Tony Stark be more worried that Mickey Rourke is trying to kill him or that the lower half of his body has phased out of existence?

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Cruise Control – Thoughts on Tom Cruise

I am going to just come out and say this. I like Tom Cruise as an actor. I think he’s hugely talented and vastly underrated. I think he suffers from a subset of the Sean Penn Syndrome that affects Christian Bale – his wacky personal life tends to overshadow his on-screen roles, which is a damn shame, given the talent that’s been hinted at repeatedly throughout his career.

A pleasant cruise...

A pleasant cruise...

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