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New Podcast! The X-Cast X-Files Podwatch – Episode #75 (Orison/The Amazing Maleeni)

I’m thrilled to be a part of The X-Cast X-Files Podwatch, a daily snippet podcast rewatching the entirety of The X-Files between now and the launch of the new season. It is something of a spin-off of The X-Cast, a great X-Files podcast run by the charming Tony Black. Tony has assembled a fantastic array of guests and hosts to go through The X-Files episode-by-episodes. With the new season announced to be starting in early January, Tony’s doing two episodes of the podcast per day, so buckle up. We’re almost there at this point, approaching the end of the Duchovny era of the show.

My first appearance of the somewhat uneven seventh season teams me up with the wonderful Clara Cook once again. We’re discussing two rather distinct episodes of the season, Orison and The Amazing Maleeni. Two very different episodes, both in terms of tone and in terms of quality. Enjoy!

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The X-Files – The Amazing Maleeni (Review)

This November, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the seventh season of The X-Files and the first (and only) season of Harsh Realm.

The Amazing Maleeni is light and fairly unobjectionable.

There is nothing necessarily bad about the episode. It is inoffensive and effective. It is a story about magic that features any number of magic tricks, twisting and turning as stories about magic are contractually obligated to twist and turn. There are betrayals and double-crosses, gambits and reveals. Nobody is who they claim to be, and everything is suspect. Individual events are never what they initially appear to be, creating a sense that the audience is watching the dominos cascade. The Amazing Maleeni does almost everything that it needs to do.

Top it all off...

Top it all off…

At the same time, there is something lifeless about the final episode; something almost routine. The Amazing Maleeni feels like a rough sketch of a much stronger episode. The mechanics of the trick are in place, but the performance needs a little more polish. There is no dynamism to the episode. The Amazing Maleeni sacrifices momentum for whimsy, charm for engagement. As an episode of television, The Amazing Maleeni is a pleasant way to pass forty-five minutes. Ultimately, it leaves no real impression.

The Amazing Maleeni is more illusion than magic.

Give the man a hand (cuff)!

Give the man a hand (cuff)!

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Non-Review Review: Deceptive Practice – The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay

A veteran magic performer since his childhood, with a career stretching back over half a century, Ricky Jay is an absolutely fascinating subject. Jay is a master magician in his own right, but he’s also a writer, historian and actor. He is this gigantically important pop culture figure, having worked with directors like David Mamet or Paul Thomas Anderson – having appeared in film and television roles unconnected to his stage career. At one point, Jay even reads a poem written about him, The Game In The Windowless Room.

Jay has this incredible diversity of skills and interests, and it’s absolutely intriguing to delve into those interests. Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay suffers a bit from never really pinning down the man himself, but it does demonstrate his long and abiding affection for the artform of magic, as well as some insightful glimpses at the long history and pedigree of this most mysterious performance art.

deceptivepractice1

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