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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 8, Episode 2 (“Without”)

The X-Cast is covering the eighth season of The X-Files. This is one of my favourite seasons of television ever, in large part because it’s a season that manages to build a convincing narrative and character arc around a very challenging production reality, and in doing so forced the show itself to evolve and change. I’m thrilled to join Sarah L. Blair for a discussion of the second half of the season premiere.

Without is a very meditative piece of television, which is a bold and interesting choice for the second half of a season premiere. It is essentially an episode about absences, about the lack of resolution or even meaningful linear progress. It’s an episode that is about confronting the reality that The X-Files no longer has one of its two leading characters available to it. What does that version of The X-Files look like? Without is essentially a story about wandering through the desert.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Topps Comics #1 (“Not to Be Opened Until X-Mas” / “A Dismemberance of Things Past”)

I’ve been thrilled to guest on The X-Cast over the past few years, and have really enjoyed digging into The X-Files with the guests and hosts. However, this is particularly thrilling, because it’s particularly geeky. The wonderful Tony Black asked me join him for a discussion of the first two stories published by Topps comics, Not to Be Opened Until X-Mas and A Dismemberance of Things Past, written by Stefan Petrucha and illustrated by Charlie Adlard.

I have made no secret of my long-standing affection for these comics. I think that they are probably among the very best licensed comic books ever published. So it was a delight to be asked to talk about them, and to get to geek out with Tony about these stories. There’s a lot of fun stuff here, including context about the comics industry in the nineties and the question of what was possible in a monthly tie-in to a weekly television series.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 7, Episode 22 (“Requiem”)

The X-Cast is covering the seventh season of The X-Files. It is a season that arrives at an interesting point in the larger arc of the series, with the creative team trying to both prepare for the end of the show without actually committing to it. I joined Carl Sweeney, Cathy Glinski and Kurt North to discuss the season finale, which perfectly encapsulates this tension.

Requiem is an episode that existed in a variety of contexts between production and airing. When it was filmed, there was every possibility that it could be the last episode of The X-Files ever. Chris Carter wanted to use it as a launching pad to a series of spin-off movies. However, between filming and broadcast, its meaning shifted dramatically. Following a disastrous season, Fox had no choice but to greenlight an eighth season of The X-Files, and David Duchovny reached a settlement in his lawsuit against Fox. Requiem went from being a series finale to a season finale, without changing a single shot.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 7, Episode 15 (“En Ami”)

The X-Cast is covering the seventh season of The X-Files. It is a season that arrives at an interesting point in the larger arc of the series, with the creative team trying to both prepare for the end of the show without actually committing to it. En Ami is an interesting episode in that regard.

Creditted to actor William B. Davis, En Ami is an episode focusing on the Cigarette-Smoking Man. It is not the first episode to focus on the character, as Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man had aired three seasons earlier. However, like both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, Davis seemed to be taking advantage of the show winding down to put his own authorial stamp on the character that he had played since The Pilot. The result is interesting and contradictory, complicated and compelling. It’s messy, but it’s also fascinating.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 7, Episode 11 (“Closure”)

The X-Cast is covering the seventh season of The X-Files. It’s an interesting and divisive season of the show, a season that seems to have been intended to serve as the end of the show’s run, but is now closer to the middle of the series’ run. Although the sixth season had wrapped up a lot of the mythology in Two Fathers and One Son, the seventh season still had some tidying up to do. I was thrilled to join Carl Sweeney and Chris Knowles for an episode doing some of that tidying up: Closure.

Samantha Mulder had haunted the show since the very beginning. In The Pilot and Conduit, Samantha’s mysterious disappearance was positioned as the reason for Mulder’s quest. Over the years, in episodes like Colony and End Game or Redux II, Samantha remained pivotal to the show’s central mythology. She was perhaps the biggest remaining plot thread as the show entered its seventh season. Closure is an attempt to wrap up that dangling plot thread, and to provide a satisfying answer once and for all to one of the show’s biggest remaining mysteries.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 7, Episode 7 (“Orison”)

With The X-Cast moving on to coverage of the seventh season of The X-Files, and the legacy of Millennium lingering on, I was thrilled to be invited back on to talk about the episode Orison, which feels in many ways like Millennium folding back into The X-Files – it marks the first X-Files script from former Millennium showrunner Chip Johannessen and the return of the serial killer (“death fetishist”) Donny Pfaster.

Orison marks one of the rare times that The X-Files has returned to a pre-existing monster outside of the mythology; the only other major examples are the first season episode Tooms and the fifth season episode Kitsunegari. However, what’s particularly striking about Orison is that Donnie Pfaster is just one facet of an episode that has a lot going. In many ways, it feels like a companion piece to Johannessen’s third season scripts for Millennium, episodes like Saturn Dreaming of Mercury and Bardo Thodol.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 7, Episode 4 (“Millennium”)

With The X-Cast moving on to coverage of the seventh season of The X-Files, and the episode Millennium fast approaching, it seemed like a good time to resurrect the Time is Now podcast. So I joined Kurt North to talk about the controversial episode.

Millennium is a very strange episode of television. It is designed to serve as a de facto series finale for Chris Carter’s Millennium while folding it into the mythology of The X-Files. However, it is an episode where two of the three credited writers have never worked on Millennium, and which builds to a climax of the mythology of Millennium which doesn’t really fit with anything that appeared on screen. However, it is also the episode that builds to the first on-screen kiss between Mulder and Scully, which creates an interesting tension in terms of the episode’s priorities.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 7, Episode 2 (“Amor Fati X-tra: The Last Temptation of Mulder”)

With The X-Cast moving on to coverage of the seventh season of The X-Files, I was thrilled to join Kurt North and Marlene Stemme to discuss the seventh season premiere – The Sixth Extinction and The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati – in the context of Martin Scorsese’ The Last Temptation of Christ.

Scorsese’s biblical epic was one of the most controversial major studio releases of the late eighties, attracting death threats and protests for its portrayal of Jesus Christ. It formed the basis for Mulder’s journey in The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati, with the two-parter directly lifting several scenes from the film. It’s interesting to interrogate, in large part because – despite the influence of seventies cinema on The X-Files – it feels like the show’s only real point of intersection with one of the most influential filmmakers of the seventies.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 6, Episode 22 (“Biogenesis”)

Coinciding with The X-Files‘ move from Vancouver to Los Angeles, there has also been a shift at The X-Cast. Tony Black is no longer running the show, but it is instead now being run by Sarah Blair, Kurt North and Carl Sweeney. I was thrilled to join Carl to talk about the sixth season finale: Biogenesis.

Following Two Fathers and One Son in the middle of the sixth season, Biogenesis is a very odd season finale for The X-Files. It’s the only season finale that doesn’t have the luxury of hanging on the central mythology and which isn’t designed to serve as a potential finale for the series as a whole. As a result, it’s a very odd episode of television, and offers an interesting prism on the tropes and conventions of The X-Files.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 6, Episode 12 (“One Son”)

Coinciding with The X-Files‘ move from Vancouver to Los Angeles, there has also been a shift at The X-Cast. Tony Black is no longer running the show, but it is instead now being run by Sarah Blair, Kurt North and Carl Sweeney. I was thrilled to join Carl to talk about one of the most important episodes in the show’s history: One Son.

With One Son, the show closes the book on one of the most important chapters in its history. Kind of. Sort of. A little bit. Of course, it was also about drawing down the curtain in other ways. There’s a very credible argument to be made that this mid-season two-parter marked the last time that The X-Files was truly event television. This makes One Son an interesting and complicated piece of television, a bit of ambitious storytelling that has to cover a lot of ground very ruthlessly. The result is an episode that isn’t entirely successful, but is still fascinating.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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