Monthly Archives: July 2015

Re-Opening The X-Files: E.B.E.

x-files-season-1-15-ebe

Langly: Yeah, UFOs caused the Gulf war syndrome, that’s a good one.
Byers: That’s what we like about you Mulder. Your ideas are weirder than ours.

E.B.E.

While we’ve had episodes leading up to “E.B.E.” that deal with aliens, it’s with this installment that the mythology arc really begins.  In fact, the episode serves as a preview of what’s to come for the next eight or so years — Mulder and Scully will chase a wild lead, get tantalizingly close to the truth, only to find the rug yanked from under them or not have the evidence they believed would be there at the end of the day.

“E.B.E.” came about because Morgan and Wong wanted to write a mythology story, tying things together that on-line fan were debating in the message boards.   Twenty plus years later, it’s hard to recall a time when message boards actually had an influence on a show or that producers actually surfed them to get feedback from most dedicated of fans.

After getting crumbs in the previous alien themed episodes, Morgan and Wong lay out a few more details and hints of what’s to come.   From the teaser, we see that the alien encounters aren’t just limited to North America, nor is the cover-up.   We also get the first hints of lies within lies that help to cover-up the existence of extraterrestrial biological entities (or E.B.E.’s from the title) all while hiding that evidence within plain sight.    Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: Young At Heart

youngatheartScully: Mulder, I know what you did wasn’t by the book.
Mulder: Tells you a lot about the book, doesn’t it?

While I’m fairly certain I’ve seen “Young At Heart” at some point, I couldn’t recall much, if anything about it as I fired up the DVD player.   In fact, heading into it, I assumed this was the one where Mulder and Scully get old in the boat.  (It’s not).

It’s all kind of odd that episode didn’t make a big impression on me the first time I saw it because this time around it worked fairly well.  Well, at least the first half of the episode that is.

“Young At Heart” gives us a glimpse into the early and current career and standing of Fox Mulder among his colleagues other than Scully.   Given how Mulder becomes more and more alienated from his colleagues and superiors in later seasons (even by the end of this season), it’s an interesting glimpse into who Mulder was and is.   There are some fairly consistent traits that carry over from the flashbacks to 1989 and Mulder’s first big case and the agent he is today.

The flashback to Barnett’s trial with Mulder on the stand stood out for me.  Hearing Mulder give his objective, professional testimony on events the night that Barnett was shot and captured only to quickly transition over to yelling that Barnett deserves to die was a nice touch.   And while I feel like that Mulder’s outburst might somehow taint his testimony or at least have had Barnett’s defense lawyer calling for it to be stricken from the record, it still shows the passionate side that Mulder has toward his work.  Continue reading

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All Good Things Star Trek Podcast, Episode 46: The Wrath of Cons

khaannn

On the latest installment of of All Good Things, Barry sits back and lets Michael rant about the recently completed comic book mini-series Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive.

We also have some news and commentary about the upcoming Trek holiday ornaments.

Then we jump into a conversation about conventions.  We share memories of going to cons, celebrities we’ve met and the dealer rooms we’ve browsed.

So why not pull up a comfortable chair and enjoy our latest episode?  You can download the episode HERE or listen via the player below.

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/furvx-57728d

star-trek-girls

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Re-Opening The X-Files: Gender Bender, Lazarus

xfiles-gender-bender

Bruskin: Okay, everyone, Mulder says he’s got something.
Daniels: What? An alien virus or new information on the Kennedy assassination?
Bruskin: Hey, Mulder’s all right. If you’d pay attention, you might learn something from the man.

After reaching a peak with “Beyond the Sea,” the X-Files settles back down with two fairly forgettable episodes.

Gender Bender

I started watching The X-Files on a regular basis the summer after season two.   This came after multiple recommendations by people I knew and the show getting a nod for best drama in the Emmy nominations.    I came into the show at what was (at that point) the least accessible time for a new fan — the end of the Scully is kidnapped arc.  I recall seeing “Three” and “One Breath” early in my run and being confused but intrigued enough to fight through the confusion.

Somewhere in my early fandom, Fox decided to re-air “Gender Bender.”    I think that may be one of the only times I’ve seen the episode.

Watching it again now, it’s an odd little hybrid of Witness, the Crying Game and Black Widow.

From Witness, we borrow the Amish angle (though we don’t call them the Amish.  Instead it’s the Brethern because apparently we can’t offend the Amish.  Not that they have TV’s mind you…).  From Black Widow, we have the suspect who mates and kills (I’ve never seen the movie, I only remember the tag line but it fits).  And then from the Crying Game we have a suspect who looks like a girl but is actual a guy…well, sort of.

There are a couple of glaring issues with “Gender Bender.”   One is the script can’t really decide what it wants to be.  Is it an examination of this group of people who live outside our modern world but might harbor a strange secret?   Or is it about this person who wants to live apart from the society and uses the Brethern’s phereomone whammy  power to seduce and kill a bunch of people?  Or is it meant as some kind of commentary on the dangers of hooking up with random people in clubs?  And just why does the gender bending Brethern want to hook up with various people and then kill them?   Is there some alien reason for it?  Is he or she storing up energy to call the mothership? Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: Beyond the Sea

beyondthesea

It was five hours of Boggs channeling. After three hours I asked him to summon up the soul of Jimi Hendrix and requested ‘All Along the Watchtower’. Your know, the guy’s been dead for 20 years but he still hasn’t lost his edge.

Beyond the Sea

Twelve episodes in and we finally get a story that delves a bit more into Dana Scully.  (Well, beyond the hints that she is slowly giving up on having a life as she becomes caught up in Mulder’s obsession).

And boy is it a good episode.

The teaser alone is enough to make your hair stand on end.   After entertaining her parents for dinner, Scully wakes up in the middle of the night to see her father, sitting across from her and saying something she can’t hear.  The phone rings and Scully looks away, only for her father to vanish.  She then gets the news her father passed away an hour ago….

Cue the theme .

It only gets better from there.

As Scully tries to deal with the loss of her father and questions of whether he was proud of her career path and her choices, she and Mulder are drawn into a case of two kidnapped teenagers in North Carolina.  Death row inmate Luther Lee Boggs claims his last experience of nearly being executed as awakened psychic powers — and that he can tell the FBI where to find the kids.  There are two deadlines looming over our agents — the killer has done this before and will eliminate his victims in five days and Boggs is set for execution in six. Continue reading

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Audiobook review: Drunken Fireworks by Stephen King

Drunken Fireworks

One of things you have to admire about Stephen King is how he is willing to keep pushing the boundaries of the publishing world. He’s not just content to churn out best-seller after best-seller in hard-cover format, but instead he’s willing to take a chance or two along the way to challenge not only himself but his readers. Some of them work very well (The Green Mile) and some have withered on the vine (The Vine).

King has also been releasing stories via audiobooks for the past dozen or so years and every once in a while he puts out an exclusive audio only story. (King has admitted he’s a an audio reader himself). Sometimes it’s a fairly straight-forward short story and then other times it’s something like Drunken Fireworks.

And while the story will be part of his upcoming short story collection, King said in an interview that this one was meant to be listened to.

It certainly shows.

Thanks to an insurance and lottery windfall, Alden McCausland and his mother spend the warmest months of the year at their three-room cabin on Lake Abenaki. One fourth of July, Alden and his mother light up a few sparklers and other fireworks, setting off an inadvertent contest with their neighbors across the lake, the Massimos. Each summer, Alden tries to find the next big thing to shoot off, only to have the Massimo family ready to counter them with something just a bit better. It would all be in good fun for the two families if Alden and his mother didn’t feel like one member of their family was taunting them with his trumpet. Continue reading

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Musing Mondays: A Reader In Motion

musingmondays51

Today’s Musing Mondays (hosted by A Daily Rhythm) has an interesting random question.  But first a couple of other things.

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading… The Fold by Peter Clines, Alive by Scott Sigler and Doctor Who: Frontios by Christopher H. Bidmead
  • Up next I think I’ll read… Star Trek: New Frontier — The Returned, Part 1
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…  I’m currently on a big time re-watch of The X-Files, including doing recaps of my thoughts about them.  You can read along if you want!

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Are you able to read while in a vehicle (in motion)? Have you always been this way?

Thankfully, the answer to this one is yes.  My dad was career military and summer time growing up sometimes meant moving — usually by car.  We traveled cross country a couple of times and I read a LOT of books on those trips.  In fact, I recall my mom and dad would buy me a couple of books that were meant to be saved for our trip.  They’d sit tantalizing me on my bookshelf for a few weeks before we finally got into the car and after I got tired of looking out the window, I’d crack the covers and get reading.   In fact, this was one of the ways I got into Star Trek — reading novels based on the shows during cross country trips.

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Re-Opening The X-Files: Eve, Fire

Fire

Mulder: One girl was just abducted.
Scully: Kidnapped.
Mulder: Potato, potahto.

Eve

When the first three VHS tapes hit the shelves many, many years ago, “Eve” was rounded out the tape along with “Fallen Angel.”  And while I could see why “Fallen Angel” made the cut, I struggled at the time to figure out why “Eve” was included.

Twenty years later, I’m still trying to figure it out.

It’s not that “Eve” is a terrible episode.   But it’s not that it’s a home run either.

It’s The X-Files‘ take on the demonic twins.  It tries to throw in a bit of governmental conspiracy with cloning experiments, but this really only serves as a roadblock to the investigation that only Deep Throat can help Mulder get past.   Other installments have seen Deep Throat come in to give us some exposition.  But in this case, his inclusion only makes sense because the story can’t move forward without him dropping by to exposition Mulder (and us) on the case.

I think part of my lack of enjoyment of this one is that it requires a huge suspension of disbelief when it comes to geography.  Mulder and Scully are looking into a case of a child’s father being drained of much of his blood and killed on one coast, get a heads-up that another case is unfolding on the other and are almost instantly there.  They may even be wearing the same outfits!   It made me feel like I did watching later season of 24 where every point of interest in L.A. was exactly five minutes from each other. Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: “Fallen Angel”

1x09_Fallen Angel_01

Mulder: But you don’t know me. Last night is the first time you’ve laid eyes on me.
Max Fenig: Not true. We at NICAP have been following your career really closely. Ever since you became involved with the X-files.
Mulder: Following my career? How?
Max Fenig: Through the Freedom of Information Act.Your travel expenses are a matter of public record. So, this must be the enigmatic Agent Scully.

Fallen Angel

Or the episode where we discover that Mulder has groupies.

While I recall that Max was part of the show, I’d forgotten that this is the first of his three appearances on The X-Files.   The poor guy is so charming and fun that I can see why the production team decided to bring him back — even if it takes until season four for us to get back to his story.

In many ways, “Fallen Angel” feels like it could be a series finale for the show.  Had Fox decided not to continue on with the series, this one could have wrapped things up.   After getting a heads-up from Deep Throat, Mulder heads out to Wisconsin to potentially find evidence of an crashed alien space ship.     Continue reading

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Review: Born With Teeth by Kate Mulgrew

Born with Teeth

While Kate Mulgrew’s memoir Born With Teeth touches on some of the iconic roles that brought her to the public eye, the focus isn’t on her career but instead on the personal choices that made her who she is. And while the Star Trek fan in me hopes that someday she’ll revisit her time on Voyager in greater depth, I can’t help but really like what Mulgrew shares here.

She’s not afraid to be unconventional, witty and self-deprecating, many times within the same paragraph. As Mulgrew relates the story of her life and how that shaped her into the actress and person she’s become, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by it. Mulgrew is just as quick to point our her shortcomings and faults as she is her strengths. And this memoir is the stronger for it.

Hearing of her decision to give up her child to adoption early in her life and career and then impact that has on her made me think. Mulgrew’s story is one of love and redemption and you can’t help but begin to cheer for her as her life unfolds.

I feel like I understand a bit more of what Mulgrew brought to the role of Janeway and it makes me appreciate her work on Voyager a bit more. It also makes me appreciate her more as an actress and a person.

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