Tag Archives: the x-files

Re-Opening The X-Files: Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man

musingsEarly in this episode, Frohike warns us that we shouldn’t take everything that we’re about to see and hear at face value because information about the Cigarette Smoking Man can be contradictory and unreliable. So, if you take this episode with that huge grain of salt, you can an enjoyable episode that does a much better job telling a story about a supporting character than we got with the Skinner-centric, “Avatar.”

The biggest insight of the episode seems to be that the CSM is a frustrated author who can’t get anyone to believe the endings he creates for his action-adventure stories. At multiple points, we see the CSM working on a story, only to be told it isn’t up to the standards of publication. Even when he finally sells a story to a magazine, he has his original ending re-written. Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: The Field Where I Died, Sanguinarium

fieldThe Field Where I Died

Even if I knew for certain, I wouldn’t change a day. Well, maybe that Flukeman thing. I could’ve lived without that just fine.

“The Field Where I Died” feels like it’s trying to do a lot of things. It feels a bit like an Emmy bait episode, with a showcase role for David Duchovny as Mulder but also for guest actress Kristen Cloke. Seeing the multiple personalities that flow so quickly and effortlessly out of Melissa via Cloke also seems to scream “award nomination please” in flashing neon letters.

Written by Glen Morgan and James Wong, the episode also feels like it wants to make all of us who didn’t watch Space: Above and Beyond that the show had really great actors and we just missed it.

The episode also feels like it’s taking things up a notch in terms of the direction. The pre-credit sequence of Mulder in the field is a gorgeous shot, feeling almost cinematic. Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: “Teliko” & “Unruhe”


Scully: Where are you going?
Mulder: To find someone who I know who plotted to deceive, inveigle and obfuscate.

The final episode of The X-Files to air on a Friday night, “Teliko” isn’t one that necessarily connected well with me then or now. It’s not a terrible episode, per se. It’s just one that feels a bit by the numbers and ends up falling flat. Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: Home

the-x-files-homeScully: The angle of movement and deeper indentation on the right side of the mark suggest a left-handed individual. I’ve collected soil specimens and although numerous shoe impressions remain from the sandlot game, I think a couple of stone casts would prove invaluable to the investigation. Meanwhile, I’ve quit the FBI and have become a spokesperson for the ab-roller.
Mulder: Smell that. It’s perfume. God this brings back a lot of memories of my sister… All-day pickup games out on the vineyard. Ride your bikes down to the beach, eat bologna sandwiches. Only place you had to be on time was home for dinner. Never had to lock your doors. No modems, no faxes, no cell phones.
Scully: Mulder, if you had to do without a cell phone for two minutes, you’d lapse into catatonic schizophrenia.

“Home” is one of the more infamous hours not only of The X-Files, but all of television. I was fortunate enough to record it and archive it to my collection of off-air VHS tapes when it first aired. This would turn out to be a good thing since the episode was then “banned” by Fox from airing for three years (though it would be included as part of the first wave of VHS tapes for season four). I recall the scrambling done on fan forums to obtain a copy of this episode when Fox refused to air it again. Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: Talitha Cumi, Herrenvolk

TalithacumiThe fiercest enemy is the man who has nothing left to lose.

Talitha Cumi/Herrenvolk

After the season finales for seasons one and two, “Talitha Cumi” and “Herrenvolk” seem almost tame by comparison. After shutting down the X-Files and then possibly killing Mulder to end the previous two seasons, the cliffhanger of the alien bounty hunter arriving to eliminate Jeremiah Smith seems positively tame by comparison. But while the stakes may seem a bit lower for the cliffhanger, at least you had an idea of where things might go immediately upon the series’ return the next fall.

“Talitha Cumi” feels like the first time the series really begins to try and bring the mythology into some type of focus. For the past three seasons, we’ve had hints of colonization, the aline oil, and just how the Mulder family ties into all of this. This two-parter provides a few more breadcrumbs to follow but Jeremiah Smith doesn’t necessarily promise the same level fo answers that the Thinker did in “Anasazi.” (And which the series had to step back from because if you give Mulder (and us) all the answers in the season premiere, there’s little incentive to come back for the full season). Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X -Files: Avatar, Quagmire, Wetwired

Scully: The doctor suggested amphetamine abuse. Maybe that coupled with, with the disturbing images he was watching, pushed him over the edge.

Mulder: All I know is television does not make a previously sane man go out and kill five people, thinking they’re all the same guy. Not even “Must-See TV” could do that to you.


The story goes that David Duchovny pitched the idea of “Avatar” to Chris Carter in an attempt to have a bit of mid-season break in the production of the show. The result was one of the first episodes to really explore Walter Skinner a bit more, though whether or not it minimized the overall involvement of Mulder and Scully, I’m not quite sure.

And while it’s nice to give Mitch Pileggi something more substantial to do, I’m not quite sure this is the best showcase for him. For one thing, there are moments that “Avatar” feels a bit more like something out of Duchovny’s previous series Red Shoe Diaries than it does as an episode of The X-Files. Sure, we’ve got the succubus thread, but it feels almost as if it were tacked on to give the episode a supernatural element rather than organically part of the story.  (And  boy, does this story seem to be obsessed with the woman Skinner sleeps with turning out to be a lady of the evening) Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’

jose-chung_lendl-1Jose Chung: Aren’t you nervous telling me all this? After receiving all those death threats?

Blaine Faulkner: Well, hey, I didn’t spend all those years playing Dungeons and Dragons and not learn a little something about courage

Looking back over the long run of The X-Files, I’d argue that the best seasons of the show were seasons two and three. What two has going for it is that the mythology episodes are tighter, feel more like an event, and give us hope that Chris Carter and company have some kind of end game in mind for government conspiracies and cover-ups. Season three has three of the best stand-alone episodes of the entire run of the show, all by writer Darin Morgan. Continue reading

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TV Round-Up: The X-Files: My Struggle III

x-files-season-11Oh. That’s the plan. A secret space program? I don’t think so. I think this is a power play. You want me to kill him so you can implement your own plan. You want to see blood in the streets. The colonization of space? How do you plan to do that? Transport all humanity off-planet? That’s 7 billion people. That’s not possible. Only a chosen few. And you call him evil?  –Mulder talking pretty much for the entire audience…

It used to be that when I heard that Chris Carter was writing an episode of The X-Files, I was filled with a sense of excitement. These days when I hear that Carter is writing an episode of The X-Files, I’m filled with dread.

It’s not secret I wasn’t a huge fan of the conclusion to season 10.  “My Struggle II” felt like Carter throwing a lot of things at the screen and seeing what might stick. He then painted himself into one heck of a corner, flashed up the words “To Be Continued” and dared Fox not to give the series another season.*

*It’s almost like he took a page from the Sledge Hammer playbook when it came to cliffhangers. Continue reading

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Reading With Shortcake: The Pop Culture Edition

As an avid reader, I wanted to share my love of reading with Shortcake as soon as possible.   Not only are there benefits for her brain development but it’s a special time to bond.

Some of my fondest memories growing up involve read with my parents.  My dad and I used to have a tradition of reading the Sunday comics together (the weekly Spider-Man comic strip was a favorite and the smell of coffee often brings back memories of those Sunday mornings) and my mom read several books onto cassette for me so I could listen to them over and over and over again.

goodnightmoonEarly childhood educators and experts recommend reading 1,000 books to your child before he or she starts kindergarten.  And while that can seem like a LOT of books, our local librarian reminded us that most kids have close to 2,000 days from the time they are born before they enter kindergarten (so you if you miss a day, you don’t have to get too stressed out about it).

She also said that you don’t have to read your child a 1,000 different books before kindergarten, just a thousand total books.  So when your young toddler demands that you read Goodnight Moon every night before he or she goes to sleep, each time you read it counts toward the total.

As a good father, I want to ensure not only that Shortcake reads 1,000 books before kindergarten but that she’s also exposed to some of the classics, including some of my favorite characters and universes from pop culture.  (In other words, I want to sow the seeds of geek-dom early and often).

Thankfully we live in a time when books that celebrate and expose little readers to some of their parents’ pop culture favorites are plentiful.  A few of my favorites include:

startrekoppostiesThe Star Trek Book of Opposites:   Taking images from the original (and still the best) Star Trek, this board book covers things like calm (with an image of Spock) and surprised (with an image of Captain Kirk holding up his hands with a surprised look on his face).  Clever and colorful, this book is designed not only to amuse young reader s but also to the people reading it to them.

Doctor Who Meets Mr. Men and Little Miss series:  This mash-up of Doctor Who and the Mr. Men books is delightful for young and old readers.  Currently there are books with the first, second, fourth and seventh through twelfth Doctor either on shelves or on the horizon.  And since Shortcake will sit up and turn her head toward any television set playing the Doctor Who theme, I imagine these will  be read a LOT in our house.

xfilesThe X-Files: Earth Children Are Weird:  While you may not want your kids to watch The X-Files just yet (it’s kind of dark and scary), you can introduce them to Fox Mulder and Dana Scully with this delightful book.  Young Fox and Dana are camping out in the backyard when they discover weird, wild, possibly alien stuff going on around them and being to investigate.  (If you’re such a nitpicker that you point out that Mulder and Scully never met as children, remind yourself this is just a children’s book and enjoy it.)  Great illustrations and a clever story with lots of homages to the series have made this one of Daddy’s favorite books to read to Shortcake.

DC Superhero Series:  Share your love of superheroes with your young one with these delightful board books, including the heroes and villains of the DC universe.  So far, we’ve only read My First Wonder Woman (which also provides the opportunity to feel things like Wonder Woman’s magic lasso!) but I have a feeling there will be more of these in our future.

Those are just a few of the books/series that I’ve discovered during the first year or so with Shortcake. I’m sure there are others that I’ve either forgotten or overlooked. But I’d love to hear what you recommend we read together on our journey to a thousand books.


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The X-Files: My Struggle II


After last week’s installment of The X-Files, I was concerned that Chris Carter wouldn’t be able to stick the landing for this six-episode event series.

And that concern, unfortunately, was realized with the muddled mess that was “My Struggle II.”

Beginning things with a voice-over monologue by Scully of things we learned just five weeks ago is not a good sign.   Pile on the typical mythology trope of separating our two heroes for much of the episode and then wrapping it all up with little or no closure and a cliffhanger ending and you’ve got — well, you’ve got a mess that was the final few seasons of this show.

Watching the episode on my DVR, I kept pausing things, thinking — oh great, it’s going to run over and I didn’t pad the recording time enough so that I’ll see how this all winds up.  Except that Carter wasn’t really interested in giving us resolution so much as he was about trying to keep us on the edge of our seats, not give us any answers and then leave us wanting more.    Continue reading

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