The X-Files (TV, 2007)


This review was of The X-Files was prompted by the arrival in the Death Ray office of a “Try Me TV” disc, a short-lived (as far as I know) attempt to sell samples of old shows at premium prices. The review score reflects this dodgy sales strategy, rather than the quality of the show. Although funnily enough, The X-Files never quite did it for me, as you’ll see below.

FILM: TWO STARS EXTRAS: N/A

1993/174 mins/12

Writers: Chris Carter, various

Directors: Various

Starring: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson

A chance to re-evaluate The X-Files presented by this snack-sized box of paranormal fun.

Criminy, does time not fly swift as an arrow? For fourteen years it is since spaniel-faced FBI agent Fox Mulder took flame-haired Dana Scully into his basement and showed her that the truth really was out there.

This sampler of four episodes takes us right back to the beginning, back to the big hair and shoulder pads of Gillian Anderson, back past bees and multiple aliens and cover-ups.

Here we have a solid introduction to the show for folks that were too young or too busy to catch it the first time round. Ostensibly for your own good, really to lure you into buying up the series’ box sets.

Included here are the ‘Pilot’ (which pairs up Mulder and Scully) ‘Deep Throat’ (which introduces Fox’s man on the inside) ‘Squeeze’ (a superlative episode that features the liver eating-monster Tooms) and ‘Conduit’ (the abduction of the sister that sent Mulder off looking for little Green Men).

It’s important not to overlook the cultural impact The X-Files had. UFO sightings swelled and a lot of people bought into the whole Area 51 myth in its wake, while in telly world it helped bust the standalone format of US TV and pave the way for the flowering of episodic fun in the late 1990s.

But was it actually any good? I have to fess up here – The X-Files was always a disappointment to me. There’s such a wealth of freaky stuff to draw upon in the world, yet The X-Files plumped for wazzy monsters of the week of its own devising. Fair play – some of these, like ‘Stretch’, were among the best episodes – but it was truly unforgivable the way that its half-baked, make-it-up-as-we-go-along UFO bunkum came to dominate the series. And it never really gave us any answers. For me, the most damning aspect of the show was that its best episodes were the ones where it sent itself up.

That aside, taking into account the solid quality of these particular episodes, this DVD is hardly worth it – if you’re keen to get to grip with The X-Files‘ beginnings the whole first series can be yours for less than fifteen quid off Amazon.

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