I finally completed the task of viewing the entire series run of The X-Files. I originally followed the first five seasons as the aired on tv, even seeing the pilot on the night of its premiere. I saw the first movie, Fight The Future, in the theatres, and then jumped ship and almost completely abandoned the show. I viewed the second movie, I Want To Believe, in theatres last summer, on opening day no less. Hence, I decided after an 11 year hiatus, I decided I wanted to finish off the series. Now that I have, here is my take on each season:
Season 1 – I don’t remember a ton of the specifics of what happened in what order in each of the first five seasons, so I will just list my favorite episode from each of those seasons.
Favorite episode: Darkness Falls – Mulder and Scully investigate a missing group of loggers in a remote forest.
Season 2 –
Favorite episode: Humbug – the one with the carnival acts
Season 3 –
Favorite episode: War of the Coprophages – the one with the cochroaches
Season 4 –
Favorite episode: Gethsemane – the season 4 finale
Season 5 –
Favorite episode: The Post-Modern Prometheus – their modernized tale of Frankenstein’s monster
Season 6 – featured a ridiculously awesome mix of episodes focused on the mytharc of the show and “monster of the week” episodes. The run of episodes to start the season is some of their best. The Beginning picks up where the Fight the Future movie left off and answers some of the questions left unanswered by the first movie. It is followed by Drive, Triangle (an omage to Hitchcock’s Rope), the two part Dreamland (featuring Michael McKean and the Marx Brothers mirror gag), and How the Ghosts Stole Christmas (featuring Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin). Overall the season seemed to keep up the quality I remember from the first five seasons.
Favorite episode: Triangle
Season 7 – other than a few mytharc related episodes, it became quite light-hearted. Almost as if the writers got tired over drama and decided it would be more fun to be writing comedy. But it was totally enjoyable.
Favorite episode: X-Cops – the COPS themed episode complete with an alternative opening sequence
Season 8 – Mulder is missing from most of the episodes, replaced by Agent Doggett (Robert Patrick, the evil liquid metal terminator from Terminator 2: Judgement Day). The show certainly suffers from the change and loss of Mulder/Scully chemistry. Although I did enjoy the plethora of Terminator references, including the Terminator themed episode, Salvage.
Favorite episode: Vienen – Mulder and Doggett investigate deaths on an oil rig, and the chemistry between them works. So, maybe the problem with this season was Scully/Doggett was just a poor pairing.
Season 9 – Mulder is completely gone until the series finale. As a result, some of these episodes were a bit of a chore to get through, especially the first 11 episodes which all focused on the show’s mythology. I did end up enjoying the series finale quite a bit, due to its focus on clarifying the whole government/alien conspiracy of the show’s mythology.
Favorite episode: Sunshine Days – The Brady Bunch themed episode that also features Benjamin Linus from Lost and Bud Bundy.
X-Files: I Want to Believe – the second movie, which picks up six years after the series ends. It is essentially a “monster of the week” episode in movie form. The story itself worked for me. Mulder’s mountain man beard at the beginning was a great touch. It features some excellent cinematography filled with brilliant snow-filled backdrops. Billy Connolly puts forth a tremendous perfomance. Unfortunaly, the same can’t be said for Amanda Peete and Xzibit.
In conclusion, this is one of my top 10 favorite television shows of all-time. The first seven seasons are all quite high quality in their own regards. It’s worth it to plow through the final two seasons if only to conclude the mytharc of the show, which although quite complex and confusing at times, is still intriguing and makes more sense than Lost probably will when all of its secrets finally get revealed. And the X-Files managed to do something that I don’t know any other show has done – have an overarcing mythology storyline that runs the course of the series, while completely abandoned that storyline for episodes at a time to do self-contained one-off episodes. The truth was out there.