#SRCZ Lists #2 // The Truth Is Back Out There: The X Files Returns!
The announcement of the long awaited return of The X Files for a limited run Event Series is certainly an exciting one. Last month it was announced by Fox that The X Files would return briefly to our screens for a limited run event series starring original leads David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson and with Chris Carter once again at the helm. Here at #SRCZ we’ve always loved The X Files and alongside millions of other fans across the world we were very happy (if not entirely surprised) to hear the news of its return.
When the original series concluded back in 2002 it was very different from the show that began in 1994. With Duchovny in a limited role and Gillian Anderson reportedly on her way out it seemed the show would go on with a new cast and refreshed storyline but when ratings fell dramatically season 9 was the final run. The series has been about in various formats in the years since, most notably in IDW’s excellent official continuation The X Files: Season Ten comic series (soon to be followed up by Season 11!) But in its return to television the buzz has truly accelerated. Whilst we attempt to contain our excitement check out our pick of the show’s most notable episodes so far…
Season One, Episode 3: "Squeeze"
The first and arguably one of the best monsters of the week is stretchy psycho Eugene Tooms. After two episodes that engrossed and intrigued the third was Squeeze, a horrific tale of liver pilfering, nests made of newspaper and the setting of many X Files principles. Squeeze is indeed proof that the series was in full throttle from the outset and with this gripping monster of the week episode from the pen of Glen Morgan and James Wong a generation of fans were converted into full X-Philes.
Season Two, Episode 2 "The Host"
This episode from the second season is again one that you can't fail to love. Whats not to love about sewer bound monsters and one of the creepiest autopsy scenes of the series?! From the occasionally unreliable pen of series creator Chris Carter, The Host is a classic X Files scenario with a host of gross out moments to keep the tension going from the aforementioned autopsy to flukes being puked down shower plug holes.
Season Three, Episode 12: "War of the Coprophages"
When The X Files took itself seriously it was excellent but don't knock the humour filled episodes that often cropped up. War of the Coprophages was horrific, with constant scenes of cockroaches in various situations but it was also packed full of humour both visual and visceral. Scully’s hypotheses are a constant source of amusement as is the understated jealousy directed at Doctor Bambi. (‘Her name is Bambi?!’ ) Look out for metallic cockroaches as well in this excellent episode written by Darin Morgan, who coincidently portrayed the Flukeman in The Host.
Season Four, Episode 2: "Home"
The perfect X Files episode for Halloween, "Home" concerns itself with a family that maintains a distinct closeness and their efforts to protect their "way of life" in a peaceful community. From the reliable hands of Glen Morgan and James Wong, this is a rightfully shocking episode apparently banned for a time for its challenging content. The incest theme is not subtle and if you’re not a fan of seeing a group of brothers/sons beating up a law enforcement officer with blunt weapons or impregnating their mother then this may not be for you. But despite its graphic content and not too subtle themes Home remains a brave piece of television drama created in the spirit of midnight movie style horror.
Season Five, Episode 5 "The Post Modern Prometheus"
Written by series creator Chris Carter, this fairy tale like episode was filmed in monochrome and is all the more effective for it. Sound tracked by Cher and featuring appearances by Jerry Springer and not Cher but a look alike, as well as the tragic central character played by Chris Owens there is much to love about this episode. But perhaps the best aspect is the cinematography, which enhances the episode considerably. Add the great sense of humour present and you have a very good episode from a series that was already getting past 100 episodes.
Season Six, Episode 7 "Terms of Endearment"
We've often suspected someone is a devil, but what if they truly are? This is the idea behind Terms of Endearment and it's an entertaining run. Guest starring Bruce Campbell as a duplicitous demon attempting to spawn his seed, there are moments in this episode that are perhaps unintentionally funny. Chief of these is the first attempt of Bruce to take his partner’s baby and although it’s a fun watch, it’s still tempting to think it was intended to be scarier than it actually is. That aside though, Terms of Endearment is a perfectly good monster of the week episode in its own right!
Season Seven, Episode 19 "Brand X"
We all know cigarettes are bad for us and as the years go by less and less people take up the habit. But just as X Files lore teaches you to distrust a cigarette smoking man so it does of a Tobacco company using something slightly more potent. For many season seven of The X Files represents a turning point in terms of quality of episode for the worst but in retrospect it’s not a drop in quality it’s a step into the left field that saw that certain darkness disappear for much of the season in question. Into its breach stepped odd humour, portmanteau style episodes and the occasional unclassifiable episode such as this one. With tobacco beetles and violent personalities frequently seen and some choice lines for our stars Brand X is a hidden highlight of the season.
Season Eight, Episode 7: "Via Negativa"
Suicide cults are scary enough, even without their leaders stalking you in your dreams. Agent Doggett is drawn into a nightmare in this excellent showcase for Robert Patrick's often maligned character. As season eight reaffirmed the show’s dark edge with aplomb and excellent casting in the form of Robert Patrick, the absence of a certain Agent Mulder was perhaps echoed too clearly on occasion. Via Negativa is a dark, brooding episode from a season that sought to redraw the lines with admirable bravery. It works because we get Doggett for the whole episode, with minimal contributions from Scully and only a few scenes with Skinner. The episode was bloody enough to merit a warning on first broadcast but Via Negativa is our new lead’s initiation into the territory we all know well.
Season Nine, Episode 14: "Scary Monsters"
It's the imagination of the children that makes Halloween in the modern setting. In this episode a child's imagination is a weapon that makes for a difficult investigation. It's almost a pity that the ninth season of the show was the last as it was still producing excellent episodes with an almost universal high quality. What would The X Files have looked like without Mulder and Scully? In our opinion it would have been excellent going by the adaptive nature of the shows last two seasons! Scary Monster works because it’s an homage to the show as well as an effective test of our lead’s skills.
(Culture Agent #1)