“The X-Files” is an excellent fit for DVD—beautifully shot, a mythology deep enough to keep teenagers buying background material, and a rabid fan following noted for their penchant to purchase anything “X”.
Having collected several of the collector’s sets on VHS, like many I was frustrated by the lack of completeness in each release, with a season represented by only 25% of its episodes. While this is acceptable for the casual fans, it proved exruciating for the true X-phile, as invariably favorite episodes were left out of the mix.
This situation has been rectified with the release of the entire first season of the show on DVD in a seven-disc collection. It is now possible to watch each episode commercial-free and in sequence in a digital-quality medium. In addition, an extras disc has been added (details are listed above), including a DVD-ROM computer game.
Having completed my viewing of the entire 1st set, several observations came to mind: – The “X-Files”, almost unique in episodic television, hit the airwaves fully-formed. There is precious little difference in tone or execution between the pilot and subsequent episodes. – Whereas some of the 3rd and 4th season episodes saw a noticeable decline in quality (due to the loss of key writers and Chris Carter’s focus elsewhere), the 1st season episodes are generally superbly-written.
Unfortunately, my cut of this collection did suffer from noticeable editing problems. Nothing major, typically just a couple of misaligned frames at chapter cuts, but let’s face it–for this kind of money, it should be flawless.
Nonetheless, I highly recommend this collection.
Was this review helpful to you?
Remember back when The X-Files was still fairly easy to understand?
Relive those magic (and sometimes goofy) moments with this new box set. Sure, half of it has already been released on VHS – but this set includes some gems that the first couple waves of home video ignored.
Remember the eternally creepy “Young At Heart”, or a few unintenionally silly episodes like “Space” or “Ghost in the Machine”? Or Nicholas Lea’s first X-Files appearance (although not as Krycek)? How about “Roland” or “Born Again”, which represent some of the finest moments from the first season? They’re all here, alongside other popular episodes like “The Erlenmeyer Flask”, “Deep Throat”, “E.B.E.”, “Darkness Falls” and “Ice” (which is essentially a remake of John Carpenter’s The Thing – but the X-Files does it better)!
For the first time in the U.S., you can finally buy a TV program season by season. And plus – these discs give you trailers, interviews and even some cool DVD-ROM content.
If only Paramount would do their Star Trek discs this way!
This set of 24 episodes from the third year of the X FILES represents what I think is the best overall season to date. Of course, when discussing a television show of the unprecedented high quality of the X FILES, “best” certainly is a qualified term. Every season, with the possible exception of the current one ( the jury is still out ) has maintained a high level of artistry and craftsmanship. In fact, I believe the X FILES is the single greatest show ever to be aired on television. In so many areas, whether it be writing, acting or the shear beauty of the production, this show is truly a miracle occurring in medium which, in truth, doesn’t often rise above mediocrity. The credit for this phenomenon is shared amongst many dedicated individuals, most working behind the scenes ( Chris Carter obviously deserves special mention, as the creator of the show).
For many seasons Carter maintained the integrity of an artistic vision that the Fox executives were smart enough to take a gamble on. Given the “franchise” nature of the X FILES, their gamble certainly paid off. And, if parts of the last 2 seasons have been rough ( a portent that the show will not necessarily fade gloriously into the sunset ) that does not take away from Carter and company’s magnificent achievement.
Although a casual awareness of the X FILES may bring to mind government conspiracy, aliens, “spooky” supernatural phenomenon, the core issues in the show are that of truth, faith, love, good and evil; those issues that have captivated mankind’s imagination for as long as it has had the capacity to record its artistic, philosophical and revelatory reactions.
Another very strong part of the X FILES’ appeal is obviously the complex relationship between Fox Mulder and Dana Scully; one needn’t be “married” ( pardon the pun ) to the notion that the show revolves COMPLETELY around some sort of nascent romantic relationship; it’s sufficient to acknowledge the respect, camaraderie and genuine love ( whether it’s romantic or platonic ) the two share. Mulder and Scully, two deeply serious ( however witty ) people help “ground” each other in their respective “quest” (s).
As good as the actors and production team are, the writers are the bedrock of the X FILES. And, if irony constitutes one of the primary elements in the work of great writers, the core writing staff can at least be described as striving for greatness. The self-reflexive humor constantly on display in the central characters of Mulder and Scully, superbly acted by Duchovny and Anderson, fleshes out the nuances appropriate to the background of these committed and eccentric personalities. Also, the 1013 team delights in a playful, “embedded” concepts that recur time and time again in the background of the show. Without going into ridiculous detail ( which others can document better than I can ) there is a certain archetypal X FILES “iconography”, which has developed more and more with each successive season. A fondness for neon lights or flashing sirens of ambulances and police cars; a humorously morbid fascination with the bathroom as a crime scene ( etc. ). One of the true beauties of the X FILES is that it so “layered” that one can appreciate it on any one of a number of levels. This is why it’s possible to watch these episodes over and over again and not be bored.
As far as this DVD box is concerned, the 3rd season’s consistency episode to episode is magnificent. The “mythology” two-parters are tightly written, beautifully produced ( amazing stunts and cinematography ). “NISEI / 731″ and “PIPER MARU/APOCRYPHA” are really “mini movies”. I’m still flabbergasted that these episodes could actually be prepared for television.
The “stand alone” ( or “monster of the week” ) episodes are equally well done. “OUBLIETTE” has a tremendously strong performance from David Duchovny and the guest actress; a real heartbreaker, this superior episode strikes me as a precursor to the more acclaimed 4th season “PAPER HEARTS”.
The ongoing exploration of Scully’s conflicted inner feelings ( manifested in her two “contesting” traits, scientific rationalism and religious faith )are nicely portrayed in “REVELATIONS”.
“PUSHER” deserves its reputation as one of the most popular “stand alone” episodes. Its famous villain, Robert Patrick Modell, has a favored place among the most memorable evil characters from the show ( Eugene Victor Tooms and Donnie Pfaster also come to mind ).
“QUAGMIRE” fits into a sort of outdoor or “forest” X FILES sub-genre ( first seen in Season 1′s “DARKNESS FALLS” and continuing in Season 5′s “DETOUR” ). All these “forest” episodes were hellishly difficult to film in Vancouver’s rainy woods but the results are yet another of the series’ delights; the location shooting is spectacular. In particular, the scene in “QUAGMIRE” with the “stranded” Mulder and Scully is priceless.
Then there are writer Darin Morgan’s three masterpieces,…