The X Files Mini Reviews 1.3 Squeeze

The X Files: Season 1 Episode 3 Written by: Glen Morgan and James Wong Directed: Harry Longstreet

Lucked out on the world trade centre bombing. Yeesh that’s enough to make you wince these days. This isn’t the last time the world of The X Files will make us feel uncomfortable about the World Trade Centre (I’m looking at you Lone Gunmen!). But unfortunate dialogue aside Squeeze is a big turning point for The X Files. The first Monster of the Week episode and the first time we discover that it’s more than aliens from other planets we need to live in fear of.

The liver chomping, body stretching Eugene Victor Tooms remains one of the X Files most iconic villains. You ask anyone that watched X Files back when it was airing and he’s the guy they remember. Real life creepy guy Doug Hutchison (come on that whole Courtney Stodden thing is beyond creepy) is perfectly cast as Tooms and he is the stuff of nightmares.

This episode really gives us an insight into how the rest of the FBI view Mulder. Even more insightful is how Scully stands by him possibly causing great damage to her own career. Three episodes in and the relationship that defines the series is already there.

Wong and Morgan are two of the finest writers to work on The X Files and they hit it out of the park in their first time at bat. They bring true horror to the series and I can’t wait to rewatch the rest of their nightmarish visions over the next few seasons.

Rating: 9/10

The X Files Mini Reviews 1.2 Deep Throat

The X Files: Season 1 Episode 2 Written by: Chris Carter Directed by: Daniel Sackheim

Today the most striking thing about Deep Throat is the appearance of Robot Chicken’s Seth Green looking exactly the same as he does now. There’s your real X File how does a guy not age in more than two decades?

Episode two sees our intrepid FBI agents on the hunt of UFOs once again. The episode introduces us to the first of many characters who will shape Mulder and Scully’s journey over the next ten seasons. Jerry Hardin is fantastic as the man they will become to know as Deep Throat and he adds a real depth to the X Files universe. This episode gives us our first taste of the conflict between the shadowy government forces that want to suppress the truth and our heroes.

We’re only on the second episode and already the characters are gelling so perfectly. Mulder’s warmth and affection for the various  oddball characters has always been one of my favourite parts of his character. Scully’s refusal to accept Mulder’s wild ideas whilst still giving her all to solving the case makes her incredibly endearing as well. The seeds of greatness have been planted early on.

Deep Throat is an episode that teases the bigger picture. The seeds of mistrust with the government are sewn and we start to see just how important the X Files are. It’s clear now that the truth really is out there and Mulder will stop at nothing to expose it.

Rating: 8/10

The X Files Mini Reviews 1.1 Pilot

The X Files: Season 1 Episode 1 Written by: Chris Carter Directed by: Robert Mandel

It’s amazing looking back now just how much of what defines The X Files is in the first episode. The chemistry between Mulder and Scully, the Cigarette Smoking Man, Samantha Mulder’s abduction and Mulder’s boyish exuberance over his crazy theories they’re all here and for most of the episode you wouldn’t realise this was the very first episode.

It’s nigh on impossible to watch this episode through the eyes of a first time viewer again. I started watching The X Files during season 2 (this was back before video streaming and DVD box sets) so by the time I first saw this episode the characters were already well established in my mind. It’s kind of a shame that I’ll never know what it’s like to have this as an introduction to the series as a whole but I’m pretty sure my eight year old self would have loved it.

There is enough intrigue and excitement in this first episode to hook you in on what could have been a very hokey premise. We see enough that like Fox Mulder we are ready to believe. More than twenty years on it’s incredible just how fresh this series feels. Technology might date it slightly but there is still a rich story of conspiracy that becomes eerily relevant every day.

How weird is it to start the episode without that iconic theme tune though? And how young does everyone look? An that ending! You remember just how badass Cigarette Smoking Man used to be. Overall a great start!

Rating: 8/10

The Great X Files Rewatch 2017

x-files-netflix

I had my first experience of The X Files on 9th October 1995 (okay I cheated and looked up the air dates). I was just ten years old, still in primary school and absolutely no concept of what the show was. I had my own bedroom and my own TV and a tendency to stay up watching the kind of TV I shouldn’t (coincidentally there have only ever been two things that have given me nightmares. One was the film version of Roald Dahl’s The Witches and the other was The X Files. As a kid I had countless nightmares about being kidnapped by aliens. I guess my parents were right after all!). I can still remember the first episode I saw on that spooky October evening.  The episode was called “3”, the seventh episode of season 2, and as most X Files fans will tell you is not a very good episode. But to ten year old me, still developing any sort of quality control, it was literally the best thing I’d ever seen. I was far too young to really appreciate what was going on and it is perhaps one of the worst jumping on points as there’s no Scully and it sees Mulder acting a bit out of character but it was a dark, grown up show about investigating all the weird shit I was convinced was going on in my back garden.

Within months The X Files was my biggest obsession. I remember getting my mum’s friend to record the opening episodes of season 3 off Sky 1 for me so I didn’t have to wait to the best part of a year for BBC 2 to show it to find out how Mulder survived being set on fire by the Cigarette Smoking Man. I also remember persuading my dad to buy one of The X Files videos just so I could see the second part of a two parter without having to wait a week.

I lost touch with the show somewhere in season 4 but I returned on and off during season 6 thanks to BBC 1’s late night showings. I followed the last few episodes of the original run and I was there for the end. Thanks to constant repeats on Sky One and The Works selling off video box sets of the complete seasons I finally got to watch the whole series and rediscovered my love of the franchise. I was in the front of the queue for the second X Files movie (hey I don’t think it’s that bad) and I’ve owned the whole series on DVD and now Blu Ray).

As I begin my latest rewatch in glorious high definition (it sure does look pretty) I thought I might chronicle my experiences of rewatching my all time favourite television series through ten seasons, 2 movies, some video games (it’s been a few years since I checked in with Special Agent Craig Willmore), a handful of novels, comic books, a spin off series and that crossover episode with The Simpsons. I’ll be post mini reviews (about 250 words per episode) as I try and find out whether the truth really is out there!