15 X-Files Episodes Worth Your Time

Like many who came of age during the latter decades of the last century, I loved me some  X-Files

And like many who loved them some X-Files, I have ambivalent feelings towards the movies and the finale. Particularly the finale. It's not the most disappointing finale ever made or anything - it just doesn't properly resolve the mythology storyline. But in all fairness, I'd punted on the mythology episodes a few years before the actual finale, so barring a miracle-finish, there wasn't much they could do to bring me back in the fold. 

Well, I wanted to, at least.

Let me give you some background. The height of my X-Files mania was probably 1997 or so. I jumped in right around the end of Season 4 - more specifically, the summer re-runs of Season 4. We had a weekly Sunday night party at my friends' apartment, and it became a tradition we continued in one form or another for many years. In those days, I loved the mythology episodes and vastly preferred them to the Monster-of-the-Week episodes, which I saw as just occasionally-amusing sidetracks. This was before the days of DVD-or-streaming binge-watching, but I caught up on the first few seasons via the Dayton Public Library. (And my folks back east, who sent me VHS tapes on a semi-weekly basis, God bless their hearts.) Slowly but surely, I mastered the backstory before the start of Season 5.

I couldn't tell you exactly when I soured on the mythology of it all. Sometime over Season 6? With each impossible-to-reconcile-with-what-came-before event in and after the Fight the Future movie? That movie still baffles me... it could have been the coolest thing ever. It should have been the coolest thing ever. Instead we got this huge domestic terrorism set piece, pointless moments

- ahem -

and all that FEMA tomfoolery. And that ending - ai yi yi. What a missed opportunity.

The premiere of Season 5, which resolved the cliffhanger from Season 4, was probably for real the most fervently-anticipated season premiere of my TV-watching life. I loved those episodes ("Gethsemane," "Redux" pts. 1 and 2) at the time. Nowadays? With hindsight of the whole mythology arc? I don't think you could pick better examples of how the mythology-episodes collapsed under their own weight than these 3 eps.

One man's opinion, of course. Here in the Internet Age, you'll find no shortage of fan sites, re-watches, speculation, disagreement, analyses both qualitative and quantitative, and woolgathering on this topic. 

For my part, my disillusionment with the mythology arc opened up the Monster of the Week episodes in a way my previous obsession with them hadn't allowed. I found I really loved them. Well, a lot of them, anyway. The X-Files has its low points, and its middling points, but its high water marks are some of the greatest TV ever made. 

So here are my own 15 faves. This is just a list or tribute of sorts, not a sincere attempt to convince anyone of anything. I'm assuming a basic familiarity with the show on the reader's part. I may post something more substantial on any of the following or maybe even one of my honorable mentions, such as "Home," which has a legitimate claim to being the best horror movie made in the 90s despite being a one-hour television program, and "Post-Modern Prometheus." Or "Humbug," another of my faves. Or maybe I'll finally take the plunge on the Doggett years and unearth some presently-unknown-to-me gem that I'll need to get on here and gabatcha about.

Time will tell. In the meantime, Dog Star Omnibus presents:

The X-Files 
Furious Fifteen 

Season 6, Episodes 4 and 5.
Directed by Kim Manners (pt. 1) and Michael Watkins (pt. 2).
Written by Vince Gilligan, John Shiban, and Frank Spotnitz.

PLOT: An anonymous tip brings Mulder and Scully to that center of UFO lore, Area 51. They're prevented from entering the base by a group of soldiers and Men in Black, but upon witnessing a flyover from a mysterious aircraft, Mulder and one of the MIB, one Morris Fletcher, discover their minds have been swapped into the other's bodies. Can Mulder first convince Scully of the truth and then somehow reverse the effect?

WHY I LIKE IT: This two-parter has many comedic moments, ranging from a fun Marx Brothers tribute from Michael McKean and David Duchovny to all the great moments from Gillian Anderson as she responds to her partner's increasingly bizarre behavior. But the comedy definitely has an edge: due to the space-time "re-do" that gets them back into their own respective bodies, both Mulder and Morris forget the lessons they've learned. i.e. Morris forgets he really does love and respect his wife. Back to their lonely and alienated existences, none the wiser.

Maybe not, though - the waterbed Morris bought for Mulder's pad stays put, even if he doesn't remember it, so maybe Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher live happily ever after. (But I doubt it).

HIGHLIGHTS: (Mulder-Morris to Lone Gunmen) "There's no Saddam Hussein! This guy's name is John Gillnitz. We found him doing dinner theater in Tulsa." (Morris-Mulder to JoAnne Fletcher) "Does Scully sound like a girl's name to you?" Also, Mulder falling asleep to porn in the Fletchers' living room, or any/ all of his fumbling attempts to be a family man in general. 

Season 6, Episode 3.
Written and Directed by Chris Carter.

PLOT: When the Queen Anne, a British ship that disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle in 1936 re-appears in 1998, Mulder is sent to investigate. When he is knocked unconscious after wrecking his raft, he wakes to find himself aboard the ship in the past, during a Nazi take-over of the vessel, surrounded by people he knows from his own time (Scully, the Cigarette-Smoking-Man, etc.) in different identities. Proverbial hi-jinks proceed apace. Meanwhile, in 1998, the Lone Gunmen and Scully go to the Triangle to rescue him.

WHY I LIKE IT: I'm a sucker for any Bermuda Triangle story. Ditto for Nazi bad guys and time travel, big band scores, or Wizard of Oz-esque doubling for familiar characters (Skinner as a double agent is probably my favorite.) All of this plus the fact that it was originally aired in letterbox, and Mulder's and Scully's kiss - which works here and is a great moment, not the slashfic-bait of the first movie -  followed by a punch and a leap into the sea all add up to a very satisfying hour of X-Files TV. 

It's not without its drags, though. In particular, the long-shot gimmick becomes just that after awhile: a gimmick. The story in no way demands the technique, and the long sequence at FBI headquarters where Scully basically runs around in-between Kersh and others who want to trap her is kinda-sorta pointless. Using a flamethrower to lightly toast a bagel. Wrong tool for the job. 

HIGHLIGHTS: (Mulder to Nazis) "I hope you guys speak Russian." (Scully to Mulder) "Get your Nazi paws off me before you get one in the kisser." 

Season 3, Episode 20.
Directed by Rob Bowman. Written by Darin Morgan.

PLOT: Scully and Mulder are interviewed by a famous author (Jose Chung) as research for a UFO-abduction novel he is writing.

WHY I LIKE IT: I like stories that explore the "unreliable narrator" concept, and X-Files played around with that every so often in a really compelling way. Darin Morgan (the author of this episode) was good at this sort of thing. (He wrote three eps which would be covered here if this was a top 25 list: the aforementioned "Humbug," and season 3's "Clyde Buckman's Final Repose" and "War of the Coprophages.")

That said, he could sometimes get a little clever - a few too many parodies-within-parodies and send-ups-within-send-ups for my personal tastes. (Oddly enough, this is exactly what I love about this sequel to this episode, Millennium's "Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense.")

HIGHLIGHTS: Well, Alex Trebeck and Jesse Ventura as Men in Black, obviously. And Chung's description of Mulder as "a ticking timebomb of insanity" has never left my head.

Season 7, Episode 12.
Directed by Michael Watkins. Written by Vince Gilligan.

PLOT: The crew of popular reality show Cops follow Mulder and Scully around as they search for a monster that feeds on fear. (Oooh, so many layers of meta in that plot description.)

WHY I LIKE IT: On first glance, this might come across as a gimmicky Season 7 "What the hell do we do now?" play from the writers. But the gimmick actually works pretty well, and there's not an awful lot of winking at the camera. Vince Gilligan had this idea as early as Season 4, as well, but I'm glad it had time to gestate. I think it fits S7 better than s4.

HIGHLIGHTS: Scully's continued annoyance with the crew, the other cops' exasperation at Mulder's theories (that they can still mine gold from that trope this far into the show is remarkable), and the long line of dubiously-credible witnesses for Mulder's monsters. "In the end," writes Sarah Steagall, "the only credible witness is the camera," which is there only to record Mulder's biggest fear: not finding the monster. And in front of a live audience, to boot. 

Season 1, Episode 8.
Directed by David Nutter. Written by Glen Morgan and James Wong.

PLOT: Mulder, Scully, and three other scientists travel to the Arctic to investigate what went wrong at a remote research station. Whereupon they discover an organism that appears to make its host want to kill other people. It's up to Scully to science things right before Mulder starts shooting everyone in the face.

WHY I LIKE IT: I like this one more or less equally with "Darkness Falls," also from Season 1, but since they're basically the same sort of episode, I went with the one that reminds me more of The Thing. This is a useful rubric for tiebreakers.

HIGHLIGHTS: (Mulder) "Before anyone passes judgment, may I remind you we are in the Arctic." Also, nice turn by Jeff Kober as Bear.

Season 7, Episode 21.
Written and Directed by Vince Gilligan

PLOT: The genie episode.

WHY I LIKE IT: Honestly, what's not to like? It's a fun spin on a timeless theme. I agree with Zach Handlen, this "feels almost like the ultimate X-Files fan love letter. There’s so much stuff in here that should feel like fan service but just doesn’t, like that final scene where Mulder and Scully settle in on a couch to talk about nothing in particular and the weirdness of having just found a frickin’ genie."

HIGHLIGHTS: (Mulder, naturally) "Schwing!" (Jenn, reading the text of Mulder's unused wish) "'This plane of existence' - what are you, a lawyer?" (It's funnier in context.) Also: Anson's eventual screams-of-the-damned once he returns from the dead.

Season 5, Episode 3.
Directed by Kim Manners. Written by Vince Gilligan.

PLOT: In 1989, the Lone Gunmen meet for the first time when they assist a woman who claims the government plans to use civilians in a secret experiment. She is being chased by an agent determined to stop her: Special Agent Fox Mulder.

HIGHLIGHTS: The opening - SWAT team discovers a naked and highly agitated Mulder, screaming 'They're here! They're here!" When we see things from his point of view, the agents resemble The Greys. Also: Lone Gunmen origin story, Mulder's cellphone, and Detective John "Do I look like Geraldo to you?" Munch crosses over to yet another universe. (That line, by the way, is a tribute to the character's first appearance way back in Homicide: Life on the Street, s1, e1 ("Do I look like Montel Williams to you? I am not Montel Williams.")

"No matter how paranoid you are, you're not paranoid enough."
(Susanne Modeski) Amen, sister. 

Season 6, Episode 21.
Directed by Kim Manners. Written by Vince Gilligan and John Shiban.

PLOT: When a young married couple's skeletal remains are found in the middle of a North Carolina field near the Brown Mountains, Mulder suspects they are victims of the regionally famous Brown Mountain Lights. When he investigates further, he nearly becomes a victim himself, not of the Lights, but of the carnivorous mushrooms that line the field and nearby caves. The spores from the mushroom induce hallucinations so overwhelming that whomever inhales them is comatose while the mushroom slowly ingests them.

WHY I LIKE IT: To be honest, when I sat down with the idea of this list, I thought this would be my #1 episode. At least top 3. This time around, while I was certainly thoroughly entertained and still love the twists and turns and weirdness of it all, it fell a few slots in my rankings, as you can see. 

HIGHLIGHTS: Oh, so many. But the ending where Mulder and Scully, barely alive after almost being digested by the mushrooms, weakly touch hands in the ambulance, is one of my favorites. I never cared about any will-they-or-won't-they stuff between Mulder and Scully. To me that was always misplaced. What makes them Mulder and Scully is not hidden attraction; it's their co-dependence, mixed in with their platonic loyalty and earned respect.

Season 7, Episode 19.
Written and directed by David Duchovny.

PLOT: Skinner pimps Mulder and Scully out to his old college buddy, a Hollywood writer/ producer who is gathering material for an FBI script. When they see the finished version, they are less than pleased with the results, while Skinner is absolutely thrilled.

WHY I LIKE IT: Duchovny's second outing as writer/ director is an improvement on Season 6's interesting-failure "The Unnatural." (An episode I like, don't get me wrong, I'm just not sure if it's wholly successful.) This one, like "X-Cops," could be a gimmick-gone-awry, but it's fun fan service from start-to-finish.

HIGHLIGHTS: Naturally, the Hollywood versions of Mulder and Scully (played by Garry Shandling and Tea Leoni) steal a considerable part of the show. But the Lazarus Bowl (a concept you don't see discussed much outside of this episode) is a pretty cool idea. 

Season 3, Episode 13.
Directed by Rob Bowman. Written by Chris Carter.

PLOT: A rare planetary alignment gives two teenage girls telekinetic powers, which they use for their own sick amusement. The townsfolk - unruly rubes, as is often the case when Mulder and Scully venture out into the country - are sure it's the work of Satanists. An exasperated Scully and an even-weirder-than-usual Mulder try and suss out what's what.

WHY I LOVE IT: A Buffy episode, more or less, or perhaps it's more of a Heathers send-up, as Connie Ogle at PopMatters thinks. Either way, it works just fine for me. I'm not surprised when some people tell me this is one they actually hate - I split pretty hard with some folks on the teen-drama-as-metaphor-for-worldly-horrors genre. Similarly, I've seen people cite Mulder's speech at the end ("We are but visitors on this rock, hurtling through time and space at 66,000 miles an hour, tethered to a burning sphere by an invisible force in an unfathomable universe. This most of us take for granted while refusing to believe these forces have anymore effect on us than a butterfly beating its wings half way around the world. Or that two girls born on the same date at the same time and the same place might not find themselves the unfortunate focus of similar unseen forces, converging like the planets themselves into burning pinpoints of cosmic energy, whose absolute gravity would threaten to swallow and consume everything in its path.") as out-of-step with the tone of the rest of the episode.

I disagree. Moreover, this was actually the very speech that turned The X-Files into something I casually enjoyed into a show I watched and loved. Whether it's astrology, Bigfoot, conspiracy theory, or whatever-you-like, the only belief system I hold in contempt is that which claims that what we know in 2015 (or any given year) is the end-destination of all knowledge everywhere. If you happen to stand in that section of the Venn Diagram which is mutually exclusive to such mental short-sightedness, Mulder's speech is a breath of fresh air.

You know, in today's climate of hard-black-and-whites and reactionaryism, I doubt The X-Files ever would have taken off at all.

HIGHLIGHTS: (Terri to Margi) "I said 'Hate him, wouldn't want to DATE him!'" (Scully) "Shut up, Mulder." (Mulder) "Sure. Fine. Whatever." Also, Mulder's flirting it up with Mrs. Stanwyck from Fletch is great stuff. (As is "I was just never sure if your little feet could reach the pedals." Oh no he didn't!)

Season 6, Episode 14.
Directed by Kim Manners. Written by Vince Gilligan and John Shiban.

PLOT: Mulder and Scully are caught in a time loop where they are blown to bits in a bank robbery gone awry. During one of the repeat-days, Mulder is stopped by a woman, Pam, who is the only person not oblivious to living the same day on repeat. It is her boyfriend who keeps blowing up the bank. There are subtle changes in the events, but the results are always the same: Bernard detonates the bomb, usually after shooting Mulder, and they all die. Finally, Mulder and Scully hit upon the one tragic way to stop the loop.

WHY I LOVE IT: I love the repeating-day storyline. Fans at the time thought it was a retread of Groundhog Day, but Gilligan and Shiban maintained it was an homage to the classic Twilight Zone episode "Shadow Play." It definitely has some hallmarks of those, but the one I thought of was Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Cause and Effect." 

But I also love it because this is one of my favorite Mulder-episodes. Mulder was a complex guy, lots of facets, but underneath it all, he has a good heart.

HIGHLIGHTS: (Pam) "This has never happened before." All the stuff with Mulder's waterbed, as well.

Season 5, Episode 12
Directed by Cliff Bole. Written by Vince Gilligan.

PLOT: After Mulder drives a stake through the heart of a would be vampire while on assignment in a small town, he and Scully review what happened before they meet with Assistant Director Skinner.

WHY I LOVE IT: Another episode I assumed would be either my favorite or top 3. As you can see, it's still knocking on the door. This is basically a perfect episode. A lot of these top 10 ones are. Humor, heart, genre deconstruction (both the vampire genre and The X-Files itself), and a great Rashomon-style structure.

HIGHLIGHTS: The whole thing, really, start to finish, but most of the fun comes from Scully's and Mulder's radically different version of events. (And impressions of one another - Mulder in Scully's retelling is especially funny). 

Season 5, Episode 11.
Directed by Rob Bowman. Written by William Gibson and Tom Maddox.

PLOT: While investigating a shoot-out that leaves a renegade computer software genius dead, Mulder and Scully (with some help from The Lone Gunmen) are led to Invisigoth. She tells them of a vast government conspiracy involving artificial intelligence that allows them to see everything and take action against all enemies. Gelman (the man killed in the shoot-out) actually created it. The only way to stop it is to feed it the "kill switch", a CD containing a neutralizing virus.

WHY I LOVE IT: I'm lukewarm on everything I've read by William Gibson except for this episode, which is just start-to-finish badass. Here's one I always remembered liking, but a re-watch shot it all the way up to position 3.

HIGHLIGHTS: "Twilight Time," that creepy-as-hell ending, and Mulder's erotic torture sequences. Plus, the oddly endearing love story between Invisigoth and the AI. 

Season 5, Episode 19.
Directed by Kim Manners. Written by Vince Gilligan.

PLOT: An employee, Lambert, from a telemarketing company is convinced that his boss is literally a monster who no one else can see for what he really is. When he takes everyone (including Mulder, there investigating for the FBI after the company expressed its concerns) hostage, Mulder comes to believe Lambert may actually be telling the truth.

WHY I LOVE IT: Holy crap is this episode a masterpiece. It's very unsettling, for one, and two, just a perfect example of the kind of monster-metaphor-for-us/corporate-culture The X-Files (and particularly Vince-Gilligan authored episodes) excelled at. It takes a central theme of the show (Mulder is the crazy one; Scully is his tether to reason and reality) and finds a new and unexpected way to turn it all on its end. 

You know, a contemporary audience would feel a lot of resistance to this one, which makes me happy. This is the sort of story that exists in that portion of the Venn Diagram I mentioned above. I think there is an unfortunate tendency these days to say "Well, whatever else is going on, I just can't be on the side of the crazy guy waving the gun around" and a sort of mental block is erected. A commendable (or at least understandable) precaution in real life; intellectual cowardice in the world of fiction. 

HIGHLIGHTS: "Madness is always better when shared by two." God bless you, Mulder and Scully. 

Season 6, Episode 2.
Directed by Kim Manners. Written by Vince Gilligan.

PLOT: A man, Crump, infected with a deadly pathogen climbs into Mulder's car and tells him to keep the vehicle moving or he will die. Scully keeps in touch with Mulder via cellphone and attempts to find a cure. Her search leads her to classified Naval research involving long wavelengths, and Mulder to the edge of the ocean itself.

WHY I LOVE IT: Sustained momentum, unexpected character development and bonding between Crump and Mulder, that wonderfully eerie raid on the deaf woman's trailer by Scully and the gang, which always causes a lump in my throat when we see how terrified the woman is and Scully's attempt to reverse the situation, and a turn from Bryan Cranston that is just haunting. The whole thing is just so perfectly executed, and the ending is a real gut-punch. I really believed the almost-friendship that develops between Crump and Mulder. And that final eff-you between Kersh and Mulder is the perfect coda. 

I've been thinking about this episode ever since the night it originally aired. True for many of these, but truest of "Drive."

HIGHLIGHTS: For a series known for its cold opens, this is perhaps the best cold open ever. ("Bad Blood" might be 2nd). (Mulder) "Well, on behalf of the International Jewish Conspiracy, we're out of gas."

And (Clump, later) "Mr. Mulder... can you drive just a little faster, please?" 


Well, looking over this list, I guess I'm primarily a fan of Vince Gilligan's X-Files, aren't I?  And I can see something of a pattern in the sort of episodes to which I gravitate.

How about you?


  1. I'm going to probably have to leave multiple comments on this one!

    I feel your pain regarding the mythology dead-ending. I felt the same way about it upon airing, and I bailed out during the sixth season. But I liked it all more years later when I finished it all up, and a thought occurred to me while rewatching the show recently. (Currently in the early stages of season four.) If the show is meant to be a reflection of conspiracy theory and para-political theory, it makes sense to try and keep the mythology from ever actually resolving; because in the "real" world, it kind of CAN'T ever resolve. This runs contrary to the nature of storytelling, though, so I'm guessing that Chris Carter wanted to never actually wrap anything up, but began feeling pressure from all sides to do so and then had to just make some shit up.

    Oddly, that helps me appreciate the show more.

    As for the movie, I quite like it for what it is; it's got that somewhat weak resolution, but otherwise, there's good stuff in it. The second one...? I hated it. I only saw it the once, so maybe when I finally see it again it'll be more to my liking.

  2. As might be evident from that linked-to post about "Humbug" -- thanks, by the way! -- I could, and have, written a lot about Darin Morgan's episodes. I've got a similar one about "Clyde Bruckman" I need to post one of these days.

    The Jose Chung episode, though, is in another league altogether for me. That's one of my favorite episodes of anything; genius from beginning to finish, and surprisingly sad in some odd ways.

    "He proceeded to eat an entire pie in that fashion..."

    "That's a bleepin' dead-alien body if I ever bleepin' saw one!"

    "I didn't spend years playing Dungeons & Dragons without learning a little something about courage."

    "Rocky...! ROCKY...! Be thou not afraid, Rocky...! No harm will come unto thee!"

    "Love...is that all you men think about?"

    "Who, Lord Kinboat?"

    Ah, jeez, man; just great.

    And yeah, I dig the Millennium sequel almost as much. Morgan's two episodes for that underrated show were just as good as his X-Files work, in my opinion.

    Supposedly he's writing one of the six new episodes. THAT will be maybe my most-anticipated hour of television ever.

    1. I completely forgot about that D-and-D line, which I need to start working into my everyday speech. I probably undervalued this episode - it's a classic.

    2. I have found myself delivering Lord Kinboat's line to Rocky -- complete with a Lord Kinboat impersonation -- to my cats on numerous occasions. And I've got a friend with whom the "bleepin' dead alien" line served for YEARS as an all-purpose "hey lookit this" substitute.

      It really is a marvelous episode. That ought to have gotten Morgan into some sort of hall of fame.

  3. I'm actually not all that big a fan of "Ice." It's a cool riff on "The Thing," true, but some of it fails to make sense to me. I think the tension between Mulder and Scully is overplayed; since their personalities have not actually been altered, does it make sense for them to come close to a "Reservoir Dogs"-styleshootout? I'm not sure it does.

    My favorite thing about the episode is the guest-starring role for Felicity Huffman, who only a couple of years previously had played a somewhat Scully-esque government agent on Stephen King's "Golden Years" series.

    1. What's your feeling on "Darkness Falls?"

    2. I am not a HUGE fan of it, but I definitely like it; and of the two, I might give it the edge over "Ice."

      I'll sling at you a quote from my almost-certainly-never-to-be-completed episode guide for TTITL:

      "I'm not as big a fan of this one as some folks seem to be, but it's a solid enough hour of television. It's a versatile screenplay, in that you can either view it as an indictment of ecological terrorism or as a championing of it. Or, maybe, both. Look for Titus Welliver -- famous in my house for Deadwood and Lost -- in a guest-starring role. He's rocking a pretty sweet mustache."

      I can stand by that assessment.

  4. I'm not a huge fan of "Syzygy," either. I feels like Chris Carter trying, and failing, to be Darin Morgan.

    I enjoy the riff-on-"Carrie" nature of it, and the dynamic between Mulder and Scully. And yeah, the Buffy-ness is palpable.

    I do dig that speech at the end. It may be out of step with the rest of the episode, or it may be perfectly in step with it; but either way, it's a good speech.

  5. If "Syzygy" is Chris Carter trying and failing to be Darin Morgan, "Bad Blood" is Vince Gilligan trying and succeeding. Except really, he's just being Vince Gilligan.

    Hard to say enough good things about Luke Wilson, who does a great job of managing to be both a hunk and a goober. Which, honestly, is a role he was born to play. Where's that guy been the past few years?

    It's also hard to go wrong with redneck vampires. I'm not sure anyone ever has. If so, it wasn't this episode!

    1. I wonder that about Luke, too. Where ya been, Luke? Was he in Anchorman 2? (I still haven't seen it.)

      "Bottle Rocket" remains one of my favorite 90s movies. (It seems to fit that description as a genre, whatever it may be. It just has that feel to it.)

    2. Yessir, "Bottle Rocket" is glorious.

      Apparently he's in the upcoming Adam Sandler movie that got Sandler in trouble with Native Americans. Oh, boy...

  6. My primary memory of "Kill Switch" -- apart from it being great -- is that it aired the week after the disappointment that was "Chinga" (the Stephen King episode). So given that this one also featured a prominent guest-writer, I expected another dud.

    And was very pleasantly foiled in those expectations.

    "Twilight Time" is such a great song. 2015 rarely meets that standard, if ever. By the way, that song offers another Stephen King connection: the song was used to give a subtitle ("Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling") to part of "Hearts in Atlantis."

    1. Agreed on "Twilight Time," 2015 (or 20-anything in general; it hasn't been the greatest century so far for tunes), and the King connection. I love the way it's used in HOA.

      The VFW I used to manage had The Platters' Greatest Hits in the jukebox, which was a treat.

      Not a treat? Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits. First one I removed when I started managing the place.

    2. Are a fellow Joplin-disliker?!? That's wonderful! I have never been a fan of hers in any way.

  7. A few brief notes about the other episodes...

    "Dreamland" is awesome. Shouldn't work; works totally.

    "Triangle" -- A good episode, but I think you are very correct to point out the shallowness of the filming technique. Just a gimmick, but one that does not crush the episode. Hard to blame Carter for using his monster-hit of a show to experiment, though; I'd do that sort of thing, too, if I thought I could get away with it.

    "Je Souhaite" and "Monday" -- I remember loving both of these, but I only saw each once, and remember next to nothing about them.

    "The Unusual Suspects" -- The Lone Gunmen, as an idea, should not have worked. But, again, they really did. I think this episode happened as a way of covering filming on the movie, and also served as a proto-pilot for the spinoff. I rather like that spinoff, by the way.

    "Field Trip" -- Man, that one rings no bells at all. I know I've seen; or at least, I think I've seen it. I wonder if I haven't seen it? If not, I've got something to look forward to.

    "Hollywood, A.D." -- here's another one that amazes in the degree to which what might have been a disaster is turned into a triumph. Garry Shandling! Inspired! (I totally agree about "The Unnatural," by the way.)

    "Folie a Deux" -- This one also fails to ring any bells. I'm now wondering if I missed episode during my great rewatch of 2004. We got the discs from Netflix, so I wonder if there might have been a few discs that didn't play? Hmm...

    "Drive" -- This one made enough of an impact on me that when "Breaking Bad" premiered, I actually remembered that its writer and star had been a part of "Drive." It's a great episode, and I'm already looking forward to getting to it whenever my current rewatch makes it that far. Gotta hammer out the rest of it before the new episodes premiere!

    1. I look forward to your thoughts on "Field Trip" and "Folie a Deux"!

  8. About the "Files" Mythology.

    For some strange reason, I just knew I shouldn't bother with it all that much. My first "Files" outing was, I think the season 6 "Alpha". I liked it enough. Then I caught "Agua Mala" and thought, whoa, even better. Then I started tuning in on a regular basis. For me, its the stand-alone episodes that have always made the series. I always thought it was best to regard the show as more like the classic Sherlock Holmes stories, which is really less about the two main leads and more about a chronicle of various people and how they either make or break themselves through their circumstances, however weird that gets. Don't know if such a view point helps, but there's one way, at least. Also, Bryant might be onto something about Carter wanting to leave things ambiguous as per real life mysteries (which makes me wonder if Carter would helm a film version of "The Colorado Kid").

    This will also be a (semi) multiple post, I think.

    To be continued.


    1. Continued from above.

      Some thoughts on various episodes.


      Here's a bit of sacrilege (for safety's sake, this comment is being written underneath a writing desk, the audience may commence chair hurling). I'm not as impressed with John Carpenter's The Thing as I am with other versions I've seen, including this X Files outing. I think have no one but myself to blame. I made the mistake of reading an earlier draft script which had both more action, character development, and a bigger payoff than what I got in the film. The "Ice" episode doesn't quite capture what this Draft Thing script has, but it comes close.


      I remember seeing previews for this and being intrigued, and I'd have to say I wasn't disappointed. I also think that in comparison the way people are acting around him, Mulder is actually the sane person in the room (the punchline is once he has the high ground he's sort of out of his depth and doesn't know what to do with it).

      The Unusual Suspect:

      Feel free to make your own guesses as to what this mean about the interconnectivity "Files" with other series on this one! Also, is anyone in favor of bringing these guys at least?

      This is one of my favorites as well. I saw a bit of it when I was just starting wonder about this paranormal show, and it might have been the first snippet (not whole episode) I ever saw. I saw the part of Mulder running from the Nazi's and thought, "I want to know all about this, but I can't use this episode as an entry point, but I want to come back and know everything." All this was highly subliminal on my part but its a testament to even a few moments of this show that it got me thinking that way about it. Also, I was never bothered by the camera tricks of this show. To me it was all secondary to the writing (is it a crime to admit you like this and "Return to Oz" over the MGM original?).

      To be Concluded.


    2. Concluded from above.

      On Venn Diagrams:

      This is really off topic, but if you want to avoid "claims that what we know in 2015 (or any given year) is the end-destination of all knowledge everywhere", then I might know of a little curio that might be of interest in expanding the mind somewhat, at least in a sense.

      The book is called "Shakespeare and the Popular Dramatic Tradition" by S.L. Bethell. Its a book of criticism not just on Shakespeare's plays, but also how stories in general are written and how the audience perceives them. Above all, the book is something of a training manual on how to both watch and read stories. Seriously, one of the running themes throughout the book is this idea that Bethell has about how there have been shifts in perception that have shaped how people imaginatively receive stories, and part of his goal is to alert the reader to how these older perceptions operated. In this sense, there seems to be an evolutionary metaphysics to the book. Oh yeah, its one of "those kinds" of books. Its a real trip, and the fact that it was published in 1948 and got a preface by some guy named T.S. Eliot just adds to the mystique of this thing. Perhaps the most interesting part is if you try and apply some of Bethell's suggestions to your favorite books and films, and suddenly you're think, "Whoa, this stuff really works." I can't put it any better than that. Its used and very old, so the only kind of editions available out there are second hand, so caveat emptor (although my copy turned out fine).

      Also, as a final kicker, one of the authorities Bethell cites, G. Wilson Knight, was a real character. He once claimed that he got info on the nature and meaning of Shakespeare's plays by interviewing the author through Ouija Board. Yeah, this is one of those books that rewards digging deeper.


    3. Interesting! Yeah, a little afield to what I was talking about, but it does sound intriguing, for sure.