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Thu
Aug 8 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: I Want to Believe

The X-Files: I Want to Believe
A Major Motion Picture
US Release Date: July 24, 2008

It’s been six years since the series finale of The X-Files and now there’s this movie. And you’re going to see the movie, that’s inevitable. You wouldn’t say you’re looking forward to it, but you’re going to see it. You’re a fan and all. It’s just, it’s been six years. Not to mention ten years since the last movie, can you believe that? Ten years? The release date of Fight the Future is forever burned in your memory; this one you just know is coming out “sometime this summer.” You don’t see the trailer, you don’t read reviews, you don’t even buy advance tickets. You just end up seeing it, one sticky summer day, in the basement of your least favorite theater in town.

[Don’t give up.]

Thu
Aug 1 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “The Truth”

Season 9, Episodes 19 and 20: “The Truth”
Original Airdate: May 19, 2002

I have a confession to make: the word “truth” means nothing to me. I mean—no, I mean—it means something. Like, I know what meaning it has. But after nine seasons of The X-Files, “searching for the truth” seems to me an inert concept. Unmasking your villains, exposing conspiracies, these acts have unmistakable value. But once you’ve done those things, what’s next? Shouldn’t uncovering the truth be the beginning of the work, not the end?

[You won’t give up, even now.]

Thu
Jul 25 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Release”

XFiles Release Doggett

Season 9, Episode 17: “Release”
Original Airdate: May 5, 2002

“Release” is not an X-File. Which is not so surprising; not every X-File is an X-File. What is surprising is that “Release” is closure, aka basically something the show never ever likes to do ever, because, you know, just in case maybe someday you need to bring back a character and cover him in makeup and have him pretend to be someone else so that you can get rid of that baby that was annoying everyone. Wait, what were we talking about? 

[You should know there’s a real good chance you’re nuts.]

Thu
Jul 18 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “William”

Season 9, Episode 16: “William”
Original Airdate: April 28, 2002

And just when you thought that The X-Files was out of twists, here’s a hell of a one: “Directed by David Duchovny.” Holy what. The man can no longer be bothered to mumble some nonsense about mutant genetics but he’s down to sit in the director’s chair, and also to get a co-writing credit on the script? And what’s more, he seems to be pretty good at directing? Kudos to you, The X-Files, you constantly find new paranormal avenues to explore. Too bad about this baby though.

[They don’t pay me enough.]

Thu
Jul 11 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Jump the Shark”

Season 9, Episode 15: “Jump the Shark”
Original Airdate: April 21, 2002

If you, like me, did not watch The Lone Gunmen—the X-Files spin-off starring our favorite hacker/comic-relief trio—then you, like me, might find “Jump the Shark” to be both baffling and disappointing. If you did watch The Lone Gunmen then I suspect you will find the episode to be simply disappointing. Perhaps the episode’s title is a self-fulfilling prophecy? Or perhaps it’s just not a good idea to resolve your canceled show’s cliffhanger in the context of your almost-canceled show. (Did we learn nothing from “Millennium”?)(No, we didn’t.)

[I cannot make magic with substandard equipment.]

Thu
Jun 20 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Improbable”

Season 9, Episode 13: “Improbable”
Original Airdate: April 14, 2002

There is a lot of God in The X-Files, which is not really a surprise. The X-Files is often a show about explaining the unexplainable. It is also often a show about not being able to explain the unexplainable, and God is handy for that sort of thing. Unfortunately, the show’s Biblical parallels tend to be more exhausting than enlightening—which is why “Improbable” is such a pleasant (dare I say, improbable) surprise.

[There’s no getting rid of me.]

Thu
Jun 13 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Provenance”/“Providence”

William

Season 9, Episodes 9 and 10: “Provenance”/“Providence”
Original Airdates: March 3 and March 10, 2002

There’s something familiar about “Provenance” and “Providence.” A sprawling two-part mytharc, a UFO cult, a long-haired cult leader, a suspicious man pulling the strings at the FBI, an agent in a coma, bodies burned beyond recognition, a once-buried UFO taking off before anyone can figure out exactly what it’s there for, men who come back to life, and a Messiah. Perhaps you’ve felt that Season 9 was a departure? But perhaps, in fact, Season 9 is just like all the others.

[Whatever you do, don’t worry.]

Thu
Jun 6 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “John Doe”

X Files John Doe

Season 9, Episode 7: “John Doe”

Original Airdate: January 13, 2002

So, I like John Doggett. I actually like him a whole lot. I like him in spite of the fact that his characterization is often inconsistent and that his development has suffered while the show has struggled to find new traction in the post-everything era. He’s as willful as Mulder was, and, like Mulder, has had his life reshaped by a painful loss. How these two men dealt with that grief marks their primary difference. Whereas Mulder drew his strength from that past—structuring his entire career in order to discover the truth about his sister—Doggett has worked hard to move on from his son’s murder.

[Putting it back on again, your one shoe.]

Thu
May 30 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Trustno1”

Reopening The X-Files Trustno1

Season 9, Episode 6: “Trustno1”

Original Airdate: January 6, 2002

The X-Files primarily exists in a time and a space of its own creation. In fact, were it not for the ever-evolving cell phones and odd Monica Lewinsky joke, you might think that the show existed in a universe completely independent of our own, one unaffected by politics and world events. On rewatch, this gives the show a particular timelessness, an amplification to the paranoia. “Trustno1,” in contrast, is an episode solidly of its time.

[The forces against us are unrelenting.]

Thu
May 23 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Nothing Important Happened Today”

Reopening The X-Files Nothing Important Happened Today

Season 9, Episodes 1 and 2: “Nothing Important Happened Today” Parts 1 and 2
Episode Airdates: November 11 and November 18, 2001

This is a pilot, sort of. A pilot for a new show called Season 9 Of The X-Files, which is a bit of a cheeky title but then again, so is “Nothing Important Happened Today.” Just like a pilot would, these two episodes seek to introduce the show’s themes, characters, and ambitions. And in that respect, it’s a good pilot. We get the new characters, and the new themes, and the new ambitions. Unfortunately, it appears to be a good pilot for a lousy show.

[Would you like to get some air?]

Thu
May 16 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Essence”/“Existence”

Reopening The X-Files Essence Existence

Season 8, Episodes 20 and 21: “Essence”/“Existence”
Original Airdates: May 13 and May 20, 2001

If it seems like we keep ending eras, we do. We do keep ending eras. We’ve said goodbye to the Consortium, and we’ve said goodbye to regular appearances from Agent Mulder, and, well, you know. It’s been a lot of change, a lot of goodbyes, and honestly I think we’ve handled it pretty well! But you guys, I hate to break it to you, we’ve got to do it again. We’ve got to say goodbye to the show as we know it, to the show that’s about Mulder and Scully solving cases together. This is it. This is the end of that. Are you ready? Better yet: is the show ready?

[I just felt a contraction.]

Thu
May 9 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Vienen”

Reopening The X-Files: Vienen

Season 8, Episode 18: “Vienen”
Original Airdate: April 29, 2001

This is an episode about Fox Mulder and John Doggett, and how the former decided to stop being a jerk to the latter. Was a time when Mulder would never ever stop being a jerk to a tough-jawed interloper like Doggett, but also was a time when the actor playing Mulder wasn’t working super-hard to get off the show. And so. It is not a surprise, to watch Mulder release the X-Files into the care of another. It is, however, a little bittersweet.

[How about a twenty count?]

Thu
May 2 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Three Words”

Reopening The X-Files Three Words

Season 8, Episode 16: “Three Words”
Original Airdate: April 8, 2001

Before you make yourself crazy about it, the three words are “fight the future.” A few years ago, it was a terrifically nonspecific subtitle for a movie. The future could have been anything, then—the work of the Consortium, the work of the aliens, the work of the aliens and the Consortium together—but with the Consortium gone, and with much of the mutual work wiped out, the future is one thing: invasion.

[You’re being paranoid, Mulder. Even for you.]

Thu
Apr 25 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “This is Not Happening”/“Deadalive”

Reopening The X-Files This Is Not Happening Deadalive

Season 8, Episodes 14 and 15: “This is Not Happening”/“Deadalive”
Original Airdates: February 25 and April 1, 2001

No, well, actually, it is happening. It’s happening, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Our show is getting older, and more frail. More forgetful, and more—somehow—nonsensical. These two episodes, the episodes in which Mulder returns! should be the boldest, and most wonderful. And somehow instead they are dull, and exhausting, and not half as mysterious as they would like to be.

[Hanging on to life by a thread.]

Thu
Apr 11 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Per Manum”

Reopening The X-Files Per Manum

Season 8, Episode 13: “Per Manum”
Original Airdate: February 18, 2001

What if Scully had always been the believer? What if, and I mean, really what-if, and I mean, what I’m really talking about here is gender. Is about what it’s always meant to this show to have a female skeptic and a male believer, and how that’s changed now that Mulder is gone and Scully believes and Doggett is Doggett. “Per Manum” returns us to one of the show’s classic mytharcs—the eternal mystery of Scully’s womb—and as it does so, with these roles reversed, the division between the new show and the old show appears more startling than ever.

[Can’t keep it a secret forever.]

Thu
Apr 4 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “The Gift”

Reopening X-Files The Gift

Season 8, Episode 11: “The Gift”
Original Airdate: February 4, 2001

The X-Files has always been driven by absence. The absence of Samantha, to begin; the absence of Scully, for awhile; and now the absence of Mulder. Driven by, but not particularly constructed around. The missing are always sought-after, but intermittently, as monsters-of-the-week intervene and mythology threads go cold.

[You’ve got it all backward.]

Thu
Mar 28 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Invocation”

The X-Files episode Invocation

Season 8, Episode 5: “Invocation”
Original Airdate: December 3, 2000

So what is this, is this business as usual? A monster-of-the-week, a skeptic and a believer investigating the disappearance slash reappearance of some creepy little kid, same old business, same old partner dynamic, I mean. That’s the risk, isn’t it? Even flipping the script and turning Scully into a believer is a thing that could be ruined. Fortunately, “Invocation” shows us that there’s potential in the flipped script. Unfortunately, “Invocation” also shows us how harrowing the new world might be.

[Now listen to it backwards.]

Thu
Mar 14 2013 3:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Within”/“Without”

Reopening X-Files Season 8 Episode 1 2 Within Without

Season 8, Episodes 1 and 2: “Within”/“Without”
Original Airdates: November 5 and November 12, 2000

Aw, look, I know. Change is hard. You miss Mulder. You miss the conspiracy. You miss the old days! You miss your youth. I miss your youth too, but the point is—change is an opportunity. No, it is. Even on this stubborn old television program. The addition of John Doggett may have been, to some, a sign that it was time to write off the whole show, but if “Within” and “Without” have anything to say about it, the addition of John Doggett could be exactly the thing this thing needs.

[You’re the man in charge.]

Thu
Mar 7 2013 4:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Requiem”

The X-Files Season 7 Episode 22 Mulder Scully Rewatch Requiem Episode

Season 7, Episode 22: “Requiem”
Original Airdate: May 21, 2000

This is how it ends. Not with a voiceover, or with a Grey. Not even with an ending, because yeah, no, no, “Requiem” is not the end of The X-Files. But it is, or it could be. Like most of the show, it was conceived to cover a number of potential bases: that the show would have another season, that the show would not have another season but would have a movie, that the show would not have another season and would not, either, have a movie. It pays homage to its roots while maintaining the hazy melancholy that permeated the whole of the season, the long, longing looks at the door. And then it ends. And Mulder is gone.

[There’s no such thing as a snipe, sir.]

Thu
Feb 28 2013 4:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Je Souhaite”

The X-Files Je Souhaite

Season 7, Episode 21: “Je Souhaite”
Original Airdate: May 14, 2000

So here we are. Nearly at the end of the seventh season of a show about two FBI agents who investigate paranormal activity. Seventh season! Did you ever thought you’d live so long? Fitting, then, to have an episode about immortality, and the corruption of a long life. “Je Souhaite” is the episode with the genie in it, an episode that—despite the fact that there’s explosion, halfway through—comes off as meditative. There’s hardly a crime, and hardly a case. Just a woman who has seen too much, meeting a man who always needs to see more.

[Barbara Eden never killed anybody.]