This repackaging of THE X FILES according to the mythology arc has, no doubt, long been expected by most diehard fans of the now legendary television series. Having received the 4 volumes as a Christmas gift, this grateful recipient has not had time to peruse all 60 episodes + extras; however, a few observations do come to mind.
RE: THE X FILE MYTHOLOGY, VOL 1-4 ("Abduction"; "Black Oil"; "Colonization"; "Super Soldier"):
Recommendations, divided into 4 categories of prospective buyers, are as follows:
True fanatics or obsessive collectors will, irrespective of whether they own all 9 complete seasons, want to add these 4 volumes to their shelves. That there exists only a small amount of new material ( in terms of extras: audio commentary + documentary ) is really irrelevant to those who fall into this category. 5 STARS in terms of its appeal for this group of people.
2) "REGULAR" FANS:
"X-Philes" who exist on a lesser ( if saner ) plane of dedication may want to consider whether, possessing some ( if not, perhaps, all ) of the complete DVD sets, these repackaged sets actually add to their enjoyment. It seems indisputable that THE X FILES will never be understood on an aesthetic level by solely watching the myth arc episodes; therefore, it begs the question of why one would purchase the "complete" myth arc when it's possible to go the way the series did when it originally aired- i.e., by alternating between mythology and stand alone episodes. 2 STARS in terms of its appeal for this group of people.
3) CONFUSED BUT INTERESTED VIEWERS:
People with some familiarity with the show but who never quite watched with enough regularity ( or intensity ) to follow the intricacies of the mythology arc, may well consider purchasing these volumes. Presumably, those who fall ( more or less ) into this category will not have purchased the complete DVD seasons ( or at least not *all* of them ). It may well be financially (1/5 cost of 9 complete seasons) and aesthetically satisfying to purchase these 4 repackaged volumes and supplement ( by renting or borrowing ) selected stand alone ( "monster of the week" ) episodes. 4 STARS in terms of its appeal for this group of people.
For those who truly haven't watched THE X FILES, or at most, a few episodes, it seems a toss-up as to whether these sets are the right way to go. It is this reviewers suggestion that those in this category rent some episodes; specifically, the first 4 episodes of SEASON ONE (Pilot, Deep Throat, Squeeze, Conduit ) in order to establish whether they find the show appealing. If they're hooked, and have the willingness to invest money through purchasing DVD's outright, it might be better to start purchasing all nine complete seasons over time ( most definitely *in order* ). The other option for beginners would be to purchase the 4 repackaged myth arc volumes ( again, paying attention to proper order ) and renting select stand alone episodes ( there are numerous books and websites which can guide one to the very best episodes ). 3 STARS in terms of its appeal for this group of people.
NOTE: The X FILES MOVIE ( "Fight the Future" ) is *not* included in this repackaging release. After viewing the first 3 episodes of Vol 3: "Colonization" (Patient X, The Red and the Black, The End), it is extremely advisable, for the sake of continuity and understanding, to buy ( or at least, watch ) the film *before* continuing with the remaining (Vol 3) episodes.
RE: THE X FILES MYTHOLOGY, VOL 1: "Abduction":
Of the 15 episodes selected ( which span Season 1 thru start of Season 3), it seems to this reviewer debatable whether Season 2 episode titled "Red Museum" should have been included when Season 1 "Conduit" was not. Furthermore, if the latter episode was not deemed (for whatever reason) to be up to standard, Season 2 "Sleepless" would have had the virtue of introducing a key character (Alex Krycek), with the episode plot having at least as much pertinence to the myth arc as the comparatively inferior "Red Museum". Just two cents from a faithful X-Phile.
IMPORTANT: for those who are new to THE X FILES, the documentary ("Threads of Mythology" ) for Volume 1 contains an unfortunate (completely inappropriate) spoiler. Without elaborating, I can only implore beginners ( few as they may be ) to stay away from this documentary until after finishing either Complete Season 7 or Volume 3 ("Colonization")
With regard to THE X FILES myth arc as a totality; those looking for airtight plot development and perfectly logically explanations as the storyline developed over the course of nine grueling seasons, are truly barking up the wrong tree. Chris Carter and his collaborators, while having a vague idea of where the specifics of the storyline could go, never had every detail planned out, and thank goodness for that! If 1013 Productions had applied such a misguided notion of continuity, many of the surprising twists and turns that characterized the myth arc would have never materialized.