NEW Vol. 1-abduction (DVD)
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NEW Vol. 1-abduction (DVD)
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With sixteen episodes spread over the set, the image quality is exceptionally good throughout. It appears as if these are the same transfers that Fox used for the entire series when it first brought them out on DVD. While they've been tweaked a bit here and there they do also suffer many of the same flaws including halos, edge enhancement and other digital issues. The 2.0 soundtrack is crisp and clear with nice reproduction of the dialog and the music by Mark Snow.
In the new 30 minute documentary Carter comments on how Gillian Anderson's real-life pregnancy impacted the storytelling arc of the series. Suddenly, Carter and his crew had to create a series of episodes built around her abduction and her unavailability for shooting. There's also a discussion on the development of the Cigarette Smoking Man throughout the series. When Bill Davis first appeared in "The X-Files" the writers didn't know how good an actor he was because they hadn't seen most of his work. So the episode where Mulder threatens the Cigarette Smoking Man with a gun had tension not only because of the conflict but because they weren't sure how the scenes would truly play out. "Colony" and "Endgame" are two of the most popular episodes due to the creativity of Carter, Frank Spotnitz (who was brought in when Carter needed help on the series in developing the mythology). The two in collaboration created much of the complex narrative. There's interviews with Brian Thompson who played the Alien Bounty Hunter gives his take on the character. "Anasazi" one of my least favorite of "The X-Files" two parters takes on new life (pardon the pun) due to some of the comments from Carter and Spotnitz. Inspired by a trip to Sedona, Arizona where he saw images that reminded him of drawings of aliens, Carter crafted the cliffhanger for season two advancing the series again. The complexity between the first season vs. the second season is like comparing learning the alphabet to reading whole sentences; both are important but one expressed sounds the other ideas.
Featuring new commentary tracks by the directors and writers of each episode, this set is more than just a reissue or repackaging. Fox has attempted with these new commentary tracks and short documentary to provide additional value much as they did with the season boxed sets. On the other hand, it is a selling point designed to move more product among fans. For example, Director R. W. Goodwin does the commentary track for "Anasazi" and he provides both quite a bit of trivia about the mythology episode we're watching as well as trivia about the actual production. We learn, for example, that the sequence where the boxcar was discovered is actually a quarry far from Arizona which Goodwin had his crew paint to match the sand in Arizona. They painted about a mile of the area. What the Indian community discovers there and what it brings to them changes that community forever but it also has an impact on the life of Agents Mulder and Scully. Carter's commentary as always is intelligent and insightful for his tracks.
A creative show that fell on hard times by the end, "The X-Files" was a fresh, vital series for much of its run. The mythology episodes related to alien abduction are among the creepiest and best the series produced particularly ones like "Duane Barry". In many respects the first season struck me as being only slightly better than the two 1970's TV series (and one of its inspirations) "Project Bluebook" and "Kolchak: The Night Stalker".. Combining that series with the dark conspiratorial tones of the post-Watergate era, these episodes are among the best in the story arcs Carter established.
These are great episodes. As I read through the listing on Fox's website I can see one classic after another. They take you through the early phases of the "Mythology arc" that ran through the series. You get a good initiation to key characters (Smoking Man, Krychek, Lone Gunmen) and a deep emersion into the paranoia that fueled The X-Files experience.
Because the Mythology episodes were scattered amongst the "Monster of the Week" episodes, it could be hard to follow the story chain; obviously this approach addresses that challenge. However, let me warn those not familiar with this show: Those expecting all things to be made clear and flow logically will be disappointed. This is The X-Files - Trust No Storyline.
Another strong point: The price is right, especially when compared to the complete seasons (on an episode basis, you get 16 episodes for about $30; compare that to a single season of 19-22 episodes for about $80. True, you don't appear to get the same number of extras, but still a clear price-friendly product.
So what's not to like? Well, if you're like me and already have all of the complete seasons you want (1-6), then there isn't a good reason to spend $30 on this. I don't collect for resale, and I already have all of these episodes.
Also, The X-Files was about more than just the Mythology. Personally, I loved the writing, odd sense of humor, and Mulder/Scully chemistry. You miss a lot of great stuff when you miss the other episodes. If you loved the series and can afford them, buy the complete seasons (though I only recommend seasons 1-6).
So, if you caught the show once and a while and wished you had followed the entire Mythology arc, this looks like a great deal, and I'm rating this high for you. Otherwise, I can't see the value of it, besides putting some more money in Fox's pockets.
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.
In theory it's a good idea. The mythology (that is the ongoing story-arc which dealt with the governments conspriacy to hide the truth about the existence of extra-tarrestrials for reasons unknown and Mulder and Scully's quest to uncover what exactly "the truth" is) of The X-Files is extremely complex and while it dose make perfect sense, no really it dose! and all your questions do finally get answered, it was extremely easy to get confused or get lost if you didn't follow it religiously (but then again that's exactly why this show became as popular as it did). So for fans who watched the show on and off and want to follow the mythology and understand it, this is a perfect product but I suspect alot of those fans probably already own a few season sets and probably wont be willing to pay more money for this.
Also for a new fan to even consider buying this set would be a huge mistake since you would be missing out on so many of the phenomenol stand-alone episodes, and you really wont understand just exactly what The X-Files is. Trust me you'd be much better off buying the individual season sets and enjoying all the episodes. So after that, I really don't see that many people out there who would be willing to buy this set.
The episodes in this set consist of all mythology episodes from season 1 and 2 (although there is an episode in Season 2 called "Sleepless" which introduces two major characters, Alex Krycek and Mr. X, which is strangley missing) and the first two episodes from season 3. There really was no mythology in season 1. "The Pilot", "Deep Throat", "Fallen Angel" and "E.B.E" are all completely self-contained and have little or no bearing, or resemblence, to the mythology that would begin with the brilliant season 1 finale, "The Erlenmeyer Flask". The aforementioned early season 1 episode are pretty weak and pretty forgetable. From "The Erlenmeyer Flask" through to "End Game" the mythology starts to take shape and there are some phenomenol episodes, in particular "One Breath". It isn't until the absolutely mind-blowing three parter "Anasazi / The Blessing Way / Paper Clip" that we really get to see just how vast and complex the conspriacy is. After these episodes you will definetly be preording the next set which is due out August 2nd, and which marks the real pinnacle of the mythology. Every episode in that set is incredible and you will be well and truly hooked by the end.
This is an excellent purchase for casual fans who want to relive the ongoing story of The X-Files and want all the answers to all the questions you've had, and it will certainly be enough to hook new fans, but I do wonder how many people will end up buying this set.
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