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Some X (Files) Is Better Than No X (Files)

  • Jan 11, 2010
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I miss Fox TV's THE X FILES more and more with each passing television season. Chris Carter's drama about the paranormal, starring the lovely Gillian Anderson and the understated David Duchovny, was a centerpiece to my weekly viewing agenda. These were smart, witty, and intelligent explorations to things 'on the cusp' of rational explanations, and each episode was very well produced, almost like a miniature feature film. The two theatrical films have been great returns to these characters, though the second feture felt more like a bloated hour of television than it did a full-fledged feature, but nothing comes close to those moments of boob tube brilliance like watching the DVDs and rediscovering a show that helped define quality television, at least for half of its run.

To help fill this gap, I sought out and bought WildStorm's recent trade paperback collection of THE X FILES. Thankfully, these adventures take place within the context of the television show's run, so the stories kinda/sorta loosely fit in with the characters as we came know them in their weekly outings. The trade paperback collects six issues, and, while the stories aren't quite on par with the quality of writing done regularly for the show, they certainly have that X FILES' feel. Frank Spotnitz -- one of the showrunner's regular producers and contributors -- pens much of what's here, and his obvious understanding of this paranormal universe helps establish the overall tone of these three narratives, one dealing with possession, another dealing with mysticism and triads, and the last dealing with an underground civilization (think 'the Hollow Earth' theory) dining on human flesh. While not all of this works successfully, there is an undercurrent of authenticity to the show, with Mulder always representing the fringe elements as Scully chooses to abide by hard science.

This is certainly worth a read, but, if anything, I found the graphic novel only serving up a modest helping -- a virtual side order of X -- waiting for the full meal to be delivered. The last arc -- the Hollow Earth dwellers in the Badlands -- feels like an X FILES variation on the horror film, THE DESCENT (which I enjoyed immensely), not quite original but, then again, certainly far from a straight copy. Read and enjoy ... just don't look for too solid a fix. I'd welcome more adventures of the intrepid Mulder and Scully, especially within the framework of the TV show as the writers deliver here, but next time I'd hope they put a little more meat on them there bones.

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