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NY Daily News
The X Files was expected to spend this season, its seventh and most likely its
last, quietly sliding into TV oblivion - creative juices all but spent, the
energies of its staff and stars focused not on TV but on X Files feature films
It hasn't worked out that way.
Nearly overlooked in its Sunday, 9 pm time slot by a Millionaire and
Sopranos-obsessed media, The X Files has been methodically going about the
business of telling great stories week after week.
Indeed, with a couple of exceptions, the show has served up a terrific bunch of
episodes this season - some involving the show's long-running alien-conspiracy
storylines, some not - like a veteran pitcher keeping batters off-balance by
mixing up off-speed and power pitches.
Sunday's nifty episode, written by Vince Gilligan and directed by Michael
Watkins, is a case in point. It derives from a plausible notion: What if FBI
Agents Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) crossed paths with
the real-world TV show Cops? And what if the story of that encounter were told
in the hyper-realistic, shot-on-the-run, videotaped style of Cops?
The belligerent perpetrator in his underwear, his stream of profanity edited
with bleeps; a terrifed victim who can't speak English; eccentic but courageous
civilians; suspects' fuzzed- out faces; the screaming baby in the raided crack
house; sudden, extreme camera zooms and pans; the muddy audio and murky
natural-light visuals - and lots of yelling.
Onto this stylistic framework, Gilligan and Watkins hang the sensibilities of
The X Files - under a full moon, monsters seem to be stalking a high-crime
neighborhood of Los Angeles - and the familiar attitudes of its lead
Mulder, not surprisingly, digs the idea of being on Cops and quickly starts
playing to the camera crews. Scully is contemptuous of the show and bristles
at the interference with her investigative efforts. The glares she fires at
the Cops cameras could freeze soup.
Neither is there any dearth of X-philian humor, as in this exchange between
Mulder and LA County sheriff's deputy who has seen some very strange things
during his full-moon shift.
Deputy: "It's hard to have a fast-track career in law enforcement when
everybody thinks you're nuts."
Mulder: "Tell me about it."
But this season has hardly been all fun and games. After a muddled opening
two-parter about alien viruses, the series settled into a run of wonderfully
creepy episodes. Plots included a kid with a taste for human brains; corpses
brought to life by millennial fanatics; an impossibly lucky man; a vicious
murderer whose luck finally ran out, along with Scully's self-restraint; killer
rattlesnakes in the service of a demonic preacher; and a complex scam involving
second-rate magicians, second-rate hoodlums and a severed head.
Most recently - in a sometimes chilling, sometimes poignant and surprisingly
spiritual two part story - Mulder's hunt for his long-missing younger sister
finally came to an end.
Last fall, in what sounded at the time like boilerplate hype, series creator
and executive producer Chris Carter touted The X Files as an especially fertile
concept for the generation of new stories.
With this season now about half done, it looks as though Carter's comments
weren't just hype; they were true.
Fox ought to take that as proof that The X Files still has more than enough
creative life in it to justify an eighth season, and work out new deals with
Carter and Duchovny (Anderson's already contractually obligated) to make it
Feb. 18, 2000
X Files boldly goes thru 7th season
by Eric Mink
Article from The NY Daily News by Eric Mink. Transcribed by Alfornos.
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