Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Who: “The X-Files,” a cult science fiction horror drama that aired on the Fox network from 1993-2002 and from January 24 to February 22, 2016.
What: “The X-Files” revolves around FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigating so-called X-Files, i.e. marginalized, unsolved cases outside of the FBI mainstream involving paranormal and/or extraterrestrial phenomena, as well as the government conspiracy to hide the truth about those phenomena.
Agent Mulder wholeheartedly believes in the existence of aliens and the paranormal, while Scully, a skeptic, is assigned to apply scientific analysis to Mulder’s discoveries for the purpose of debunking his work and steering him back toward the FBI mainstream. Episodes consist of so-called mythology story arcs, devoted to the larger, nefarious conspiracy to cover up the existence of extraterrestrials (and their apparently hostile aims) as well as “monster of the week” episodes, i.e. standalone episodes exploring subjects of horror, science fiction, humanism, and, at times, humor.
When: Season Ten, i.e. the revival six-episode miniseries, aired from January 24 to February 22, 2016, on the Fox network.
Where: The show is set primarily at FBI Headquarters (particularly in the basement) in Washington, DC, but the agents investigate X-Files all over the country and sometimes overseas and/or across international borders.
Why: Because the members of this panel, hardcore, love the The X-Files! If you don’t believe me, listen to the first four parts of CPU!’s X-Files podcast series (embedded below).
How – as in How Much Do We Love this Show?!
Did you know?! In January 2016, Fox aired a revival miniseries, officially dubbed season ten, bringing back our two favorite agents, Mulder and Scully, and some of their allies and enemies for six brand new episodes, and the first brand new episodes in fourteen years, of the The X-Files! Quivering with anticipation, after CPU! covered the original series in-depth in four “Looking Back” episodes (embedded below), our panel of devoted X-Philes reconvened to discuss the new six equally as in-depth. The first three episodes of our four-part “Looking Back” series reviewed the nine seasons of the original show. In the fourth podcast episode of CPU!’s X-Files series, our panel took our X-Files geekdom to a whole new echelon of super-fandom, as we closely examined the expanded universe (the films, graphic novels, and games) and provided our definitive top ten lists of our favorite and least favorite episodes of all time, including our favorite myth-arc and monster of the week episodes separately, in addition to what we considered to be the scariest, grossest, and funniest episodes of the series. Have you listened to them yet?
Looking Back at Seasons 1-3
Looking Back at Seasons 4-6
Looking Back at Seasons 7-9
The X-Phile Superfan Geek Edition
In this fifth and final (for now) podcast episode of CPU!’s X-Files series, our panel – Sarah, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and moderator Kylie – discuss season ten around the water cooler, closely examining the latest six episodes, ranking them from best to worst, and dissecting how they fit in the grand X-Files scheme as compared to the original series. We also consider questions, impressions, and future considerations, as a potential season eleven appears to be all but officially confirmed as in the cards, pending the availability of the producers, the writers, and the leads, Duchovny and Anderson.
This podcast was recorded in May 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of this special tenth season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!
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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next Wednesday, we will be taking a first look at the Netflix original series Marvel’s Jessica Jones, featuring our newly formed Marvel Defenders panel (if you listened to our Daredevil podcast episode, the voices will be the same). Don’t miss it, as our Defenders panel digests this particular Netflix entry building up to the Marvel Defenders crossover miniseries, slated to be produced for the streaming service. Stay tuned!
Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
1) How can the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) be remotely alive?! We saw his face incinerate in the series finale of the original series, “The Truth.” Was it aliens? Is he a clone? We need a supernatural explanation, because the more mundane one suggested in the series was not seen as plausible by more than one panelist.
2) Where is William? William, Mulder and Scully’s son, became a running theme this season. Is William part alien – and if so, from whom did he inherit this alien part? Is he, by any chance, in the UFO glimpsed in the final moments of the season finale?
3) Where did Reyes (Annabeth Gish) go? Why did the writers cause her to make choices that went so far against her character as perceived from the original series?
4) So, are there aliens, or aren’t there? The “My Struggle” episodes suggested that aliens were a myth created by the government factions such as the Syndicate, and that the real enemy is biological, namely a (potential) viral outbreak that will only affect people who don’t have a DNA immunity to it. Scully, however, theorizes that the DNA that provides such immunity is alien in origin, and that she has the DNA due to her abductions and cancer scare during the original series. Mulder doesn’t seem to have it – but what about his exposure to the black oil in the original series? Also, didn’t the original series suggest that all humans have alien origin, given the age of black oil remnants on Earth and the discovery of the UFO in Africa? This new plot strand was highly confusing to most of us and did not gel – also, it was poorly executed in comparison to the episodes of the original series that it was trying to downplay.
5) Are the Lone Gunmen actually alive, as panelist Kyle read was confirmed by the hallucinatory sequence affecting Mulder in “Babylon?” If so, where the heck are they?
6) Where are characters like Marita Kovarubius? Former assistant director Kersh? Is Alex Krycek really dead? Where is former Agent Jeffrey Spender, half brother to Mulder and legitimized son of the Cigarette Smoking Man?
7) Just how much should we care about Agents Miller (Robbie Amell) and Einstein (Lauren Ambrose)?
8) Was the last shot of the cliffhanger in “My Struggle II” really that of a UFO? If it is a UFO, did it ultimately save Mulder from the virus, since the vaccine didn’t somehow work on him (also really confusing)?
9) How did Agents Scully and Einstein produce and proliferate the vaccine so quickly?
10) So, how was AD Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) able to approve Mulder and Scully’s return so fast, particularly given their highly touted hiatus from the FBI, highlighted in the second film, “I Want to Believe.”
11) Will we ever get to meet Scully’s younger brother in person?
12) Why does the Cigarette Smoking Man see fit to make Mulder so miserable all of the time? Also, where the heck did he go?
13) When will the new season premiere? You know it’s going to happen.
14) The podcast panel, by and large, feel that six episodes just isn’t enough, but eight to ten might be a nice chunk, a la British TV.
15) Can Mulder and Scully please get back together? This is just a rough patch, right?
All of our panelists enjoyed and were excited by the new six episodes, and there was virtual consensus on which episodes were the best and which were the worst. All five panelists thought “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were Monster” was one of the best, while “My Struggle I” was one of the worst, citing too much unnecessary recapping, no real connective through-line to “My Struggle II,” and no understanding on why Executive Producer Chris Carter, who both wrote and directed the “My Struggle” episodes, chose to nullify the mythology built up over the original nine seasons for the purpose of these two very truncated return-to-the-mythology episodes. In any event, the entire panel was grateful if not overjoyed to see Duchovny and Anderson back in action as Mulder and Scully and to see other familiar faces, including Cancer Man and Skinner. We also look forward to any additional seasons Fox may choose to produce of a show that greatly influenced the television landscape as we know it and continues to do so; all panelists are committed to continue watching, should more seasons be produced. What did you think? Comment below!
While no official announcement has been made, TV pundits believe that renewal for a possible season eleven is pretty much a “sure thing” given the ratings earned by this revival miniseries and by the fact that most of the producers, writers, and performers have gone on record to say that season eleven is in the development stages and something that everyone involved wants to do, though it has not been officially renewed by Fox. Rest assured that as soon as season eleven is announced, CPU! will plan to reconvene our X-Files podcast panel, ready and willing to dissect any additional seasons of one of our all-time favorite shows. CPU! will also, as always, keep you posted on future developments.