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30 Days of Halloween! Day 8 – Hanging Out At The Bronze + Final Thoughts [BTVS Music]

On this (delayed) eighth day of the 30 Days of Halloween, I’m finally writing the final “chapter” of this Buffy the Vampire Slayer retrospective that started over three years ago. I had a few thoughts left that I wanted to share about the show and the impact that it’s had on my life, but I never got around to finishing it for various reasons. Like Real Life not being very kind to me and giving me the necessary time nor creative drive to write. Being an adult sucks sometimes, but it also has its benefits. Like meeting cast members from one of your favorite shows, or reliving episodes with fans who remember them fondly, or convincing friends to watch the show for the first time.

One thing I forgot to cover initially when I first started posting the various parts of my retrospective was giving much-needed attention to the soundtrack of the show. Music plays a very important in our lives for a variety of reasons, and many shows have utilized the power of the audio arts in many terrific ways. Lost Girl – for example – has had so many great songs featured in its episodes that have worked well with moving along the story, as well as giving us background sound to listen to during very important scenes. The same goes for another recent favorite of mine, Person Of Interest, that is very aware of the power of music and is very particular about the songs used in the show to emphasize the emotional value of a particular scene.

Buffy was one of the major shows in the early-1990’s that used lots of great music to accentuate an episode or really bring a scene to the forefront. Before Sarah McLachlan was more commonly associated with really sad commercials featuring abused animals (the ASPCA ads that play constantly on U.S. television during the weekends and evenings), her music was featured a few times on the show. One specific song, “Full of Grace” from the Surfacing album, played at the end of the Season Two episode “Becoming, Part 2,” and the emotional impact that it brought with it still resonates with many fans of the show to this day. You need to make a scene even sadder or more mentally devastating? Play a Sarah McLachlan song in the background.

All sarcasm aside, Joss Whedon definitely understood the power of music and really made it shine on Buffy. All the songs that are featured in an episode have a place in the scenes, and it doesn’t feel like they were just put there to have some pretty background noise to listen to. Each song is important in the storyline of that particular episode, and the feelings that we get from listening to them are real. These songs stay with us long after the episode has ended and we’ve come to recognize their importance and sometimes include them in the soundtrack of our own lives.

The nifty embedded player that I’ve added below features many of the songs that appeared on the show. It’s a showcase of some of the best underrated Alternative Rock tunes of the 1990’s and early-2000’s, and these songs still hold up very well after all these years. It’s easy to sit back, listen to them, and revisit the scenes that they were featured in.

I’ve included – separately – two very important pieces of music that aren’t featured in the playlist below. The first one is the most important of all: the show’s theme song courtesy of alt-pop-punk band Nerf Herder (extra geek points if you get the reference). The second is an original piece of music that was written for one of the beloved couples from the series: Buffy and Angel, aka Bangel. Shout-out to my fellow Bangel fans! (I’m a multi-shipper that ships all the canon and fanon couples). The most important use of that theme song came at the end of “Becoming, Part 2;” we all know what scene I’m talking about.


“Close Your Eyes (Buffy & Angel’s Theme)” by Christophe Beck

There’s some theme songs that make me curl up into a tight ball and make me cry, curled up in a corner and letting all my fangirl feelings out. This theme song is a perfect example. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of Buffy and Angel’s relationship, this is a really beautiful and haunting musical composition from series composer Christophe Beck. Starting off quietly before climaxing into a powerfully epic conclusion, “Close Your Eyes” was used most effectively in the episode “Becoming, Part 2.”

I’ve mentioned the episode several times in this retrospective. I’ve even mentioned how much that particular scene affected me. But I’ve got share it again to finally move on and cry over my other OTP’s.

Towards the end of “Becoming, Part 2,” Angelus was fighting Buffy in one hell of a ferocious battle, and he seemingly bested her at one point until she fought back. Just as she was about to defeat him and close the Hell portal that was opening from the ancient demon Acathla’s maw, Willow’s spell to restore Angel’s soul succeeded at the last minute – of course. Buffy stopped just before she ran him through with her sword, and the expression on his face… Ugh. Don’t wanna talk about it.

Anyway, the theme starts to play in the background as Buffy and Angel talk a little bit, and she professes her love for him. Then the time has arrived for Buffy to close the Hell portal using Angel’s blood (which opened it in the first place), but she can’t bring herself to do it while he’s tearfully staring at her, brooding even more than usual. She quietly (and also tearfully) asks him to close his eyes, and he obliges, before she does run her sword through him, killing the love of her life while saving the world. Sometimes ya gotta sacrifice one for the many, but it doesn’t make it any easier.


Final Thoughts

I’m a bit sad that this retrospective has come to an end. While it may be the “final curtain call,” it doesn’t mean that there’s not a possibility of more posts appearing in the future. You can’t truncate Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the impact that it’s had on pop culture in general in so many words – it’s impossible. I can offer my thoughts & feelings on it and share it with the rest of the world, as well as having fellow fans speak about the impact the show has had on their own lives.

Without Buffy, I wouldn’t be here on this soil. It’s saved my life in so many ways, and I will be forever grateful to Joss for his creation. Buffy helped open the door for me creatively in a lot of ways. It also led me to the series Angel, which helped me discover my current favorite actress, who I’ve had the opportunity to meet not once, but twice, this year. I can’t mention them JUST YET because they’re going to be the focus of Sunday’s Halloween Countdown post. The only hint I’m giving is that while they are the most genuine and kindest person I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting, they’ve played some of the most morally-gray characters ever, and even a villain or two.

Thank you for taking the time in following me on this very long journey. If you have never seen an episode of Buffy yet…why are you still on this site reading this post? Go watch it now! Binge on it! You’ll thank me later for being addicted to it and adding it to your own personal list of favorite TV shows. My lovely co-writer will be adding her own thoughts on the show too, so be on the lookout for that soon.

I leave you with two videos showcasing the wondrous joy and insanity that is Buffy’s musical episode: “Once More With Feeling.” Joss arranged & produced the musical arrangements with collaborator Jesse Tobias. Fun Fact: Jesse was one of the touring guitarists for Alanis Morissette in her backing band, named Sexual Chocolate, during her major Jagged Little Pill tour after that record was released.

“Once More With Feeling” – Behind the Scenes

30 Days of Halloween! Day 7 – “She is the Slayer…” – Part 1 [TV Show Throwback]

On this seventh day day of the 30 Days of Halloween I’m spending a little bit of quality time with my favorite vampire slayer: Buffy Summers. Though the show has been off the air since 2003, its impact on pop culture, and even the academic world (there are lots of published papers and books based around the show and character), is still quite significant. It made series creator Joss Whedon a household name and helped him launch several other series that are still beloved by fans (newer & older) today: Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse, as well as many other projects and films like Much Ado About Nothing and a small-budget indie film named The Avengers. There are still lots and lots of fans who re-watch the series frequently, and there’s also new fans that are discovering the show for the first time and diving head-first into the fandom.

As a BTVS fan who got into the show mid-way through Season Two, I’m still very grateful for the constant inspiration the show has given me since I first discovered it in 1998 – courtesy of my badass mom. In many ways the show saved my life and I’m eternally thankful for the positive influence it’s had in it. It was so cool to watch this show in high school because I was the same age as the characters, and seeing them battle real-life horrors and the trials & tribulations of being a teen growing up and entering college and adulthood was something I related to. When the blog was originally named A Voyage into the Quirky, Offbeat, and Geeky, I created it with the intent of showcasing many of my geeky interests, including my love for all things Buffy. That love was shown in a long retrospective series that I wrote several years ago, and in this special lil’ tribute post I’ve included the links to all of my original posts. I stopped a post short of finally completing the retrospective and that final post will appear Friday.

My lovely friend and fellow Geeky Voyage writer, Cassandra, and I are both Whedonites. We are huge Buffy fans and we’ve both got growing collections of Buffy-related items (comics, books, cards, figures, etc.), and we could probably talk your ear off about the characters, the episodes, and the seasons all day long. We’re extremely passionate about the show and we’re also big fans of the spinoff Angel. A very popular character from that show will be featured on Day 10 (this coming Sunday) of this ongoing countdown, and we both have lots of feels for them and the person who portrays them. ‘Cause that person is the most perfect human being ever and a ray of sunshine and the biggest sweetheart to their fans.

If you’d like some light reading for this weekend, I present to you all twelve parts of my Buffy Retrospective below. If any of you readers have any thoughts you’d like to share about how big of an impact the show has had on your life, I’d love to read them. I love meeting fellow fans and geeking out over one of my favorite shows with them. Your favorite episodes, scenes, relationships, characters, and anything else Buffy-related… Share all of your feelings below in the Comments section.

I do apologize for the crappy pictures. My Photoshop skills aren’t exactly l33t, and the original videos I pulled the screencaps from weren’t very clear. Enjoy the nostalgic value of the pictures and relieve all of your favorite moments from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


RETROSPECTIVE INTRODUCTION

A 15-Year Retrospective On The “Girl With A Stake Who Saved The World (Again)”

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SHOW SYNOPSIS

BTVS Retrospective (2): Seven Seasons Reduced To Fourteen Minutes

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FAVORITE SCENES

BTVS Retrospective (3): And These Are A Few Of My (Most) Favorite Scenes – Part One

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BTVS Retrospective (4): And These Are A Few Of My (Most) Favorite Scenes – Part Two

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FAVORITE EPISODES

BTVS Retrospective (5): Full Season Pick-Up (Favorite Episodes – Part 1 of 3 – Seasons One & Two)s1xe7-angel

BTVS Retrospective (6): Full Season Pick-Up (Favorite Episodes – Part 2 of 3 – Season Three)s3xe3-faith-hope-and-trick

BTVS Retrospective (7): Full Season Pick-Up (Favorite Episodes – Part 2 of 3 – Season Four)

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BTVS Retrospective (8): Full Season Pick-Up (Favorite Episodes – Part 3 of 3 – Seasons Five and Six)

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BTVS Retrospective (9): Full Season Pick-Up (Favorite Episodes – Part 3 of 3 – Season Seven)

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FAVORITE CHARACTER

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Retrospective (10): The Characters, Part 1 – Favorite Character (Always “Five By Five”)

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SHOW CHARACTERS – #HEROES

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Retrospective (11): They Will Always Save Us [Team Slayer]

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SHOW CHARACTERS – #VILLAINS

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Retrospective (12): They Will Try To Destroy Us [Team Evil]

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Retrospective (13): Music & Final Thoughts

Still Need A Bigger Boat: 40 Years Of “JAWS” [Movie Retrospective]

[OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING]

Yes, this film just recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.Yes, many movie lovers have seen this film – some countless times. But I’m still throwing in this warning for the few of you who still haven’t seen the movie yet. And if you haven’t seen it go out and buy the 35th Anniversary Edition; comes with a really awesome documentary about the making-of the movie as well as a cool picture booklet with behind-the-scenes anecdotes and pictures. Thank you and enjoy!


Let’s kick off this special retrospective in high-gear with a very familiar theme song that most people have heard at least once in their lives:

If you weren’t traumatized listening to that, you’ll definitely be after watching the original trailer to this cinema classic:

Welcome to this retrospective celebrating the first summer blockbuster and one of the most recognizable movie monsters of all time: JAWS. Enjoy this throwback look at a cinematic classic that still captivates and scares the living daylights out of moviegoers. Are you still afraid to go to the beach or swim in any body of water, including pools? You can thank this film for that terror!

Growing up, I was fascinated with the silver screen. I loved seeing movies of all types of different genres, but I was also big fan of monster films. Some of my favorite films when I was a young Sylent Mari included many of the classic Universal Monster films like: Dracula, Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, and so many others. I’m still very much a lover of all things Horror, and I love Horror films and TV shows. I have few friends who are into the genre but very thankful that we can geek out over the frightening and gory.

There was one particular Horror/Monster film that really captured my attention & imagination as a kid, and to this day it remains my favorite film of all-time: JAWS. Part drama/monster/horror – and equal parts amazing – JAWS is a timeless film classic that still scares the crap out of audiences both young and old today. I recently attended a special 40th anniversary screening on June 21st of this year and it was at about 90% capacity. There were families, there were single folks like me, and the age range was very diverse: toddlers, teens, adults, and a few moviegoers in their 70’s-80’s. It was so much fun to get to experience JAWS on the big screen, and the whole time I felt like I was a kid watching it for the first time, excited and smiling throughout the whole film.

My mom still has this drawing with a “What I Want To Be When I Grow Up” job description on it from first grade (I was six) that I drew for a class project. While she is still quite proud of it and loves to show it to me every so often when I visit, I can only imagine what my poor first grade teacher was thinking at the time. I will eventually get a picture of that drawing and share it here, but here’s a short description of it:

Quint is being eaten alive by the dreaded Great White Shark that has been stalking various beachgoers and swimmers, while Chief Brody looks on in horror as he scrambles to safety on the Orca (Quint’s boat). Below this really cool-and-primitive stick figure drawing is a written sentence from me: “When I grow up I want to be a marine biologist because I want to study sharks.”

Though I never became a marine biologist (Never Say Never!), I still have a lifelong love and fascination with sharks, and especially Great Whites. Great Whites have always gotten a bad rap and JAWS didn’t help their cause, scaring people and causing many to kill millions and millions of sharks (Great Whites and other species) for fear of attacks happening all around the world. In reality, shark attacks only account for 10-30 fatalities a year…if that. Yet thousands upon thousands of sharks are killed for their fins and thrown back into the water, where they can’t swim and subsequently drown and die. #SharksAreOurFriendsNotFood

I won’t bore everyone with repeating tales of the production – which are vast and quite legendary. There are many documentaries and interviews that detail the struggles, frustrations, and fights that frequently broke out on set while the film was being made. One of those interesting documentaries is below. This originally aired on the BIO Channel back in 2012, and it’s a fascinating look at all of the behind-the-scenes stuff that occurred on the film. Despite all the production nightmares and the uncooperative mechanical sharks (including the legendary “Bruce”), the film would later become one that is highly regarded by critics who were impressed with young director Steven Spielberg’s risky vision – using POV shots of the shark stalking swimmers, putting his cast through hell and back, and ultimately creating a film executives originally thought would wind up an epic disaster.


JAWS: The Inside Story aired on the BIO Channel in 2012


Why do I dig JAWS so much? I could spend several posts writing about what an important piece of cinema it is, how it still affects people to this day, etc. The film means a lot to me because it was such a badass film when I first saw it and it left quite the impression on me. It inspired me to pursue various creative avenues, including filmmaking in the future. The direction of the film was groundbreaking for its time, and I love the tension & horror that we get whenever we see the shark POV scenes, as Jaws slowly swims up and seeks the right prey for it to devour.

What could’ve easily been a cheesy monster film was anchored by some very strong performances from its lead cast: Roy Scheider as “Chief Brody,” Robert Shaw as “Quint,” and Richard Dreyfuss as “Matt Hooper.” Including the supporting cast, the film had several excellent dramatic scenes that brought chills to me. Despite the mechanical sharks being divas and refusing to work most of the time, those three actors gave us several of cinema’s greatest dramatic scenes.

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The opening credits of the film


Sylent Mari’s Favorite Scenes from JAWS

The following scenes below are my favorites from the film. It’s so hard to choose a favorite scene because there are so many to choose from, but these are the ones that have really stuck with my throughout repeated viewings over the years. With Summer in full swing, there’s still plenty of time to watch this Horror classic and remember –  if you see a fin in the water, be wary of it…

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The first victim to be killed by the mysterious “ocean” dweller

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Second victim, the young Alex Kintner, during a busy day at the beach

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Meeting salty sea-dog Quint for the first time, after Alex’s attack

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Mrs. Kintner slaps Chief Brody, blaming him for Alex’s death

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Ben Gardner makes a surprise appearance; another victim of Jaws

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The Mayor of Amity being a delusional dumbass as Brody & Hooper warn him about the shark that’s been stalking Amity’s beaches

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A young painter screams for help after a false alarm at the beach; the shark attacks a boater in the “Pond” in front of Chief Brody’s son

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Quint, Hooper, and Brody prepare for an epic voyage to kill the shark

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“We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

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Our rag-tag team of shark hunters meet the huge villain up close

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Quint recounts a haunting tale of the U.S.S. Indianapolis (based on a true story), which sunk in shark-infested waters during World War II

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Jaws is not amused by having three barrels harpooned to it.

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Jaws is not amused with Hooper trying to poison-harpoon it

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Quint and Jaws’ love affair is over as quickly as it started.

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“Smile, you son of a bitch!”
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Chief Brody ain’t having it. He’s had a bad day, Quint’s dead, Hooper’s probably dead… He throws a tank into Jaws’ mouth, hoping to teach it a lesson. Just one well-placed shot. BOOM! you son of a bitch! Joining the celebration is…HOOPER! The bromance is still alive & strong as Brody and Hopper swim back to shore.
THE END!

The X-FILES Retrospective (4) – Nine Seasons, Two Movies, and One Comic Series in Twenty-Four Minutes [Part 3/3]

SPOILER WARNING: There will be spoilery summaries of what each season is generally about, but I tried to keep the spoilers as minimal as possible. If you’re trying to keep yourself spoiler-free and virginal from knowing anything about the show, avert your eyes. If you’re curious about the show and want to have an idea of what each season covers, then please proceed ahead. This show may also cause lots of #feels and heavy fangirling/fanboying.

Take a deep breath and relax a little! You have arrived at the third and final part of this three-parter post covering The X-Files for first-time viewers. This post covers the final two seasons of the show, Eight and Nine, which are also known as the Mulder Isn’t Here seasons. Robert Patrick, a fine character actor who’s in every movie and TV series that has been released since the late 1980’s (seriously – dude’s in just about anything you’ve ever seen recently) joined the show in the eighth season as a new partner for Dana Scully. What happened to Mulder? You’ll find out in a minute.

A second feature film was released five years after the series finale. A stand-alone feature that also acts as a Monster of the Week, it’s a decent flick that’s worth a watch. Though I have some issues with it, it’s not the worst film you’ll ever see. There are some religious elements that might turn away some viewers, but it’s not heavy-handed. While the first film was a Mulder feature, this film showcases Scully.

And lastly, the show has seen a resurgence after continuing a new lease on life with a comic book revival. In canon with the TV series, the comic series starts with a new season – Ten, in this case. It keeps with continuity with the finale of the series and offers new adventures for Mulder, Scully, and their allies and enemies. I haven’t picked it up yet because I’m waiting for all of the issues to be released in individual volumes (volumes are several comic issues put together in one book). I’ll cover a little bit about the ongoing storyline, but I suggest picking up the comics and really seeing how the show translates onto the page. There have been comics written about the show before, but this is the first series that directly aligns with the show. Many familiar characters from the TV show appear, which is very cool for fans to bring some familiarity while reading this new literary season.

If you quit watching The X-Files after David Duchovny left to pursue other acting gigs (see Californication), it’s still worth a re-visit of the final two seasons. They aren’t really that bad and I do find them mostly enjoyable. The ninth season dragged because the original magic of the first seven seasons started to disappear, and the creators and cast knew at that point that show probably wasn’t going to continue. I wish it did with Agent Doggett and Agent Reyes – I thought they were both good additions to the show. 



Season Eight Promo

Season Eight

Now With Less Fox Mulder! This should be the official tagline for the eighth season of the show, which saw David Duchovny taking a much lesser and active role as he pursued other interests. And there might’ve been lots of tension between him, FOX, and Chris Carter after he sued the FOX network for underselling the rights of the show, which cut into residuals for the actors when the show starting to appear in syndication on the FX network. With Duchovny’s character appearing in a limited capacity, Chris Carter and the producers of the series had to bring in some fresh blood to keep the show going for a while longer. Enter Robert Patrick, a highly-regarded and well-known character actor who has been steadily working in Hollywood for decades now. He was already connected to the show before he even joined it –  his younger brother Richard is the frontman for the band Filter, and they’ve contributed music to the show and a compilation release called Songs in the Key of X.

Who is Special Agent John Doggett, and why was he introduced into the series? He’s a no-nonsense guy who is trying to get to the bottom of Mulder’s so-called “abduction” at the end of Season Seven. Yes, it’s true – Mulder has found himself to be an alien abductee after a visit to Oregon to the site of his first case with Scully. One of the alien abductee’s from the original case, Billy Miles, contacted them and he was also abducted along with Mulder. But there’s something more sinister brewing here, kids – Billy is returned, deceased, but something weird happens to him. And he becomes part of the most annoying arc added to the alien mythology. What would you get if aliens decided to experiment with their own T-100’s? You get a Super Soldiers, a seemingly invincible alien/human hybrid who can reform and come back to life after even the most gruesome deaths. Billy Miles is a Super Soldier and his main purpose is to hunt down both Mulder and Scully and kill them.

Mulder later returns, but is presumed dead at first, which gives Scully ALL THE FEELS. And she’s even more emotional than usual because she’s also pregnant. Somehow. Jumping back to several seasons before, it was discovered that Scully’s eggs were taken from her after she was abducted. In a strange turn of events, there was a young girl named Emily who was discovered to be Scully’s own biological child, but she died from a rare disease. (It’ll make more sense when you start watching Season Five). But somehow Scully finds herself pregnant with this mystery spawn, and she has this growing fear throughout the season that he may of extraterrestrial origins – yes, the show went there.

So what the heck is the deal with the Super Soldiers? I’ve seen this season a few times and even after my most recent viewing it still leaves me a bit confused. And I’m backtracking a little bit, ‘cause I just threw myself off. The Super Soldiers were created by the U.S. government as part of a millionth secret experiment involving alien viruses, this time manufacturing their own virus that turns humans into indestructible alien beings that can repair themselves. Their main purpose is to make sure that the alien colonists are protected when they come to Earth to destroy us all, instead of being used to fight them off; we can’t always win.

There’s some really messy and confusing subplots that all revolve around William, Scully’s baby-to-be, and his supposed super-specialness. Is he an alien/human hybrid, a Super Soldier, or Christ? There are some people trying to kill him, some trying to kidnap him, and others trying to save him. But like so many other subplots that disappeared mostly without a trace, William will later become a lost subplot. But in the meantime Scully delivers a healthy baby boy with help from another new agent that first helped her and Doggett search for Mulder after his abduction – Special Agent Monica Reyes.

Reyes and Doggett become the new keepers of the X-Files while Scully decides to take a extended leave-of-absence from the division to raise her son. And they mystery of his conception? Solved! Who’s the father? Do I really have to say their name, or have we all guessed who the obvious choice is? Yes, Mulder and Scully ‘shippers: William is the proud product of Mulder and Scully’s shagging on one particularly lonely night for the latter. We discovered that they hooked up thanks to a creepy government operative who was spying on Scully and saw the moment on video when she invited Mulder into her bed. We learn about this in Season Nine from this shadow operative, but they still hooked up this season.

Asshole Baddie Alert! A fan-favorite anti-villain meets their demise in this season, and it’s not CSM. This baddie is one of my favorite villains from any TV show or film, and as much as I hated-liked them, I didn’t expect them to die that soon.

Select “Monsters of the Week” from the eighth season: bat-man – literally (“Patience”), mind-controlling slugs (“Roadrunners”), a man who can literally see through walls (“Surekill”), a real “iron man” (Salvage”), and super-soldiers (“Existence”). The super-soldiers make a few appearances in Season Eight, and several appearances in Season Nine.



Season Nine Promo

Season Nine

Mulder’s in hiding from everyone in the world. Scully is reassigned for the billionth time to Quantico. New agents take over the X-Files and try to solve the strangest of cases. Is this a repeat of Season Six? Nope – we’re onto the last season of the series. This time, though, the new agents aren’t as horrible or annoying as Jeffrey Spender and Diana Fowley. Doggett and Reyes come to reluctantly accept the fact that strange things happen in the world, and their job is to investigate them.

There’s more Super Soldier nonsense in Season Nine too, so if that storyline bugged you…there’s no reprieve either. But we do get a new addition to the Super Soldier ranks: Xena herself, Lucy Lawless! Though she appears in only one episode, it’s cool to Lucy in action on the show as this badass indestructible alien person that has some ties to Doggett. Lucy was part of the same Marines division that Doggett was once in, along with a frenemy of his named Knowle Rohrer. Knowle is one of the first Super Soldiers and he’s been pulling Doggett’s strings for a while about the secret government experiment.

Yet another new addition the mytharc is introduced as a UFO cult tries to kidnap Mulder and Scully’s child William to use for their own nefarious purposes. This cult has discovered a second alien spacecraft that has crash-landed in Canada. Or Montana. Somewhere north along the U.S.-Canadian border. According to this cult, William is going to bring the End Times courtesy of some prophecy and something they read on the outside of this alien spacecraft. Our friends the Lone Gunmen, who had helped Mulder and Scully since the beginning of the series, swear to protect him. That’s short-lived ‘cause they are later attacked by a member of the cult as they try to drive to a safe location with William. Some mysterious thing happens later on when Scully races to the site of the downed spacecraft, and she finds all of the cult members burned to death and William unharmed and very much alive.

I’m skipping to the end of the series at this point, because it’s much easier to watch the whole season to try to make sense of the remaining storyline and the detailed and complex mytharc. Mulder comes out of his self-imposed hibernation and travels to a secret government facility, holding the secrets to the Super Soldier program. He later comes into mutual combat with Knowle Rohrer and allegedly “kills” him, but we all know how hard it is to kill the Super Soldier assholes. Captured and arrested by the military, Mulder is put on trial and has to fight for his very life ‘cause the military is out for blood. The coolest thing about this military tribunal is that we get to see some familiar faces return after having disappeared for a few seasons, including alien/human hybrid Gibson Praise, Marita Covarrubias, and Mulder’s half-brother Jeffrey Spender (!). They each give personal testimonies on Mulder’s character, along with Scully, Skinner, Reyes, and Doggett. In the end it all proves to be futile and it looks like Mulder’s doomed to certain death. But not all is lost! A surprise guest helps Mulder escape from the military installation that he’s being jailed at, and this person also helps him and Scully escape as they help Doggett and Reyes deal with the rest of the Super Soldier crap.

The end of the series has Mulder and Scully running away to start a new and hidden life, the X-Files being shut down (for the time being), and Doggett and Reyes off to new adventures. I remember watching the final episode, “The Truth,” and being pissed off by it when I finished viewing it. I felt like it was a huge letdown for longtime fans and left many plotlines to be left unfinished. I think I may have yelled out “Are you kidding me?!” after it ended, and my parents (I was living at home at the time) came into the living room to ask what had happened. Re-watching that final episode a few years later a few times has lessened the blow and I understand it a bit better, but there are so many ways that the show could have ended on a higher and better-written note. It’s not the worst episode of the series; it’s also not one of its most memorable ones.

Select “Monsters of the Week” from the ninth and final season: a dimensional-hopping murderer (“4-D”), a teenage fly-master (“Lord of the Flies”), and a memory-eater (“John Doe”), a Burt Reynolds appearance! (“Improbable”), nightmares coming into reality (“Scary Monsters”), and Bud Bundy vs. the Brady Bunch house (“Sunshine Days”).



Motion Picture Trailer

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

In 2008, the second feature film based on The X-Files was released to mixed reviews from both critics and fans. As a stand-alone film, it doesn’t tie-in with the main storyline of the series, which ended six years prior. Think of the film as a motion picture-length “Monster of the Week” episode, but with lots religious overtones and examinations of faith and belief in the extraordinary.

Several years after the end of the series, Mulder and Scully have both moved on from the FBI into new careers. Well…more like Scully, since Mulder is still in hiding from our shadow government baddies, aliens, and anyone else who is out for revenge or his death. While Mulder spends his days obsessing about conspiracies and hiding from the FBI, Scully is hard at work as a physician at a Catholic hospital who treats patients with all types of disorders. A classic X-Files case drops into the lap of the FBI, and they contact Scully about seeking her expertise in the matter, and asking her to convince Mulder to help them out as well. First they make the poor guy out to be crazy, then take away his years of work and service to the Bureau, and they ultimately fire him from the division he worked so long and obsessively over, solving cases no one else wants to touch.

After lots of reluctance on Mulder’s part, he and Scully head back to Washington D.C. to help the Special Agents assigned to the case: Amanda Pet and Alvin “Xzibit” Joiner (yes, the rapper!). These two mismatched actors (though I liked them in the movie) are like a newer version of Mulder and Scully, but with role reversals. Or Doggett and Reyes. Anyway, they make contact with a pedophile priest named Father Joe Crissman, who claims to have seen each of the abductions. He also has a connection with the person or persons responsible for the kidnappings, but it’s a bit confusing when they piece together the connection.

So why are these women being kidnapped? Oh, their organs and limbs are being harvested to keep a very wealthy man alive, who’s on some quest for immortality. Or something. Pretty much the main villains in the movie are this creepy wealthy guy who’s trying to graft his head onto a kidnapped woman’s body to prolong his life, and his lover is carrying out the abductions as well as stealing organs from numerous organ banks around their location. But I had an issue with the villains and our priest in general. Why? Father Joe is a pedophile, but he only abused altar boys. Of course. And the villains were former altar boys that he had abused, and they’re also gay lovers. And the kidnapping of women only to use for our main villain’s “transformation” is just… I don’t think Chris Carter meant to imply any homophobia or transphobia in relation to the villains and the pedophilic priest, but it felt like that, so I was a bit turned off by the story.

The movie itself isn’t the worst movie out there, but fan reaction to the film is very mixed – some fans really liked it as a stand-alone film, while others wished that it concentrated on the alien/shadow government mytharc that the show had concentrated on. I was beyond excited when I first heard about another X-Files movie being made, and my ex and two of our neighbors (also fellow fans) saw it on opening day. I enjoyed it at the time, but it hasn’t held up for me as much as the first film. The religious elements in the movie felt heavy-handed at times, and it seemed to focus a lot on Mulder and Scully’s relationship and everything else felt second to it.

What would’ve been a better “sequel” to the first film than I Want to Believe? A film about the alien colonists invading Earth, as they were supposed to back in December 2012, according to the mytharc of the TV show. The interest is there from fans who are hoping to see the invasion happen, but it’s up to 20th Century FOX to listen to the fans, Chris Carter, and the stars themselves – David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson – who all would like to see a third film.


The X-Files: Season 10 (Comic Series)

I am the worst fan ever. When I first heard that they were continuing the TV series in comic’s format, I was ecstatic. You think I’ve picked up any of those issues? Nope. As someone who hasn’t read them, I can’t really add a summary to this section just yet, but I promise to update it when I do start reading them and break down what Season Ten is all about, and how it continues from the end of the TV series.

You can still look at some of the cool cover art for a few of the issues below until I get to reading them:

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X-Files_Season_10_cover_artwork

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Thank you to all of the visitors and readers of this blog who took the time to read this latest section of my X-Files Retrospective. I hope you found it all interesting, informative, witty, funny, and somewhat understandable. I apologize if the summaries are a bit confusing, but as I first stated – it’s hard to really break down this series and explain it to non-fans who are new to it. It’s easiest to get a feel for the show by Netflixing all 202 episodes and doing your own binge-watch of it.

The X-FILES Retrospective (3) – Nine Seasons, Two Movies, and One Comic Series in Twenty-Four Minutes [Part 2/3]

Reposting this for a second time after my dumbass accidentally deleted it, here’s Part 2 of my massive summary breakdown of The X-Files. In this part I’ll be covering Seasons 5 through Seven, as well as the first feature film based on the series – The X-Files: fight the Future. The alien mythology the show has created and developed from the beginning gets more involved and stranger, we are introduced to two of the most annoying characters of the series, and the Monsters of the Week concept of stand-alone episodes if changed up. I hope you find this part interesting and get to read it before I accidentally delete it again. Come computer tech I am…



Season Five Promo

Season Five

The fifth season of The X-Files is quite different from the previous seasons for various reasons:

  • It introduces story elements that are explored further in the film The X-Files: Fight the Future, which came out after the season finished airing.
  • It has several humorous and oddball episodes that lighten the mood a bit. The past two seasons of the series had been pretty dark thematically with several deep and emotional story arcs.
  • Several major developments are revealed in the growing mytharc.
  • Three new characters are introduced who will make appearances in various episodes through the rest of the series.

At the end of Season Four, Scully was dying from her brain cancer and Mulder did something really, really insane – but only to prolong his life and find a possible treatment for Scully. Mulder infiltrates the Pentagon, which is housing the cure for the cancer, and he makes a shocking discovery about other cancer victims who are afflicted by the same malignant cancer as her. Mulder also has his faith in the extraterrestrial shakes by a man who works for the Pentagon, and this same gentleman becomes an informant for our agents. No, Marita has not died – he’s more of a neutrally-good informant who only seeks to help our agents out, but also breaks Mulder’s belief in extraterrestrials. Poor Mulder…

Scully is the one who discovers the Pentagon informant, Michael Kritschgau, after they played an almost deadly and extended version of cat-and-mouse. After she detains him, he begins to tell her an incredible tale involving the U.S. military kidnapping American citizens and experimenting on them for their own purposes. The chicken pox vaccine surveillance program that singled out Scully, Samantha Mulder, and countless others? Run by the military. But we all know there’s more to the conspiracy than just the military being the sole involved party *cough* aliens and the Syndicate *cough*.

With this new information about extraterrestrials, a new FBI agent named Jeffrey Spender, and an alien abductee who Mulder doubts (Jeffrey’s own mom), Mulder starts to question himself and the purpose of the X-Files existing in the first place. As Spender makes his move to take over the X-Files unit, a young boy named Gibson Praise enters the picture, and his abilities are the very validation that Mulder and Scully have been seeking for years to prove the existence of the paranormal and the extraterrestrial. Gibson’s quite an important person in the X-Files’ mytharc because he’s one of a very limited group of people: an alien-human hybrid. Fight the Future talks more about the alien-human hybrids.

The worst part of Season Five? The introduction of one of the most aggravating characters ever to appear in the series. Who is she? Special Agent Diana Fowley. What’s her purpose? To try and win Mulder’s heart back, re-join the X-Files, and be a future double-agent between the FBI and CSM. Oh, did you catch that part about her capturing Mulder’s heart? She used to be an old flame. Her introduction is one of the issues I have of the next season.

Select “Monsters of the Week” from the fifth season: friendly Frankenstein-ish creature (“The Post-Modern Prometheus”), murderous mind-bender returns (“Kitsunegari”), murderous doll controlling a little girl (“Chinga”), murderous artificial intelligence (“Kill Switch”), “vampires” (“Bad Blood”), and angel-human hybrids (“All Souls”).


 


Motion Picture Trailer

The X-Files: Fight the Future

The first feature film based on The X-Files is a really fun movie. Even if you’ve never seen a single episode of the series, it’s still quite an enjoyable film filled with action, suspense, conspiracies galore, and explosions. If you’re scared of bees, then you should probably skip this movie; they play a major part in it. The bees also ruin a moment that MSR’s (Mulder & Scully Relationshipper’s) had been waiting a long time for. Damn you, bees! *shaking fists*

If you are watching the series from the beginning and have seen Season Five, I highly recommend watching this film first before jumping into Season Six. A lot of the storylines won’t make sense until you watch the film first. As I’ve mentioned above, it’s a pretty cool flick and a favorite of mine. After viewing the film, then all of the crazy storylines that pop up in Season Six will make a bit more sense. Hopefully. ‘Cause I’m still confused by a lot of what happened in Season Six.

Our first introductory scene to the film is literally explosive: Mulder and Scully are investigating a possible bomb threat at a building in downtown Dallas, Texas. Annoyed by their present assignment, our agents are about to call it a day when Mulder accidentally stumbles upon a massive bomb while grabbing a drink from a vending machine-turned-explosive device. Yay Mulder? A fellow FBI agent with bomb-disarming skills is called in and he just stares at the device, spending the last few seconds of his life living with a very difficult decision. That decision? Allowing the device to explode anyway, covering up the existence of several bodies that were infected by the mysterious black oil that’s been a central part of the series from almost the beginning.

Throughout the course of the movie, Mulder and Scully try to gather more information about the bombing in Dallas while being thrown under the bus for not preventing it. The FBI LOVE going after our agents ’cause they’re good at their jobs and they don’t like it when they get clos to blowing their own secret covers. Our Syndicate friends also make a few appearances – some warning Mulder, while others plan his demise. Along with the extraterrestrial black oil, found in a previously undiscovered cave beneath a Dallas suburb, there’s also another carrier of the alien virus (though much deadlier): bees. Thousands and thousands of bees. Scully falls victim to one of these bees as she and Mulder come thisclose to having their first kiss (which would’ve been an epic moment for fans at the time).

Mulder seriously can’t catch a break. Between FBI interrogations from his superiors, dodging Syndicate members, alien colonists, and just about anyone who has a vendetta against him, the poor guy doesn’t have much time as he races to save Scully’s life. Scully’s been transported to a MASSIVE alien vessel beneath a huge ice shelf in the Arctic North. She’s lying in a creepy green transparent container in a comatose-like state as she and many other abductees are being prepared to be new hosts for the alien colonists to continue their experiments on creating more alien-human hybrids. Will Mulder be able to save her (again) and keep his job (again)? Is the truth still out there? (Answer: yes it is).

Bonus! Action Figure Pictures! A few years ago, when Kaybee Toys (remember them?) were going out-of-business, they had a massive liquidation sale at all of their locations. My mom used to take my siblings & me every few days to buy greatly discounted toys and action figures. I love collectibles and I used to have a decent and growing collection of figurines and action figures and other collectibles, but recently lost most of my collection. But I happened to have two of my four sets of action figures from Fight the Future, and the two I have are pictured below. Well, not my pictures, but those are the figures that I have. I have them hanging up on a wall in my bedroom because I’m one of those collectors that likes to keep them in their original packaging.

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Season Six Promo

Season Six

Season Six is a very mixed season for me, and I’m sure for a lot of fans too. For starters, it introduced a love triangle between Mulder, Scully, and Diana Fowley. Introduced at the end of Season Five, we learned a little about her past history with Mulder. The jealousy between the two ladies and the love triangle made the season drag on a little, and it also felt out of place. While some fans hated the introduction of Special Agents John Doggett and Monica Reyes during the eighth season, to me they were a million times better than the Annoying & Irritating Dynamic Duo of Jeffrey Spender (aka “Agent Whiny Man-Boy”) and Fowley (aka “Agent Jealous Ex”). There was still lots of great UST between Mulder and Scully, but seriously – really didn’t like her at all or Spender. But they each had their own parts to play in the conspiracy, with one personally involved and the other aligning herself with the man behind it all.

The show started to go downhill creatively a little bit, and there are various theories about that. The first five seasons had a great mix of both original mythology and Monster of the Week episodes, but they flowed well together. In Season Six, there was a move away from MotW episodes to a more standard storytelling format, with stand-alone episodes mixed in that had equal amounts humor and drama with a few oddball moments thrown in, but it didn’t feel as seamless as in previous seasons. That could be partially due to the show moving from its Canadian home in Vancouver, British Columbia to Los Angeles, California. If you’ve ever watched a TV show that showed lots and lots of forest scenery and a downtown area that filled in for any major U.S. city, there’s a high likelihood that it was shot in Vancouver. With the move to Los Angeles, that changed a lot as there were more on-location shoots at office buildings and residential areas, and there was a lot less rainy days – an atmospheric touch that I really liked about the first five seasons.

Season Six begins with Mulder and Scully being reassigned to other FBI divisions, denying them access to the X-Files. This makes it 3-4 times that they’ve been reassigned to different divisions before eventually returning the X-Files. Jeffrey Spender and Diana Fowley have been reassigned to the X-Files, and their main job is to try and deny the existence of the alien colonists, their bounty hunter adversaries, and the Syndicate. They are involved in several X-File cases, but they tried to look at them with rational approaches. But we all know that Mulder can’t leave his pride and joy alone in the hands of people trying to ruin the rest of his credibility, so we see him inserting himself into various cases – much to the chagrin of Spender.

Agent Spender’s mother, Cassandra, plays a large and pivotal role in Season Six.  An alien abductee introduced in Season Five, Cassandra plays a major part in the growing alien mythology. She meets with Mulder and Scully and claims that the alien colonists are getting ready to return to Earth and wipe out all existence. She’s also in tremendous danger because she also to be the first successful alien-human hybrid. Egads! The plot thickens! So, how are the alien colonists going to destroy humanity? The black oil is one of the substances that they are using to infect and kill all humans. Is there a way to prevent our race’s eventual destruction at the hands of the colonists? Our friends at the Syndicate have been trying to perfect a possible vaccine for themselves and their family members and other associates by injecting test subjects with the black oil and trying to find ways of ejecting it from their systems. Marita Covarrubias, Mulder’s informant and Syndicate darling, is used as one of the test subjects. The Syndicate is willing to experiment on their own to find a cure, which adds to the growing list of horrible things that they’ve done.

At the end of the season we have another major piece added to the alien mythology puzzle: an alien spacecraft recovered on the African coast with a strange language carved into the exterior of the spacecraft. What’s even stranger is that a simple etching of some of the characters causes Mulder to have massive headaches and his mental state to become quite unstable. What the hell is happening to him, and will Scully be able to figure out what the correlation is between the alien language and Mulder’s deteriorating condition is before he possibly dies? And will Diana Fowley back up and let Scully control the situation? Seriously – that woman is irritating. “I know what’s best for Mulder. I know Mulder. You’re killing Mulder. I still love Mulder.” If Mulder wasn’t on the first cart of the Crazy Train, he’d choose his partner Scully over Fowley any day.

Select “Monsters of the Week” from the sixth season: deadly experimental military signals (“Drive”), the Bermuda Triangle (“Triangle”), murderous Christmas spirits (“How the Ghosts Stole Christmas”), demon baby daddy (“Terms of Endearment”), a photographer who literally captures Death (“Tithonus”), sea-monsters (“Agua Mala”), escaped prisoner who can walk through solid matter (“Trevor”), and aliens playing baseball (“The Unnatural”).


 


Season Seven Promo

Season Seven

At the end of Season Six, one of the most curious and confusing plotlines introduced in the series involved a drawing of an alien language that has part of the story of our creation on it – the story of Genesis from the Bible. Why would aliens have such a popular and well-known chapter from the Bible written in an unknown language on their spaceship? ‘Cause they in fact are our creators (take that, Prometheus!). PLOT TWIST!!! Scully, our skeptic since the beginning of the show, traveled to Africa to investigate the strange markings on the exterior of the alien spacecraft half-buried in the sand off the African coast. Why would Scully travel halfway across the world to see the spacecraft in-person and to investigate the origins of something that she didn’t believe in for so long (aliens, not Christianity)? Because Mulder has dedicated his entire life to finding some evidence about the existence of extraterrestrials. He also desperately needs her help in surviving his current catatonic and psychotic state, caused by coming into contact with an etching of the markings from the spacecraft.

It turns out that the markings on the ship itself are a language that is known to us, but a few people outside of the culture that speaks it are familiar with it: Navajo. It is implied that the Navajo’s have been the first to really be in contact with the alien colonists, and every religion around the world is centered on that first contact. As Neo would say, “Whoa!” Why were the Navajo translation of the Book of Genesis causing such dire results in Mulder’s condition? From what I remember after watching this season several times and still trying to understand the overall storyline, it has something to do with Mulder being somewhat of an alien/human hybrid himself – I think. While Scully is trying to save Mulder from CSM and the Syndicate, his former lover Fowley is now aligned with CSM and is doing everything she can to pacify Mulder and keep him under CSM’s control, while also professing her love for him. Oh, honey – that ship sailed a looooooonnnnnnnnnggggggggg time ago. Fast-forward through more confusion and Mulder is eventually healed from his affliction. Yay!

While new storylines were introduced surrounding the alien mythology, there were other great mysteries that were eventually solved and those plots were put to rest. Since the beginning of the series, Mulder’s sister Samantha and her story was a major plotline that was repeated in several seasons with different results. We saw her as both an adult and child with her clone counterparts, we learned that CSM had adopted her after she was “returned” from abduction, and she later disappeared. So what in the heck really happened to Mulder’s sister? She was abducted for the umpteenth time, but this time by CSM. She lived on a military base for a few years with CSM and his son, Jeffrey Spender (plot twist!), against her will. She later died by supernatural causes. The best way to describe it are spirits who take children who are troubled or have had horrible situations that have happened to them that will be repeated for the rest of their lives. Samantha becomes one of the many children on this military base who becomes a “walk-in” spirit. Mulder is finally able to find some closure on his sister’s life after she was abducted, and as much as it pains him that she’s gone, he’s knows that she’s finally at peace.

What are the other loose ends of the alien mythology that are finished in Season Seven?

  • CSM recruits Alex Krycek and Marita Covarrubias in joining him in reforming the Syndicate and keeping the conspiracy alive.
  • Though I really disliked her, Diana Fowley really isn’t treated well at the beginning of the season. I won’t spoil what happens.
  • Jeffrey Spender is also treated like crap, thanks to his own dad.

Select “Monsters of the Week” from the seventh season: a sympathetic monster point-of-view/POV (“Hungry”), return of our murderous death fetishist (”Orison”), a COPS-inspired episode chasing after creatures (“X-Cops”), murderous computer games (“First Person Shooter”), hexcrafter/dark magic practioner (“Theef”), mutated tobacco beetles (“Brand X”), and a genie who grants unfortunate wishes (“Je Souhaite”).

The X-FILES Retrospective (2) – Nine Seasons, Two Movies, and One Comic Series in Twenty-Four Minutes [Part 1/3]

clip_image001.pngOne of the most famous intro credits in TV history, with an equally famous theme song.

SPOILER WARNING: There will be spoilery summaries of what each season is generally about, but I tried to keep the spoilers as minimal as possible. If you’re trying to keep yourself spoiler-free and virginal from knowing anything about the show, avert your eyes. If you’re curious about the show and want to have an idea of what each season covers, then please proceed ahead. This show may also cause lots of #feels and heavy fangirling/fanboying.

This past week The X-Files celebrated 21 years since it first premiered on our television screens on the FOX network (September 10, 1993). Yes – the show is that old. I’m still a huge fan years later, and I do a marathon re-watch of the entire series and the films once or twice a year. There are lots of passionate fans that love to convert their friends into newer fans of the series, and there are also fans like me that write retrospectives and really awesome & passionate essays of how much the show means to them.

The show is still seen as a major creative influence for future showrunners, and storytellers in general, who want to bring expansive and complex stories to television. TV viewers love cerebral storytelling (for the most part) and want to broaden their horizons past the standard fare that seems to be invading TV channels over the years. There’s so many crime (lawyer, police, forensic investigators), reality, and generic family and raunchy comedies that seem to be mirrors of each other, that’s it’s hard to differentiate between the shows. But there are also lots of great genre shows hitting the airwaves that are giving fans many options in diversifying their DVR schedules.

So, for those of you visiting this blog, raise your hand if you’re new to X-Files! Don’t be shy – we X-Philes are a very welcoming group of fans. The X-Files is a show that is still gaining new fans yearly as people discover it thanks to social media (sites like Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr), which was in its infancy and starting to grow when the show first premiered. For the youngsters in the crowd:  in the Internet Dark Ages, we had America Online (AOL) as one of our Internet Service Provider’s (ISP), and connecting to the Internet with a speed of 28K was a miracle. Oh, how I don’t miss dial-up and its many disadvantages. Full-content websites and webpages were coming to fruition, and we spent most of our time chatting with fellow fans through the AOL message boards or ICQ, or local conventions that were slowly cropping up in the early and mid-1990’s.

The X-Files was the first show to really utilize the Internet in sharing info about the show and bringing fans together. I remember reading and seeing some of the fansites in the early and mid-90’s and looking at various scans of magazine articles and newspaper clippings as my fellow X-Philes shared every bit of info about the show that they could. At one time I even ran an ancient fansite dedicated to episode reviews of The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer called Aliens in the Graveyard many moons ago. Oddly enough, I happened to run into those long-lost website files recently and it brought a smile to my face ‘cause that was the first time I actively participated in a fandom and shared my thoughts about it on a global scale.

X-Philes were also among the first to coin the words “relationshipper” and “’Shipper” to describe a fan who loves the relationship (canon or fanon – non-canon) between two or more characters. We also coined the term Unresolved Sexual Tension (UST) to describe that heavy sexual tension & attraction that can occur between two characters that shouldn’t be together, but we secretly wish that they were. For many of us, Mulder’ and Scully’s UST was so thick at times that a cold shower was almost always required immediately after each episode because it was that heavy. I admit that I wasn’t a fan of them getting together initially because I loved the UST between them, which was a very important part of the show for many years. Fans who were against them hooking up were dubbed “NoRomos” or “NoRomance.” Their partnership was perfect and they shared excellent chemistry with one another, but a romance would break up their friendship and that unique partnership that they had with each other, some would argue. Whether you were an MSR or NoRomo, we all shared in a common love for Mulder and Scully.

One of my favorite things about the show was how opposite in personality Mulder and Scully were to one another. Mulder was a true believer in all types of phenomena, yet he wasn’t particularly religious – I’d say agnostic, based on his many conversations with Scully about faith and religion in the series. Scully, on the opposite end, didn’t believe in extraordinary phenomena but was a religious believer – a Catholic scientist (she believes in evolution and is a pathologist/medical doctor). There were many cases were Mulder and Scully would passionately argue their stance on any of the phenomena that they encountered, but they tried to be open-minded too. This popular “Believer/Skeptic” combo is almost a requirement for every TV show since The X-Files first hit the air, and it works so well and is fun to watch.

Conclusion Time! To break down all nine seasons of the show in a non-fan friendly format is quite the daunting task, but like many others before me – I am definitely up to the task. Or about 75% prepared with some slight trepidation. The show is incredibly complex and detailed with its own immersive mythology arc (mytharc) that is played out through all of the seasons, as well as the two feature films that premiered in the middle of and at the end of the series. It’s better to sit down and invest many hours of binge-watching the series than have a fan like me describe it in so many words. While there were so many storylines launched in all nine seasons, I’ll be covering the gist of the vast shadow government / alien bounty hunters / alien colonists’ mytharc’s. There are also many stand-alone episodes that don’t contribute to the overall mythology. Many of the standalone episodes are amazing and have won many awards for the show, and they sometimes gives the viewer a break from all of the crazy storylines being thrown at you at once. The show was the first to coin the term Monster of the Week to describe that week’s stand-alone episode. This term is popularly used with many TV shows that have aired or are still airing when an episode has its own storyline separate from the main one.

While you’re reading through each of the season summaries, I’ve included some background music to properly set the mood. One of the most iconic theme songs of all-time, the X-Files theme was written by Mark Snow and was partially inspired by the Smiths’ song “How Soon Is Now?” It’s a surreal, ambient, mysterious, and dreamy piece of music that perfectly illustrates the overall feel of the show.

The original opening credits for the show featured just David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. In later seasons it would also include Mitch Pileggi, who played “Assistant Director Walter Skinner.” After David Duchovny left the show and returned for only a few episodes at the end of the series, the credits were changed to include Robert Patrick’s “Special Agent John Doggett” and Annabeth Gish’s “Special Agent Monica Reyes. Here’s a super-cut of all the opening credits, from the beginning to the end:


clip_image003_thumb.jpgThis opening screenshot welcomes you to one of the strangest trips ever. Welcome aboard!


Season One Promo

Season One

The Truth Is Out There.” This famous tagline perfectly describes The X-Files and the many cases that our heroes Fox Mulder and Dana Scully tried to and mostly successfully solved during the show’s nine season run. The show almost didn’t survive after its first season, but word-of-mouth support from fans helped generate the audience needed to keep it on the air. But even before Mulder & Scully were such a tight-knit duo (and eventual lovers), they were foes at one point.

At the beginning of the series, we see Gillian Anderson’s “Dana Scully” entering the FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and meeting with Section Chief Blevins on a new assignment. This assignment? To try and refute the work of Special Agent Fox Mulder, who runs an obscure division of the FBI called The X-Files. X-Files are cases that are largely left unsolved due to their unusual and unexplainable circumstances. Dana Scully – as a scientist and a skeptic who doesn’t believe in the paranormal or extraterrestrial phenomena – is the perfect person to use to try and end Mulder’s work through scientific methods to explain so-called “unexplainable phenomena.” But as Scully quickly learns, there’s more to the X-Files than she realizes, as well as a vast government conspiracy that’s trying to hide the existence of extraterrestrials from the general population.

Even for being an introduction into the show, the first season covers a lot of future plotlines and leaves you wanting more. Scully learns why Mulder is so obsessed with the X-Files, how far the government will go to cover up their secrets, and she will have her faith (as a scientist, a skeptic, and a religious woman) tested several times as she is involved in situations that she never imagined. Mulder eventually trusts Scully and includes her as an equal partner in the X-Files. He also learns a few hidden secrets about his family, and exposing the shadowy Syndicate that is behind a lot of the conspiracies can lead to the murder of those trying to expose them while working for them.

The first season of The X-Files is dramatic, intense, complex, and introduces the mythological arc that becomes the foundation of the series. FOX almost cancelled the series after the first few episodes aired because it was struggling to find an audience, and executives thought that the show was too complex and weird for viewers. Growing fan support helped stop it from reaching an early end. While this hasn’t always worked for such beloved cancelled series like Firefly, at least it shows that fans do have some power and can bring a show back to life or add an additional season.

Some of the Monsters of the Week from the first season are: creepy human liver eater Eugene Tooms (“Squeeze”), the Jersey Devil (“The Jersey Devil”), murderous artificial intelligence – A.I. (“Ghost in the Machine”), Cecil L’Ively (“Fire”), murderous glowing insects (“Darkness Falls”), reincarnated cop’s soul-in-a-little-girl (“Born Again”), and murderous Arctic parasites (“Ice”).


 


Season Two Promo

Season Two

At the end of the first season, the X-Files is shut down. Mulder and Scully were getting themselves involved with people and situations that were causing issues with members of the Syndicate, a shadowy group of individuals from different government branches around the world. The Syndicate has some association with aliens, and when Mulder and Scully threaten to expose the conspiracies that they created, they are immediately threatened with professional ruin and their very lives.

Season Two continues on in a frenetic pace that keeps viewers on their toes as they try to keep track of all the new informants, enemies, creatures, and conspiracies that are revealed. Shadowy government figures hate it when you try to expose their conspiracies to the world. Especially if one of the people trying to expose the truth is as headstrong and obsessed as Fox Mulder. At the beginning of the season, Mulder & Scully are forced apart and are reassigned – Scully to teaching at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Maryland, and Mulder on crappy surveillance gigs. When one of Mulder’s Senate contacts tells him about extraterrestrial signals being picked up at the famous Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico (birth country shout-out!), Mulder immediately travels to the site to investigate, without official FBI permission (of course). He only has so much time to gather as much data as possible before the government and military can track him down and kill him.

The FBI pairs up Mulder with a young agent named Alex Krycek, a fan-favorite anti-villain who secretly reports about Mulder’s action to the infamous Cigarette Smoking Man (CSM), the main villainous character in the series and a high-ranking member in the Syndicate. Krycek is a two-timing bastard who will switch sides to achieve his own personal goals, and he will screw over anyone to accomplish them. Along with dealing with a new partner, Mulder also learns more about his sister and has a surprise encounter with her, and she has quite the tale. As Mulder learns several shocking truth from her – about her abduction, a mysterious alien cloning project, and her own clones – he discovers a new and very powerful adversary who is very Terminator-like and tries to destroy the cloning project. The infamous alien bounty hunter is introduced in this season, and his purpose will be revealed later on, but he is part of a group of alien bounty hunters who oppose the alien colonists.

Agent Scully isn’t having the best season either. When she’s not teaching fresh-faced Academy recruits at Quantico, she’s being abducted; it’s a common theme for her and Mulder in the show. In the midst of all of the chaos with being taken off the X-Files and separated from Mulder, Scully is kidnapped by a broken & tormented escaped mental patient named Duane Berry (a former FBI Agent), who claims to have been abducted numerous times by aliens and experimented on. After Duane kidnaps her, she quickly discovers that the alien abductions are true as she is taken herself by a mysterious ship. Mulder goes on a desperate mission to find her. He also learns more about his sister Samantha’s abduction and a decades-old government conspiracy involved alien colonists and clones. But finding out the truth can be deadly…

Select “Monsters of the Week” from the second season: Flukeman! (“The Host”), deadly digital appliances (“Blood”), suspected Transylvanians (“3”), volcanic parasites (“Firewalker”), ghostly senior citizens (“Excelsis Dei”), creepy death fetishist (“Irresistible”), murderous circus sideshow act (“Humbug”), murderous shadows (“Soft Light”), and cannibalistic poultry workers (“Our Town”).


 


Season Three Promo

Season Three

This season delves into a darker theme (that will continue through the next few seasons) with a story-changing death that will shake up our agents, along with the ever-expanding alien conspiracy really starting to gain traction. Some of the best dramatic moments and stand-alone episodes are featured in this season, which also includes my favorite episode written by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan (“Pusher”). If you’re looking for some of the best hours of dramatic television ever, this is definitely a season that showcases many.

At the end of the last season, Mulder narrowly escaped death at the hands of the Cigarette Smoking Man and those that serve with & under him in the Syndicate, including our own military personnel. Mulder came into possession of very some dangerous and highly-classified information regarding the existence of aliens and the cataloging of many American citizens as part of a secret chicken pox vaccination program that features some familiar names in the massive collection of files. Mulder’s sister Samantha and Scully were two of the people singled out to be cataloged and introduced into a collaboration program between the Syndicate and the alien colonists. What was the purpose of the program? It involved cloning, the removal of all eggs from female hosts, and many other experiments carried out on innocent civilians who were abducted by the aliens. The Syndicate threw a lot of people under the bus to save themselves from a potential alien invasion that would wipe out all humanity – by sacrificing the family members that were singled out for experimentation and abduction. Mulder himself was originally chosen by his father (!) to be taken, but a last-minute switch made Samantha the target. Mulder’s father was part of the Syndicate but tried to find a way out of it. As we have learned continuously in the series, you can’t escape the fate you already made for yourself by aligning with people who have secret & deadly agendas for the human race.

It’s Scully’s turn to have a family member murdered (Mulder’s father was killed in Season Two) as her sister Melissa is mistakenly assassinated by a Syndicate gun-for-hire, who was sent to kill Scully. A huge blow to her, Scully is hell-bent on finding the man responsible for killing her, but in the middle of her search for the killer, she also learns some truths about her own abduction from a group of women she encounters who are “alien abduction survivors. Unfortunately, their numbers are dwindling because of a mysterious cancer that is afflicting them, and Scully could possibly suffer the same fate if a cure isn’t found soon. Scully has to deal with both the indifference and lack of movement on her sister’s murder (due to Syndicate interference in the FBI) and dealing with a health scare she was unprepared for. The man in the thick of it all, CSM (Cigarette Smoking Man), might have the answers that Mulder and Skinner need, but not without great personal sacrifices on their end.

Season Three also introduces one of the most visual and volatile pieces of the mytharc – the mysterious black oil that can infect any biological host (human or animal) who comes into contact with it. An alien parasitic substance, the oil is easily transferred from one host to the next and has survived for thousands and thousands of years. The black oil will make several appearances in the series, and it also has a larger role as a huge part of the storyline of the first X-Files film – The X-Files: Fight the Future.

Select “Monsters of the Week” from the third season: teen “Thunder God” (“D.P.O.”), fat-sucking Casanova (“2Shy”), phantom soldier (“The Walk”), human-devil hunting stigmatic’s (“Revelations”), murderous cockroaches (“War of the Coprophages”), arrogant jerk mindbender (“Pusher”), Canadian Nessie (“Quagmire”), and deadly subliminal messages (“Wetwired”).


 


Season Four Promo

Season Four

While Season Three has many outstanding episodes that really delved into the main conspiracy the series is revolved around, it’s Season Four where the show really shines with award-winning performances and writing. Season Four is also my favorite, narrowly beating out Season Three, for several reasons: the Monsters of the Week are at their creepiest, the drama is heightened to dangerous levels of potentially unstable fan emotions, and truly emotional and career-defining performances by David and Gillian. There’s so many memorable moments in this season that fans still talk about many of the episodes years later, and critics remember it as one of the best seasons of any television show.

The various mysterious informants who have helped Mulder and Scully during the first three seasons tend to suffer from a permanent & fatal condition called “Murdered by their Former Associates.” When our Syndicate jerks find out that they have people on the inside sharing info with Mulder and Scully, those characters usually don’t last long in the series. Cheers to you, Steven Williams (“X”), for surviving longer than Deep Throat in the first season! We’re introduced to our third informant in Season Four, and she’s got some mad government cred: she’s a liaison at the United Nations, working as the Special Representative to the Secretary General (SRSG). Marita Covarrubias makes several appearances in Season Four and sporadically through the rest of the series – sometimes at the most inopportune moments for our agents. She, like Krycek, is also a double-agent who works for the Syndicate. Yes – the group of really shady government officials and other important higher-ups who are trying to prevent alien colonization on our planet, and led and created by our “friend” CSM. She tends to help out agents more than hinder them, but she also her own agenda too. And like Krycek – her bosses’ sure love to screw with her often, and even use her in future experiments…

One of the most powerful story arc’s in Season Four is the escalation of Scully’s cancer, which has quickly progressed since she discovered she had it in the previous season. Scully starts to examine her own mortality and struggles with her inevitable death, after we discovered in Season Three the high mortality rate of the aggressive form of cancer that has struck her and other alien abductees. What she doesn’t realize is that her cancer is not of a wholly earthly origin, and Mulder and Skinner go to personal extremes to try to find a cure. One of them also sells their soul to CSM, who won’t let the person forget the huge debt they now owe to him for finding a cure to Scully’s terminal cancer.

Another key visual piece of the ever-expanding conspiracy is also introduced in the form of a critter that most people fear it’s somewhat painful sting (unless you’re allergic to them, then it’s much worse): the alien virus-infected killer bee. First seen in several pivotal scenes in the opening episode “Herrenvolk,” the bees make several appearances throughout the series and also play a major role in the first feature film, along with the black oil. The bees can instantly infect and kill a human in seconds, but they also have another fatal purpose – to kill the alien bounty hunters who have been hunting down alien colonists, clones, and alien/human hybrids. The alien-ized killer bees are just one of the methods that can be used to kill the bounty hunters; they can also be killed by being ice-picked in the back of the skull, at the top of their spine. Of course, the attacker has to quickly step away after death, because they emit a very deadly toxic agent that’s carried in their blood. Think of the acidic blood of the Xenomorph’s from the Alien movies.

Select “Monsters of the Week” from the fourth season: the ‘infamous’ inbred members of the Peacock family (“Home”), black magic-practicing plastic surgeons (“Sanguinarium”), the Chupacabra! (“El Mundo Gira”), cancer-eating man who can regrow limbs – and his own head (“Leonard Betts”), murderous tattoo ink (“Never Again”), and a futuristic senior citizen killer (“Synchrony”).

Happy 17th Birthday to “Welcome to the Hellmouth!”– Buffy’s 1st Episode + Links to My Ongoing Retrospective

Wow – has it really been 17 years since the premiere of the television version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? *clutches chest* I may be in my early-30’s, but that still makes me feel quite old. According to my calculations, I was 15-going-on-16 when “Welcome to the Hellmouth” first aired. *clutches chest again* For many people of my generation, Buffy was our show. It spoke to us about our high school and teenage experiences that other shows really hadn’t up until that point (though My So-Called Life and Daria are two other excellent examples of my generation). High school could literally be Hell at times, though I doubt most high schools didn’t reside over Hellmouths, though I question my former high school at times…

Sure, there were many supernatural elements in the show, but to associate the supernatural with real-life events really made the show unique, as well as strong, well-written characters and many amazing moments that caused us to laugh, cry, shout, shake our fists at, and bond over. As I’ve gone over in my retrospective posts, which are all conveniently listed below, there are some moments that really speak to us as viewers. To this day, most of the episodes hold up pretty well and some not-so-much. But even the worst episodes are quite enjoyable and fun to re-watch with fans old and new.

I salute you, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, on such a major accomplishment and still being a fan-favorite after all of these years. If you still have time in your timezones, throw on “Welcome to the Hellmouth” and enjoy the trip down 1990’s TV nostalgia. There is a Slayer born into every generation, and that Slayer is Buffy Summers. The woman deserves as much recognition that we can give her – let’s pay tribute by binge-watching all seven seasons. Well, if you can work them around your Real Life and work schedules.

Slightly Funny Side-note: Today is also my boss’ birthday. How coincidental. She’s kickass like Buffy, but without the stakes or vampires to fight.

shs1

(01) A 15-Year Retrospective On The “Girl With A Stake Who Saved The World (Again)”

https://geekyvoyage.com/2012/05/01/an-early-10-year-retrospective-on-the-girl-with-a-stake-who-saved-the-world-again/

(02) Seven Seasons Reduced to Fourteen Minutes

https://geekyvoyage.wordpress.com/2012/07/27/btvs-retrospective-part-two-seven-seasons-reduced-to-fourteen-minutes/

(03) And These Are A Few Of My (Most) Favorite Scenes – Part One

https://geekyvoyage.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/buffy-retrospective-and-these-are-a-few-of-my-favorite-scenes-part-one/

(04) And These Are A Few Of My (Most) Favorite Scenes – Part Two

https://geekyvoyage.wordpress.com/2012/08/18/buffy-retrospective-and-these-are-a-few-of-my-most-favorite-scenes-part-two/

(05) Full Season Pick-Up (Favorite Episodes – Part 1 of 3 – Seasons One-Two)

https://geekyvoyage.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-retrospective-full-season-pick-up-favorite-episodes-a-few-extra-part-1-of-3/

(06) Full Season Pick-Up (Favorite Episodes – Part 2 of 3 – Season Three)

https://geekyvoyage.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-retrospective-6-full-season-pick-up-favorite-episodes-a-few-extra-part-2-of-3/

(07) Full Season Pick-Up (Favorite Episodes – Part 2 of 3 – Season Four)

https://geekyvoyage.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-retrospective-7-full-season-pick-up-favorite-episodes-part-2-of-3-season-four/

(08) Full Season Pick-Up (Favorite Episodes – Part 3 of 3 – Seasons Five-Six)

https://geekyvoyage.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-retrospective-8-full-season-pick-up-favorite-episodes-part-3-of-3-seasons-five-six/

(09) Full Season Pick-Up (Favorite Episodes – Part 3 of 3 – Season Seven)

https://geekyvoyage.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-retrospective-9-full-season-pick-up-favorite-episodes-part-3-of-3-season-seven/

(10) The Characters, Part 1 – Favorite Character (Always “Five By Five”)

https://geekyvoyage.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-retrospective-10-the-characters-part-1-favorite-character-always-five-by-five/

(11) They Will Always Save Us [Team Slayer] – Part 2

https://geekyvoyage.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/uffy-the-vampire-slayer-retrospective-11-they-will-always-save-us-team-slayer/

(12) They Will Try To Destroy Us [Team Evil] – Part 3

https://geekyvoyage.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-retrospective-12-they-will-try-to-destroy-us-team-evil/