Does FBI stand for Federal Bureau of Imagination?

The X-Files The Mythology Arc: The Truth is Ranked   The X-Files’ mythology arc is generally seen as a model of what not to do when constructing an ongoing TV narrative. The basic precept of making it up as you go along was followed by far too many subsequent shows, particularly in the SF/fantasy arena, dangling the carrot of an inscrutable mystery. Whether it was Battlestar Galactica or Lost – Damon Lindelof had the cheek to claim the ending was how it was devised from the start; if so, that’s much, much worse – hyped-up shows either didn’t stick the

If you have no reason to doubt the man, why doubt the man’s visions?

The X-Files I Want to Believe (2008)   (Director’s Cut) This is such a profoundly odd choice for a big-screen take on the The X-Files, almost as if Chris Carter was doing penance for the empty vessel that was Fight the Future by reversing full speed in the opposite direction. That, or he’d been told to make damn sure there’d be no chance of an alien invasion-2012 third movie. You want difficult, gnarly subject matter? What’s that? You don’t? Tough. I’m giving you (heroic) paedophile priests and grisly organ transplants. Scratch that, not just organ transplants: head transplants! You want

They can’t try me without exposing themselves.

The X-Files 9.19/20: The Truth   And that’s it. In my memory, the god-honest is that The Truth is a protracted Mulder-on-trial episode rehearsing a potted history of bewildering myth-arc X-lore that is no more digestible for the attempts to string it together in vaguely linear fashion. But that part really amounts to about thirty of the ninety minutes. It’s risible too, but in that respect, it’s a good fit for the rest of the episode(s). Carter just wanted to get shot of the thing at this point, didn’t he? Everything about the series finale is tired and predictable. It’s

Get away from the crib!

The X-Files 9.16: William   William is generally regarded as one of the better Season 9 arc episodes, in part thanks to the generally golden touch of David Duchovny as director. Unfortunately, it’s every bit as guilty of the season’s failings as previous Scully and bibbee exercises, the only upside being that we’re finally shot of the little urchin at the end. Well, at least until Season 11. Perhaps most pertinent at this point is that the show has so far strayed from anything remotely intangibly tangible and enticing in terms of the truth being out there as to render

It’s so incredible, but your son will lead this alien race.

The X-Files 9.10: Providence   A holding pattern for exasperation and ineptitude here. Carter directs too, so there’s at least some unity on that paucity front. In any other context, the transhumanist saviours might be quite interesting, but Josepho (Denis Forest) is such an underpowered grab bag that he simply underlines this two-parter’s more prolific failings. Josepho: God gave me a vision. The prologue serves the idea on a platter, whereby Josepho saw “angels… from heaven” in the first Iraq War (1991). It’s an okay-to-middling notion, but Carter visualises it in moribund fashion (Shearman thinks he directs it “very well”.

There is no middle of nowhere anymore, Agent Scully.

The X-Files 9.6: Trust No 1 I mentioned the adverse effects of magnets on the super soldiers under 9.1, although it’s here that we get to see them take effect. As I noted, it put me in mind of some of the reported magnetic properties of the killer vaccine. Here, the convenient and absurd design flaw is cheesy to say the least. That isn’t the worst of Trust No 1’s issues, though, since it revolves around one of my least favourite devices: the absent star player “featuring” as if they were still an active part of the proceedings. This is

I’m a bioengineered combat unit.

The X-Files 9.2: Nothing Important Happened Today II   And Part 2 continues to sustain interest. There’s some murkiness to Sharon’s motivation that’s never fully resolved, largely because Lucy Lawless became preggers and had to opt out of further returns. Or it was a balls up. If I’m going to be generous, I’ll suggest her super soldier isn’t the same as Billy Miles’, being as she and Knowle are prototypes, and she retains some individuality. Or she’s just pretending to display humanity. Certainly, she doesn’t come across in a T-1000 way (well, aside from knocking Rohr’s head off). Scully: Chloramine is

Nothing hinky in these files except for some rabid obsession with water.

The X-Files 9.1: Nothing Important Happened Today   I said this of Season 8 and its super soldiers, but for all the failings of the new myth-arc, I’m just glad it’s doing something different, and told with some pace and urgency. The Season 9 opener(s) isn’t, I get the impression, the most popular of beasts, somewhere between being despised for no longer featuring Mulder and decried as including a not-up-to-snuff central conceit. My salient objection is that Scully’s presence in the show is now an active dead weight around its neck, and The X-Files would be far better served simply

There was a light. I followed it.

The X-Files 8.21: Existence   Existence is pretty much the same again, a case of aggravating motivations but frequently riveting dramatics. Doggett is at his densest when it comes to Knowle Rohrer, whom he knows has deceived him and yet is unwilling to state as much to Mulder. Meanwhile, I’m beginning to appreciate fans’ beef with Reyes. It isn’t remotely Gish’s performance, but she’s written as such a flake. And a vague flake at that, Carter seeming to think non-specific, not-quite psychic vibes are some kind of peg for a character. And then there’s the episode ending. So what is

They’re afraid of its implications. That it could somehow be greater than them.

The X-Files 8.20: Essence   While the season’s two-part finale is replete with characteristic bugbears – usually of characters behaving in characteristically dim-watt ways – its saving grace is that it moves at a clip, such that even the somewhat daft premise of all this, and where we’ve got to – the aliens/super soldiers want Scully’s baby! – avoids miring itself in ponderousness. Were these episodes swathed in ruminative voiceovers mulling the meaning of it all (we only get Mulder on the miracle of life), I suspect they’d be unbearable. Generally, though, I’m mildly on board with the sub-Terminator dramatics