X-Files have been shut down, and Agents Mulder and Scully
have been given separate assignments. But strange circumstances,
and a mysterious new informant called X, ensure that their
quest for the truth cannot be silenced so easily...
been granted a second season, the producers of The X-Files
found they had a couple of problems. At the end of the previous
season, Mulder's paranormal investigations had been forcibly
terminated, while in real life Gillian Anderson was now heavily
pregnant. Thus the early episodes of Season Two struggle,
with varying degrees of success, to re-establish and ultimately
re-open the X-Files, while also attempting to work around
the attempts to conceal the actress's condition are, in retrospect,
extremely noticeable, the need to write her out of the show
while she gave birth led to the series' first multi-part story,
Duane Barry/Ascension, in which Scully is abducted.
The enforced reduction of Anderson's screen time also meant
larger roles for William B. Davis as the Cigarette-Smoking
Man and Mitch Pileggi as Assistant Director Skinner, as well
as the introduction of Alex Krycek, played by Nicholas Lea,
whose role provided one of biggest surprises of the entire
season. The broadening of the show's central concepts coincided
with a creative drive toward more cohesion and consistency
among the "mythology" episodes. Hence the toxic, green blood
of the human-alien hybrids in the two-part Colony/End Game
deliberately harks back the previous year's The Erlenmeyer
the show became more confident, it began to paint in bolder
strokes. Much of the first season's vagueness about the possibility
of extra-terrestrial visitations was dispensed with. Little
Green Men offers us living, breathing aliens, while Duane
Barry also vividly depicts their spacecraft. Little
Green Men also re-enacts, and thus effectively makes more
"real", Mulder's recollection of his sister's abduction. (The
"reality" of such matters would, of course, be questioned
in later seasons, but that's another story.)
Season Two also pushes the show's boundaries in terms of horror.
The gore just gets nastier in episodes such as The Host,
a gruesome variation on Season One's Eugene Tooms episodes,
and F. Emasculata with its plentiful popping pustules.
The terror is decidedly less fantastical in Irresistible,
an episode that stands out as a psychological thriller in
its own right, and which inspired Chris Carter to create his
second Fox TV series, Millennium.
highlights include Aubrey, the witchcraft-themed Die
Hand Die Verletzt and the Exorcist-inspired The
Calusari, all three of which contain brilliantly engineered
twists and deceptions regarding the true identity of their
respective villains. The wonderfully offbeat Humbug
is conspicuous as The X-Files' first overtly comedic
episode, setting a pattern that the series would increasingly
rely upon, though rarely render so exquisitely, in later years.
the weaker entries, Firewalker is okay, but its "deadly
life form from the dawn of time" means that this episode is
too much like Ice or Darkness Falls but in a
different environment. Dod Kalm, an obvious rip-off
of the Deadly Years type of Star Trek episode,
isn't bad, but the solution to Mulder and Scully's condition
seems far too quick and easy - just like in The Deadly
Years, in fact! Little Green Men contains many
powerful images, but the script is rather too muddled and
confusing to make an effective season opener. The real dud,
however, is Fearful Symmetry - okay, so aliens might
wish to abduct zoo animals, but why do the creatures become
invisible when returned to Earth?
with the first season DVD set, this collection contains a
new 15-minute The Truth Behind... documentary, 12 brief
Chris Carter interviews (originally seen in the VHS box set),
nine Behind the Truth spots from the Fox network, a
DVD-ROM game, foreign language clips aplenty, and TV trailers
for each episode. The trailers for Dod Kalm are noteworthy
for giving the game away regarding the cause of the Agents'
apparent ageing in that episode (i.e. it's not due to a time
Season Two box contains a wider selection of behind-the-scenes
clips (from End Game, Humbug and Anasazi)
and deleted scenes (from Sleepless, 3, Humbug
and Anasazi). The branching versions of episodes,
incorporating the deleted scenes, are more user-friendly than
those in the Season One box... with the exception of Sleepless.
Due surely to an oversight, the deleted scene from this particular
episode, featuring Natalija Nogulich (alias Admiral Nechayev
in Star Trek: The Next Generation) as the original
choice to play X, cannot be accessed while watching Sleepless.
Even more annoying, we don't get to hear Nogulich's delivery
of dialogue because of a non-optional commentary by Producer
the whole, though, this package is at least as attractive
as the first season box.
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