As I have been diligently working my way through my Netflix queue week after week, I have come to the startling realization that I do not have significantly fewer titles in my list (I wanted to use the word “queue” here, but already used it in the sentence. Overusing a word is one of my weird writing pet peeves). In a rare introspective moment, I tried to understand why, over seven months, I have barely even made a dent in my shows (still wanted to use “queue”–damn you, you seductively perfect word). While the constant stream of releases to DVD and instant streaming is to blame for about 70% of my problem, I may have stumbled upon a personal quirk that accounts for an estimated 20% of my titles. I will be honest here, the remaining 10% is just crap (also, I feel very parenthetical today. (deal with it)). Crap, I am so tangential today—what am I, a geometry equation? (Eat it, Euclid).
OK, back to the queue. After a good deal of thought, I realized that I have issues walking away from a series (usually ANY series) once I start it. I finished all the Harry Potter books. I compulsively watch TV shows—even after only viewing an episode and while only remotely interested in the subject (this explains the majority of reality TV I see). Don’t get me started on The Sword of Truth or The Wheel of Time books—I think I spent a few months plowing through the several thousand pages of those tomes. And when I finish one season of a television show, I have to dive in to the subsequent one (or add it to my queue—enough time has passed to say this, right?). Now that I have started several shows, I am up to my neck in follow-up seasons and spin-off shows. I get hooked.
I had been working my way through The X-Files ravenously. However, with only three episodes left of season 3, I mysteriously took a break (that should probably warrant an X-Files-esque investigation in and of itself). For equally cryptic reasons, I decided to finish season 3 this week. Needless to say, I am now a few shows into season 4. Stupid ending the season on a cliffhanger. I need answers!
In the third season, like the previous two, FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) try to solve unusual cases—typically involving aliens, paranormal activity, folklore, cryptozoology, or just effed up people. Before applying for this dream job, take note that during each case at least one of the duo faces death, injury, or captivity. I really hope they have awesome benefits.
Admittedly, I am still having a blast watching The X-Files. Yes, it’s mildly cheesy (as most things from the 90s appear to us today), but it’s good cheesy. And it is formulaic, but the formula works. Scully and Mulder take a case. Scully says there is a perfectly logical reason for some unexplained event. Mulder will suggest some crazy explanation (so, you are saying the demonic alien spoons are revolting against the forks and that’s what wiped out the city? Okey dokey). The two banter for a bit, while running with their guns at ready. Mulder says something either (a) smart alecky, (b) slightly perverted, (c ) bat-crap crazy, or (d) all of the above. One of the two (usually Scully) will be in danger while the other (usually Mulder), swoops in at the last possible second to the rescue (seriously, is he just waiting outside until she about gets offed each time? That’s sick, Mulder. Sick). And, finally, the day is saved. Scully writes something a bit more philosophical and poetic in her report than I am sure most FBI agents would write (she probably watched a LOT of Doogie Howser, M.D.). End credits.
Although I am absolutely hooked on the series, a few things irritated me a bit about the third season. Most notably, some of the writing seemed a little off this time around. For example, I was really annoyed how they wrote dialogue for the Native American narrator. Instead of calling Mulder by name, the narrator calls him “the FBI man.” I found this both strange and insulting. Wouldn’t this man know Mulder by name since he nursed him back to health, became Mulder’s informant on top secret government activities, and worked as a translator for Scully and Mulder? Perhaps the two were never introduced and they entered into that awkward phase where too much time has passed to ask for the other’s name. Maybe I am overly sensitive, but I found this offensive. Not cool, X-Files. Since I am talking about the writing, I should point out one of my favorite lines from this season: “He’s afraid…That he doesn’t know that he didn’t do it.” Brilliant and clear. Thanks.
However, aside from me picking apart a few tiny details, The X-Files made me want to believe. I love watching this series and seeing who pops up in episodes. It’s like a combination of a “Who’s Who in Hollywood” and “This is Your Life” to see which random stars appear in bit parts (Ryan Reynolds, Giovanni Ribisi, and Jack Black just to name a few). It’s just an added layer of fun to an already entertaining show. I would totally recommend checking out (or revisiting) this show if, but for no other reason, nostalgia’s sake. Damn. Now I really want to watch Doogie Howser. I blame Scully.
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