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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Were the X-Files good science fiction? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Were the X-Files good science fiction?
Dan M.
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And furthermore why don't we have good sci-fi on TV? (I'm sorry I can't watch anything on the sci-fi channel without laughing uncontrollably; BG is the exception to that rule)

I started renting the X-Files off netflix and I love them. I'm up to the 4th season and I really enjoy the way each episode makes you think. But, since I've never seen much Sci-fi and I want to start getting into the genre, I'm wondering if this is good, bad, great, or mediocre sci-fi.

PS- If you know any good sci-fi I'd love to read it/watch it.

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Valentine014
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Hello, Dan. Welcome to 'Rack.

Listen very carefully.

Firefly.

That is all.

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Launchywiggin
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I loved the X-files, and therefore, I say it is good.

My favorite sci-fi shows are Cowboy Bebop and Firefly.

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quidscribis
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quote:
I'm sorry I can't watch anything on the sci-fi channel without laughing uncontrollably; BG is the exception to that rule
Yeah, BG makes me wanna kill people, too. [Razz]
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Dan M.
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I loved Cowboy Bebop and saw Serenity when it was in theaters. I thought it was pretty good and I'll check it out once I'm through the X-Files.
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T_Smith
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Firefly is more than worth it.

X-Files I consider kind of hit and miss Sci-Fi. I mean, when it's good, it's great, and when it's not, it hurts your brain.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I'm sorry I can't watch anything on the sci-fi channel without laughing uncontrollably; BG is the exception to that rule
Their Dune and Children of Dune mini-series were quite good.

I have never understood why people liked X-Files so much.

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ricree101
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quote:
Originally posted by T_Smith:

X-Files I consider kind of hit and miss Sci-Fi. I mean, when it's good, it's great, and when it's not, it hurts your brain.

Agreed. It had some great episodes, but a lot of the time the show just didn't do much for me.

Really, the storyline they were trying to tell could have been done in half the time. I understand that they were being purposely slow, but it was just downright painful sometimes. Wanting to tell the story at your own pace is one thing. Doing little more than hinting at the story is completely different.

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Dan M.
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:


I have never understood why people liked X-Files so much.

We like the feeling that the government knows what its doing.

Or, I think of it like a gateway drug. It gets people looking for another hour long crime drama to watch some sci-fi and get hooked on the genre. People like myself for instance.

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JumboWumbo
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I don't watch much television. If you haven't read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it's a must read. I'm reading it right now(about 170 pages in) and I must say that it's quite a piece of literature. It's funny and radically witty, unlike anything I've read prior.
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Occasional
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It was not very good sci-fi, but it was great drama. That is especially the case for those who like a good conspiracy or supernatural story. It was hit or miss, but because the hits were so good I pretty much let them miss every now and then. Then there was Scully . . . brains and down to earth bueaty.

Other shows I like, or liked, on sci-fi channel besides BSG:

Farscape

Both Stargates (for the fun)

The Dune Miniseries

Dr. Who

Ghost Hunters (love a good ghost story)

Eurika (about two good eps, but marginal viewing. It has potential if it finds a stride)

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Valentine014
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The Dune movies were for the fans. X-Files is good sci-fi, with the exception of the alien episodes. I enjoyed the rest of them. The alien ones got really weird. The Sci-Fi Channel used to be good. Now it really is laughable. They play the cheesiest B movies in history. I'm also a Star Trek: TNG, DS9, and Voyager fan (in that order).
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lem
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I LOVED their Earthsea mini series

*beat*

Just kidding! [Taunt]

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B34N
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I would have to say yes it qualifies as a genuine scifi series/show. [Big Grin]
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Puffy Treat
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I wouldn't call X-Files an SF show. I recall that Angels, Djinni, Werewolves, Vampires, and other non-SF things showed up more than once. [Wink]
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A Rat Named Dog
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The X-Files definitely positioned itself as a sci-fi show. It seemed like there was an undercurrent running through all the mystical stuff that sort of hinted that these fantastical things that happened had a rational explanation — simply one that modern science isn't yet prepared to explain. Whether or not that explanation is actually made available in each episode is irrelevant. It's the attitude of the show, I think, that makes the difference between sci-fi and fantasy.

Was The X-Files "good science fiction"? Depends on your definition of "good science fiction", I guess. Through the part of its run that I watched, it was a very good show (though I've heard it dropped off in quality later), and for the reasons stated above, I categorize it as science fiction, so yes, I'd call it "good science fiction".

However, some people have very narrow definitions of what science fiction "should" be, and will disqualify shows that have inaccurate or incomplete science, for instance, or a focus on "soft" sciences, or simply a character story set in a futuristic world, without strange science or technology driving the plot. So I could see people feeling perfectly justified in denying the title to The X-Files.

But I don't. I liked them. A lot.

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blacwolve
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Babylon 5

Has anyone seen Jeremiah or Dark Angel? I'm trying to decide if they're worth Netflixing.

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B34N
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quote:
Originally posted by Puffy Treat:
I wouldn't call X-Files an SF show. I recall that Angels, Djinni, Werewolves, Vampires, and other non-SF things showed up more than once. [Wink]

True. But you have to admit that their was more about aliens in the series/movie than anything else. At least that's what I predominently remember about the show. Been a long time since I have seen an episode so I'm not really an expert on the matter either.

I always considered shows that had fantastical elements (vampires, werewolves and what not) to be in the scifi genre. But now days you see more of these films/shows than scifi so it has definitely spawned its own genre.

That being said would Eureka fall into the fantasy or scifi genre???

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Earendil18
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I saw little of X-files but what I did see happened to be exactly like what people here have already stated.

It was hit or miss in terms of quality, but overall it was always something interesting.

2nd Firefly plug
BG is great, but they need to stop talking already. [Wink]

I also raise my glass to whoever stated that, barring BG, SciFi channel shows were laughable.

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AvidReader
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quote:
Has anyone seen Jeremiah or Dark Angel? I'm trying to decide if they're worth Netflixing.
I've seen Dark Angel and enjoy it as some good fun. Like the X Files, they toss in some supernatural with their sci-fi, but they treat it from a science-y perspective.

Jessica Alba makes a great cat burgler, Michael Whetherby is adorable, and the amoral kids looking to fit in the world somewhere is a classic of the genre. Feel alienated and lonely? Here's a show about people just like that but with cool powers!

Basic synopsis is that Max is a genetically engineered super soldier living in post-apocalyptic America. She's searching for her brothers and sisters from the program, and most of the time, they're pretty messed up people. The show managed some surprising character depth.

I vote for Netflixing it. It only lasted two seasons, so it'll be fairly quick to get through. (Post 9/11, the concept didn't go over as well. Hence the focus on the animal people over the destruction of society in season 2.)

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Chris Bridges
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I loved X-Files till about the 4th season, when the actors started getting antsy about movie roles and the conspiracy arcs took over from the other stories. And the 3rd season has some of my favorite episodes of any television series, ever.

To quote Spider Robinson, "I would say that 'Firefly' was my alltime second favorite SF TV series ever, right behind 'The West Wing.'"

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mackillian
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I spent the last two seasons of the x-files waiting for Dogget to hold out a photo and ask, "Have you seen this boy?"

Never happened. [Mad]

And I loved, and still love, the x-files.

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Puffy Treat
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The Doggett episodes themselves "never happened".

Never, do you hear me?

NEVER! [Wall Bash]

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Bella Bee
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Oh, I quite liked Doggett. That character was the only reason I actually could bear to watch the travesty this once brilliant series had become.

It was Scully...

SPOILER - although if you haven't seen it by now, you probably never will...

...giving her superbaby away, that really made me mad.
That and the travesty of what they did to the Lone Gunmen(I refuse to believe that it happened!).

Actually, thinking it over, the fact that I had to sit through all that is totally Doggett's fault. Darn Doggett. [No No]

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Amanecer
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quote:
I've seen Dark Angel and enjoy it as some good fun. Like the X Files, they toss in some supernatural with their sci-fi, but they treat it from a science-y perspective.

Jessica Alba makes a great cat burgler, Michael Whetherby is adorable, and the amoral kids looking to fit in the world somewhere is a classic of the genre. Feel alienated and lonely? Here's a show about people just like that but with cool powers!

I watched it when it was on and I liked the first season but didn't care for the second very much. I wouldn't consider it good, but it's pretty decent in the "silly fun" television category.
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Shan
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quote:
Then there was Scully . . . brains and down to earth bueaty.

LOL. Well, since you said it first, I can say it about Fox. First well-dressed, fully employed man with a decent haircut to turn me on. [Big Grin] The storylines weren't bad, either. *laughs some more*

I always thought the best ever episode was the wacky one about loggers discovering these weird bugs when they were cutting down the old growth forests in Wenatchee, WA.

The last scene (after seeing Moldur and Scully being brought back from near-death yet again, cocooned in these bizarre bugs' sticky webs) was Wenatchee National Forest being burnt down to get rid of the creepy bugs.

As reality would have it, Wenatchee National Forest WAS burning with forest fires. It was on the news that night, right after the X-Files. Creepy freaking timing.

I slept with my nightlight on for quite some time after that.

*shudders*

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ketchupqueen
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Shan, that is the one episode that my mom absolutely cannot stand. Gave her nightmares.

I think Dark Angel is much better when you watch it in order start to finish. Not great, but as some have said, definitely fun. And Michael Weatherby is indeed hawt. He is one of my Top Three Reasons to Watch NCIS. [Big Grin]

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AvidReader
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Oh no. Best X Files ep ever was the trailer park vampires. Scully and Mulder each get a chance to tell the story their way.

In Scully's, Mulder is over-enthusiastic and she's the voice of reason. In his, she's whiney while he calmly presents his evidence. The sheriff is hot in her version and dumb with buckteeth in his. It was the details that really made it work.

Easily my favorite episode followed closely by the one where the Lone Gunmen tell us the story of the Cigarette Smoking Man.

I'm so sad about the number of questions I still have about that show. I might have to check Wiki and see if they ever answered any of them.

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Shan
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KQ -- I do not blame your mom in the least. I moved the night light to ensure that both Nathan and I were fully surrounded by the glow. The timing couldn't have been better for the producer, I swear . . . which is what made it the "best" episode ever . . . I'm sure there are others that were artistically and story-line-wise much better, but that is oen of them that has stuck over the years. *shudders again*
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Synesthesia
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I loved Xfiles
But they should have ended it with the 5th season.
If you pretend the other seasons don't exist, it's a lot better.

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Bella Bee
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So true. With the movie, everything went downhill.
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Kacie_lala33
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Oh! I love the Xfiles. My mom and Step Dad bought all of the seasons as a "Christmas Present" for eachother, because they were obsessed from the beginning.

We have been watching 4 episodes every night since christmas.. !

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graywolfe
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quote:
Originally posted by Shan:
quote:
Then there was Scully . . . brains and down to earth bueaty.

LOL. Well, since you said it first, I can say it about Fox. First well-dressed, fully employed man with a decent haircut to turn me on. [Big Grin] The storylines weren't bad, either. *laughs some more*

I always thought the best ever episode was the wacky one about loggers discovering these weird bugs when they were cutting down the old growth forests in Wenatchee, WA.

The last scene (after seeing Moldur and Scully being brought back from near-death yet again, cocooned in these bizarre bugs' sticky webs) was Wenatchee National Forest being burnt down to get rid of the creepy bugs.

As reality would have it, Wenatchee National Forest WAS burning with forest fires. It was on the news that night, right after the X-Files. Creepy freaking timing.

I slept with my nightlight on for quite some time after that.

*shudders*

We are very much on the same page. That was also the episode that got me hooked on the show. Think it aired in early '04. After that I was definitely set to watch it for the long haul, and until basically the '98-'99 season or thereabouts it really held up well. After that there were occasionally very nice episodes, but they were rarities.

I think the hit and miss rep comes from those latter years, if it had been cancelled after the moview or thereabouts, it would stand as one of the best handful of shows from the nineties, but then it became a sort of zombie, a corpse of a show dragging itself through pointless season after pointless season, with the resolutions of many long term story arcs being incredibly idiotic to top off fan frustration.

For the first five or so seasons it was a top 10 show of the nineties easy. The last 2-3 seasons were just body blows that really screwed their reputation up (Seinfeld was heading to that territory as well, but wisely ended sooner, and Frazier was supposedly in the same area, but i stopped watching the latter after the third season).

Classic show, that went awry towards the end. Was it sci-fi? Not traditional sci-fi, instead it melded horror, suspense, folk tales, conspiracy theories and sci-fi into five classic seasons (with the occasional clunkers) before konking out like some seventies pinto.

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Ecthalion
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i loved X-files, but towards the end they were really grasping for ideas. The last episode was one of my favorite series finales ever.

Lone gunmen had some promise and i was pretty mad that they killed them off.

John Doe had promise and i dont like way that they left you hanging on that one

Babylon 5 was great but i only got up to season 3 before it went to cable and i didnt get to see all of it.

Firefly is the best series that has come out in the last 5 years though.

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Amanecer
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quote:
Best X Files ep ever was the trailer park vampires. Scully and Mulder each get a chance to tell the story their way.
Absolutely!!! I must have watched that episode ten times and it never got less funny. [Big Grin]
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mackillian
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"Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" is a favorite of mine. Hysterical, as was "Small Potatoes." "Memento Mori" was a very powerful episode. "Post-Modern Promethus" was also really cool, as was "Home."

Okay, so I like the series a lot.

A lot.

However, Scully giving away superbaby was one of my huge WTF moments. I mean, for a woman who was so upset at presumably not being able to have children (see "Christmas Carol" and "Emily"), to give her miracle child up? It just didn't fit her character, even with the reasons they gave, it just didn't fit who she was.

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Dan M.
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quote:
Originally posted by mackillian:
"Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" is a favorite of mine. \

Another series by the creator of the X Files, Millenium, had a counter part to that one. It was a great dark comedy and was a great way to lighten up a horribly dark series...for the first 40 minutes.

The writer of the Clyde Bruckman's episodes also did another dark comedy episode for,Millenium. It is incredibly touching and definetly watching the entire series for.

For those of you who don't know:
Millenium was a very good series with 3 parts and 3 seasons. It was about a man named Frank Black who, after suffering a mental collapse, quits his job at the FBI and joins a group called the Millenium group. This group acts as help for police all around the country.
Part 1: A very se7en like show where all the episodes make Se7en look tame. It was dark and disturbing. Most cases have something to do with the millenium.
Part 2: Starts to add some conspiracy to the mix along with a season long story arc. This includes the 2 episodes I talked about before.
Part 3: Adds fantasy and paranoia to the series. By the this point the show wasn't as dark as it was originally but that's not a good thing in this case.

Wow...Anyways, if you likd the X-Files you should see the first 2 seasons of this show.

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mackillian
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I know [Smile]
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Dan M.
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[Big Grin]
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MyrddinFyre
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Millenium, eh? Hmmmmm...


And yeah, I'm in the same camp of "X-Files was great but I like to pretend that this and that and the last seasons didn't happen."

I loved the episodes that had nothing (or almost nothing) to do with the major story arcs. I think my favorite was the one with a haunted house where Scully and Mulder see themselves dead in the floorboards, and all the doors lead to different rooms every time they opened them. Making me a little nervous just thinking about it!

What I loved most about that show was the film-noir-y detective feel to it. Very cool.

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Archilochus
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I'm not much for science-fiction television series, but Firefly is just about the best show I've ever seen.

I've tried other sci-fi shows, like X-Files, Farscape, Babylon 5, various Star Trek series, even Battlestar Gallactica which everyone raved about. Meh.

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Olivet
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The writer of Clyde Bruckman's final repose was my favorite TV writer for, like, ever. All his episodes were fun. I hated the mythology arc though. By the end of season three, I knew it was just a tease, that they would never be able to explain everything. Still liked the show, though.

Watched the mythology episodes for Rat Boy. I loved me some Rat Boy.

Othere great scifi TV:

Firefly

Farscape

Bab5 gets an honorable mention for a cohesive story arc, but the acting was sometimes painful to watch.

The Dune miniseries gave me the giggles, and I AM a fan of the Dune books.

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Synesthesia
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Millenium was cool.
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mackillian
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quote:
The Dune miniseries gave me the giggles, and I AM a fan of the Dune books.
Same here. It was the costumes, the ridiculous, brilliantly awful costumes. I couldn't keep a straight face and eventually, I had to turn the tv off.
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Juxtapose
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I really loved the seasons where the episodes covered a single case and there was little to no overarching story. In fact, X-Files is one of the few shows I can say that about.

I'm not sure, at the moment, whether I'd call those episodes "science fiction" or "modern fantasy." Probably episodes fluctuated between the two. I can't pass judgment on the series as a whole since I stopped watching when the conspiracies became to numerous for me to follow.

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Olivet
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The X-files had a scifi mythology, but the non-mythology episodes wandered far into the territory of scifi's wicked step sisters Fantasy and Horror. [Big Grin] Yeah, I liked them better, too. I grew to dread the appearance of a native american on the show, which is sad because I usually enjoy seeing native actors getting work.

But Farscape and Firefly were both great shows, cancelled while they were still going strong.

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Occasional
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I will be the lone person to say that, aside from some really good ones, I loved the X-Files conspiracy archs more stand alones. It was a code to be cracked that made it so fun. That is until about the 6th season. Fun as it still was BEFORE Mulder left (the last 2 seasons should never have been made), the unraveling was somewhat painful.
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graywolfe
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That makes two of us occasional, for early on anyway. I loved the sort of sister-alien deal conspiracy thing up until as Olivet points out, the sense hit that they were gonna ---- the bed more or less in trying to explain it as the series drew to a close. Really embarrasing the way they resolved it, but in seasons 1-4, i thought those episodes were fantasic. I wouldn't say the others weren't, I just got myself a little bit more "up" for those episodes until they became pointless towards the end.

Truly classic through about five seasons, then very much it and miss, and then at the end, pretty much deleted from memory. I litterally remember about 2-3 episodes from the last 3 episodes tops. That's about it and I'm a big fan of "this never happened" if you don't like where a series goes with something, and they aren't justified in doing it (M*A*S*H and the departure of McClean Stevenson would be the exception as that was a very powerful if painful way to address something of serious consequence, though the Sea of Japan seemed a bit much (just off the top of my head I don't remember North Korea or China really having an impact in the air ward over the Sea of Japan, it was more in "Mig Alley" from what I remember)).

Anyway, suffice it to say I'd argue for deleting things like Scully's baby storyline from memory.

One last thing, two years ago EW explained the endings of a show or two that got cancelled before it could be resolved, one of these was John Doe, if I can track down the issue I'll provide a synopsis of where it was headed before it got canned (a good show that never should have been canned by the way, but the ultimate injustice remains the twin cannings of Boomtown, the best prime time channell drama since Homicide, and of course Arrested Development).

Lastly, I believe a second X-Files movie is in the preproduction or at least "script" stages, with a go from the major parties involved (I know Duchovny is interested, probably because his acting career kinda seems stalled).

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Olivet
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Oh, I liked the mythology at first, too. It just became obvious to me that they were never going to make it work out few seasons before other fans.

In a way it wasn't all a waste-- the connect the dots images that turned out to be nothing at all spawned a lot of fanfic. *giggle* The need of the die-hard fan to make it make sense, I guess.

And no, I never wrote any. The X-Files jumped the shark (and went off the air)long before I knew there was such a thing as fanfiction. [Big Grin]

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Olivet
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Oh, and I know I'm a sucker, but I'd go see an X-Files movie. Again. Knowing it would suck.
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