Season 09 started out with a two episode mythology based story (“Nothing Important Happened Today”). The so-called “schooper scholders” (everytime someone says “Super Soldier” on this show I can’t help but laugh) get a little bit of backstory. It was fun to see Lucy Lawless as a guest star, as she was one of the “schooper scholgers” that the season’s mythology was centered around. Season 09 was the most forgettable season for me, and it took me a long time to make it all the way through. A few of the episodes were just bad, but most were just lackluster. Imagining this season as the final one for the series, as it seemed the time of its airing, it really doesn’t rise above a disappointing level.
In between the ninth and tenth season there was another stab at a movie. While the first movie effort furthered the show mythology, and was referenced by episodes in subsequenct seasons, the “I Want to Believe” feels more like a prop to “get the band back together again”, and reintroduce Duchovney into the series. As such, it’s setup as a “monster of the week” episode. Unfortunately, I think the expanded time and budget of a feature film vs an episode in a series was squandered. It works fine as a standard episode, but that’s the problem. I think there were significantly better “monster of the week” episodes in both previous and future seasons.
If the point of the film was to actually “get the band back together”, it doesn’t appear to have worked very well, as it took a full eight years for Season 10 to appear. In many ways, I see the tenth season as fulfilling the role that the second film failed to fill. As a regular X-File season it’s incredibliy short, with only six episodes. A new mythology arc is introduced that has a little bit of a rehash feel. In this season, as well as the next, the mythology centric episodes are all named “My Struggle” (versioned as I, II, III, etc). As with previous seasons, these episodes are the weakest of the lot. It doesn’t help that the writers seemed to be struggling to work within a framework that had been filled with a lot of loose threads, and quickly devolves into being all about Mulder and Scullly’s kid. It’s a trope that always reminds me of a specific sequence from Back to the Future, regardless of where I see it.
While I have a lot of criticisms of the final two seasons, they do contain some the series’ best “monster of the week” episodes. I’m glad Season 10 was so short, as it seemed to give much needed some warmup to Season 11 for all involved. I still recall how awkward the Farscape post-season cancellation wrap up episodes were. One of the best elements of Season 11 is the combination of self-parody and humor. At times Duchovney seems to be directly channeling Bill Murray with his wry and dead pan delivery. That by itself would be fun, but combined with Anderson’s counterpoint and role as “straight man (er, woman)” it’s exquisite.
My favorite episode of Season 11 might be “Rm9sbG93ZXJz”. It’s light on dialogue, covers the “machine uprising” trope in a new way, and involves a robotic Sushi restraunt. The lightness of dialogue works because Mulder and Scully are able to say so much to each other just through little mannerisms and nuance. While Season 11 is shorter than usual, ten episodes versus twenty, I’m glad that only two of them are mythology based episodes. There seemed to be a lot of outcry about the quality of the final episode, but I didn’t mind it. I don’t expect much from those episodes in the first place, and they did a good job of wrapping up the series If there aren’t any more X-Files, Season 11 leaves the series on a good note.
I doubt I’ll ever go through the entire X-File series again, but I might end up creating a collection of episodes that I really like and running through those at some point. Now it’s time to figure out what series I’m going to restart for the express purpose of generating some blog posts.