I’m not extreme about it, but I tend to be a completionist when it comes to media consumption. CDs had just hit the scene when my media focus started to shift from comic books to music. Over the course of many years, I had managed to amass hundreds of CDs, and yet the breadth of different artists was remarkably small. That’s because when I decided that I liked a particular group, I would find out what the first album was that they had released, and start collecting from that first album to the latest or last. My taste in music lagged by almost a generation, so in most cases it really was a situation of a last album instead of just the latest. This approach was self limited mostly by funding and physical space. Thirty years (or so) later, I’m significantly better funded and thanks to the magic of the digital age physical space just isn’t an issue anymore. So now I tend to apply the same habit to movies and TV series. The latter more than the former, obviously. There are some places where I draw clear red lines. The Star Wars prequels do not exist, and David Bowie didn’t release any albums in the mid 1980s.

Thanks to the equally magical world of streaming video, I periodically run through a whole TV series from start to finish. The one I’m currently moving through is The X-Files, being near the end of Season 08 at the time of this writing. I started, of course, at the beginning with the Pilot episode of Season 01, which aired in the fall of 1993. This is the first time that I’ve watched the entirety of the show. I saw a handful of some of the early episodes when they aired, and a majority of seasons 5 & 6 mostly thanks to friends of mine being fans of the show. I thought it was interesting, but wasn’t very into it at the time. Going through the series now, I’m a little surprised both at how good it is overall.

While a long time fan of Twin Peaks, I didn’t realize until starting this trek through the series how much of a large influence Twin Peaks had on the show. In some ways, I think the X-Files exists in the same type of universe as Twin Peaks. While I watched the recent Twin Peaks: The Return, I had mixed feelings about it, and will be sitting down and moving through the whole Twin Peaks series sometime in the future. Gordon’s Blue Rose Cases really were X-Files, after all, or maybe the other way around.

Season 08 of The X-Files is the first season without Mulder, and establishes a newish dynamic of Doggett and Scully. Instead of replacing Mulder, Doggett really is a replacement of Scully who becomes the replacement for Mulder. While it’s made pretty clear that the Doggett character is the new skeptic, it’s explicitly mentioned half way through the season during the Badlaa episode where Scully makes a correct call by making an intuitive leap and trying to do what Mulder would have done. he

I still think that Season 07 is the best one. There’s a degree of fun and playfulness that seems to be a side effect of the general belief that 07 was the final season, that is until the last episode. Season 08 definitely has a feeling of trying to recapture the magic of first seasons. In some ways it succeeds as much as is possible. I think the monster of the week episodes are more successful than the ones that further the show mythology. The ever present hunt for Mulder is a little strained. I would have preferred the level of Scully missing Mulder to have been turned down a bit. Sometimes I think it gets close to diminishing the strength of her character.

I’m approximately halfway through the season, and so far I think they’ve done a remarkable job overall with keeping the show interesting and thematically consistent, especially with the swapping out of a major character.