- Apr 24, 2006
- Charlotte, NC
- Real Name
- Matt Hough
One of the first dramatic series on the fledgling Fox network to hit it big nationwide was Chris Carter’s The X Files, the creator’s throwback to the spooky, unexplainable events suspense series that as a youngster had fascinated him from the 1960s and 1970s. Beautifully produced and filled with eerie, otherworldly phenomena, The X Files ran a healthy nine seasons and spawned two feature films. The first season which laid the foundation for all the weirdness to follow has now (like the other seasons both separately and in a box set) been released on Blu-ray to thrill a new generation of genre fans.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 2.0 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 18 Hr. 6 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-raykeep case with leaves
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 12/08/2015
The Production Rating: 4/5
Ambitious, conscientious FBI agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) is tasked with keeping a watchful eye on Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), assigned by his superiors to investigate “The X Files,” cases where unexplainable, potentially paranormal activities have occurred. Scully, a trained physician and a person of science, scoffs at the mere thought of anything otherworldly making her the perfect person to keep Mulder (known around the office as "Spooky" Mulder)grounded and to report back to her superiors in the bureau about any activities of his that go beyond the scope of his office. During their first year together, however, the team comes into certain close contact with what appears to be alien lifeforms as well as a string of other paranormal persons who continually test Agent Scully’s fierce conviction that there is a rational explanation for anything that appears unconventional. By the end of their year together, Scully has finally found proof for herself about alien existence and worse, that the United States government is involved in some kind of subterfuge with extraterrestrials and human hybrids that all seems decidedly murky and potentially life-threatening.
Along with several of the season’s twenty-four episodes which involve UFOs and possible alien encounters, Chris Carter and his writing staff have concocted a host of other strange individuals for Scully and Mulder to cross paths with (Carter admits that the series was intended to be a Kolchak: The Night Stalker for a new generation, and those who are familiar with that series can certainly see some striking parallels between the two shows). True, some of the ideas here have been liberally borrowed from the writings of Stephen King, Rod Serling, John Carpenter, and others, but that doesn’t make the episodes any less creepy or enjoyable. The duo must deal at various times with poltergeists, a particularly nasty case of artificial intelligence, body swaps and reincarnations, a Manitou, a faith healer, a Firestarter, centuries old lethal fireflies, two different episodes involving telekinesis, and two episodes involving a ninety-year old creature with elasticized limbs who must devour five human livers every thirty years to survive. In most of the episodes, terrific special effects convey these marvels and convince us all (except the ever-skeptical Agent Scully) that these unconventional personas wander among us.
The two stars not only establish their appealing characters quickly and adroitly, but their chemistry together is terrific. True, Dana Scully’s continuing skepticism becomes pretty ridiculous after a dozen episodes featuring weird events have passed before her eyes, and she doesn’t fully come around to a grudging respect for her partner’s unshakable beliefs until the season finale. Along the way, Mulder is occasionally guided by “Deep Throat” (Jerry Hardin), a mysterious individual who sets the team back on the right path when they occasionally go astray dealing with the alien encounters (though occasionally he prevents their success in their investigations and doesn’t try to hide the fact from them). Near the end of the season, the team comes under the firm hand of Assistant Director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) who would continue as a thorn in their sides for several more seasons. Among the many famous faces guest starring in these extraordinary tales are Cliff De Young, Seth Green, Donal Logue, Carrie Snodgress, Gregory Sierra, Xander Berkeley, Felicity Huffman, Susanna Thompson, Harriet Harris, Mark Sheppard, Brad Dourif, Graham Jarvis, Jason Beghe, Titus Welliver, Maggie Wheeler, and Zeljko Ivanek.
Here are the twenty-four episodes contained on six Blu-ray discs in the season one set. The names in parentheses refer to the speaker on the audio commentary for that episode:
1 – Pilot (Chris Carter)
2 – Deep Throat
3 – Squeeze
4 – Conduit
5 – The Jersey Devil
6 – Shadows
7 – Ghost in the Machine
8 – Ice (bowing to Carpenter’s The Thing, my favorite episode of the season)
9 – Space
10 – Fallen Angel
11 – Eve
12 – Fire
13 – Beyond the Sea
14 – Gender Bender
15 – Lazarus
16 – Young at Heart
17 – E. B. E.
18 – Miracle Man
19 – Shapes
20 – Darkness Falls
21 – Tooms
22 – Born Again
23 – Roland
24 – The Erlenmeyer Flask (R. W. Goodwin)
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
Though purists will likely be unhappy, Fox has reformatted the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio of the original broadcasts into the more modern widescreen television aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Apart from a few shots that appear off kilter and oddly framed, these new widescreen transfers generate a very cinematic feel for the show and present generally excellent sharpness (apart from some glamor photography for some of the ladies) and outstanding color with realistic and appealing skin tones. Black levels vary from outstanding to just okay, and there is an occasional moiré pattern to be glimpsed in grillwork of cars or in fabric weaves. The programs have been divided into 11 chapters.
Audio Rating: 4/5
The new audio tracks for the series are presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and the repurposed sound has been superbly executed to wring the most out of the audio elements which are at the company's disposal. There is consistently good separation of effects to fill the surround channels, and there is even occasional directionalized dialogue though most of it is relegated to the center channel. The show’s eerie, driving music also gets a nice spread through the fronts and rears though most of the activity is geared toward the front soundstage.
Special Features Rating: 4.5/5
Audio Commentaries: the two that are present are both interesting for first timers to the X Files universe, but intense fans likely know the information creator Chris Carter and director R. W. Goodwin relate in their tracks. There are also silent passages in each one as the men think of things to talk about.
Pilot Introduction (1:10, SD): creator Chris Carter and director Frank Spotnitz make brief comments.
Deleted Scenes (2:54, SD): two scenes are offered.
Chris Carter Talks About Season 1 (35:16, SD): spread across the six discs, creator Chris Carter recalls specific memories about some of the outstanding episodes.
International Clips (SD): on each of the six discs, brief excerpts from certain episodes are offered in a variety of languages. Here are the episodes with their running times and languages:
- “Pilot” – Spanish (1:05), German (1:13), Italian (0:54)
- “The Jersey Devil” – German (1:03), Japanese (1:16), Spanish (2:25)
- “Ice” – Italian (1:08), Japanese (1:05), Spanish (1:03)
- “Space” – German (1:12), Japanese (0:58)
- “Fire” – Italian (1:05), Japanese (0:59), Spanish (0:52)
- “Beyond the Sea” – German (1:10), Italian (1:05), Japanese (1:25), Spanish (1:01)
- “E. B. E.” – German (1:06), Italian (1:04), Japanese (1:08), Spanish (1:23)
- “Tooms” – German (0:48), Italian (1:08), Japanese (1:04), Spanish (1:18)
- “The Erlenmeyer Flask” – German (0:57), Japanese (0:50)
Introduction for “Beyond the Sea” (1:38, SD): both Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz consider this one of the pivotal episodes of the season.
The Truth About Season 1 (11:05, SD): members of the crew describe the difficulty of getting the show on the air and maintaining high quality throughout the season, gratified by the show’s growing popularity as the season progressed. They also talk about effects work of which they are proud and their favorite episodes of the season.
FX: Behind the Truth (12:37, SD): twelve one-minute promo spots featuring various members of the cast and crew which aired on FX when the network began showing the program.
TV Spot Ads (14:04, SD): forty-seven promotional spots for Fox broadcasts of the show.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
It’s little wonder that The X Files caught on in a major way during its first season on the air. Though it wouldn’t grow into a top twenty show for a few years, the groundwork was certainly laid here for even more mysterious and suspenseful episodes to come. Recommended!
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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