Friday, May 13, 2011

SciFiNow: The Best & Worst Episodes Of The X-Files

Am I the only one who looooves the soft supple curves of The X-Files' Gillian Anderson?

With all of the attention paid to Chris Carter's remarkable Millennium it felt only natural to revisit his equally stunning nine season run of The X-Files. This best and worst is extracted from the SciFiNow Timewarp Collection.

The Best:
1. Ice [Season One]
2. Duane Barry/ Ascension [Season Two]
3. Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose [Season Three]
4. Home [Season Four]
5. Chinga [Season Five]
6. Monday [Season Six]
7. Requiem [Season Seven]
8. Patience [Season Eight]
9. Audrey Pauley [Season Nine]

The Worst:
1. Space [Season One]
2. Firewalker [Season Two]
3. Grotesque [Season Three]
4. Musings Of A Cigarette Smoking Man [Season Four]
5. Mind's Eye/ Folie A Deux [Season Five]
6. Three Of A Kind [Season Six]
7. X-Cops [Season Seven]
8. Existence [Season Eight]
9. The Truth [Part I & II] [Season Nine].

Clearly, some of the major players found on Millennium make their marks here on the fronts of both direction and writing. Some familiar names include: David Nutter, Glen Morgan & James Wong [attached at the hip like a monster of the week on The X-Files], Chris Carter, Michael Watkins and Darin Morgan.

Nutter directed Ice, Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose and Firewalker. He also handled four episodes of Millennium Season One [Pilot, Gehenna, 522666 and Loin Like A Hunting Flame].
Of course, where do you begin with Morgan & Wong, their imprint is all over both of these amazing series. Morgan would script Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose, but would write and direct Millennium's own Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense. The deliciously clever, brilliant, ingenious, classic title [smile ;) ] Musings Of A Cigarette Smoking Man sadly makes the Worst list with a rare separation of Wong & Morgan. Morgan is credited on writing chores, while Wong handles the directing moves. Still, there's something awfully familiar about that episode title.

Sadly, Tim Minear makes the Worst list with Mind's Eye [along with his Drive series which also crashed and burned], but as everyone knows he was a major player on Firefly and his steady directorial hand and scriptwriting skills are all over that wonderful, if ephemeral series which he co-executive produced. He was also assistant director on Oliver Stone's Platoon.

Michael Watkins lands a credit directing X-Cops, but was also behind the camera for the classic Millennium entry Sacrament.

Stephen King co-wrote Chinga and given Millennium's similar foray into the cerebral and the macabre it's surprising King did not return for that series.

Vince Gilligan, who co-penned Monday, Three Of A Kind and wrote Folie A Deux, wouldn't appear on Millennium's official series, but would return to co-write The X-Files' Season Seven episode, Millennium, with the returning Lance Henriksen.

Finally, director Kim Manners is all over The X-Files, but never once appeared on Millennium.

I love this stuff!


le0pard13 said...

I LOVE that magazine cover! This makes me want to revisit them all. Believe or not, but I enjoyed X-COPS episode.

John Kenneth Muir said...


Another interesting Sci-Fi Now List (and one which I don't agree with...). I second Le0pard13 about X-Cops. That episode is a hell of a lot of fun, and who can resist an X-Files case that (seems to...) involve Freddy Krueger.

I also don't understand why "Folie a Deux" placed so poorly. That's another good episode, about evil hiding in plain sight (in the workplace, no less).

But as always, these lists are extremely interesting to debate.


SFF said...

Thanks as always L13 and John.

You guys have me excited about checking out many of the holes in my X-Files viewing. X-Cops is one of them.

I must admit. I would agree with the list on its inclusion of Space on the list. I have been in the midst of a thorough Season One immersion and Space was a real clunker. What a disappointing episode. Of all the episodes from Seaosn One that deserves to be on the list.

One other point, thankfully that horrible little blogger outage and cluster did NOT take place during the Lance blogathon. I kept thinking we dodged a bullet there.

Book arrived yesterday!

Best to you both.

Unknown said...

Nice list! I would also add:

SOFT LIGHT (heartbreaking peformance by Tony Shaloub - love the final image!)

E.B.E. (love the mythology episodes and this is one of the best)

DARKNESS FALLS (I really love the mood and atmosphere of this one - the way the forests are shot in this ep. are fantastic)

DIE HAND DIE VERLETZT (a pretty cool and creepy take on Satanists/witches via high school?! Love it)

HUMBUG (maybe my fave ep. of all time for this show - great use of the Jim Rose Circus and the mix of humor and horror is perfecto!)

WAR OF THE COPROPHAGES (another top notch ep. with a wicked sense of humor - you need these kinds of episodes every so often to break things up.)

SFF said...

Like you J.D., I always loved the mythology arc stories. They were by far and away my favorites despite some strong standalone moments.

I just finished watching Beyond The Sea, with Brad Dourif. A solid episode and very Millennium in execution.


SFF said...

By the way, Ice is a nice episode paying a signficant bit of homage to John Carpenter's The Thing, but it's hardly noteworthy as the BEST episode of Season One.

I would give that honor to Beyond The Sea before Ice.

John Kenneth Muir said...


Boy are you right about dodging a blogger bullet during the L.H. Blogathon the previous week. I've had that thought myself. That would have been...catastrophic!

You're absolutely right too about "Space." That's an uncharacteristically bad episode of The X-Files; just a disaster on so many levels. The first season is really very strong, overall, and this episode just sticks out like a sore thumb.

I also love "Darkness Falls," and the others J.D. mentioned...a good list. I also agree that "Ice" -- while exciting (and a good homage to Carpenter) -- is hardly the best episode of the series.

My nominee is "Home." I still can't believe it aired on network television, in prime time. And it still scares the crap out of me...


SFF said...

Hi John

It would have been a major mess as a result. We were fortunate.

Well, I really look forward to seeing Home. I've seen many of The X-Files but placing names with episodes has been somewhat elusive until now.

I'm correcting that glaring problem for myself as we speak.

It was something I needed to do. Millennium really opened up that door. So thanks again.

If Home is anything like Lamentation it will be a treat.

John Kenneth Muir said...


Home is incredible, hardcore horror, so just be warned. Some of the imagery in it is simply unforgettable. Every time you think the episode can't possibly get any more gets more disturbing.

I love that you're revisiting The X-Files. It's one of my all-time favorite shows...


SFF said...

Thanks John. I really look forward to that entry.

Like you, I always loved The X-Files. It was indeed appointment television.

I'm not sure how much I'll write about it here, because, like Millennium, it's so dense and intricate in its weaving of material, but I'm sure I'll find a way to offer some reflections on the series in my own way because I really do want to write about some aspects of Season One when I've completed watching it.

Cheers my friend.

John Kenneth Muir said...


I understand what you mean. I have wanted to write this big analysis of some of the Mulder/Samantha arc and what I think it means, but there are so many pieces to fit together, I have to watch like 20 episodes to accumulate it all. Isn't that terrible? I'm just too lazy to do it. (Or, more realistically, it's just that time is too short...I wouldn't blog for a week or two while getting it together.).

One of these days!


SFF said...

Right?! Honestly John. The series is so complex. Millennium is right there too. It's all Carter, but to take time to put this whole thing together. It's quite a feat.

I'm sort of absorbing Season One at the moment and writing something of it, but I'm letting it take my entry where it takes me.

I've definitely got a focus, but it is such a thick series, you really have to sort of pick and choose how you want to approach a certain aspect of it.

But like you said, it's slowing me down a little bit on the writing side in general.

BEst and thanks for stopping back by. I'd love to see a JKM arc analysis.

Best back at you

crowmagnumman said...

In regards to your first comment, you are absolutely not the only one! I started getting into The X-Files for the first time around 2007, and it wasn't long before I developed a massive crush on Agent Scully. I could scarcely imagine a more perfect woman: hot, curvaceous, FBI agent who can kick ass with her gun or her hands, and she's a scientific skeptic! Definitely my kind of woman.

SFF said...

Hey- good to hear from you C-man!

Curvy delicious! Amen brother.