“The distillation of the mythos into four singular sets, and the inclusion of new commentary tracks and documentaries, will undoubtedly be a cause of joy” – Daulton Dickey
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi
Of the 202-episodes produced over The X-Files’ lifespan, the ones fans, both casual and diehard, continue to talk about are the mythology episodes. For those unfamiliar with the through lines developed over the show’s nine season run, the mythologies are built around a vast government conspiracy to cover up the existence of aliens and the possibility that they possess alien technology recovered from various crash sites.
Essentially a cross between your average cop drama, the Twilight Zone, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, creator Chris Carter and his crew of writers and producers developed a groundbreaking show that branched away from its cop drama roots and developed his characters while expanding an increasingly convoluted long term story arc.
The X-Files was a multifaceted show. Working on two levels, it interspersed its mythology episodes between engaging, sometimes self-effacing self-contained episodes. These episodes, usually devoid of any insight into the mythos, worked as television shows for the past fifty years have worked. They introduced characters, storylines, etc. that only proved relevant for a single episode, though they were often so engaging and entertaining that one wishes some of these minor characters and story arcs would be returned to and thoroughly vetted for more material.
The X-Files Mythology: Abduction, a new 4-disc box set recently released by 20th Century Fox, compiles the first 15-episodes of the mythology story arc for fans who are only interested in the X-Files mythos, or for those unwilling to shill out a pretty penny to pick up the costly full-season box sets.
Abduction, the first of four new Mythology box sets, kicks off with the pilot episode, which introduces FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully and foreshadows the things to come in this complex, ever growing conspiracy.
Mulder has been assigned the x-files, a division of the FBI that deals with unsolved—and often unexplained, or unexplainable—cases and phenomena. Obsessed with the unknown and the possibility of the existence of aliens since he was a teenager, when he witnessed the abduction of his younger sister, Mulder is intent on discovering the truth, and hopefully finding out what happened to his missing sister, at all costs.
Dana Scully provides a contrast to Mulder’s obsessive search for the truth. She has been assigned to the x-files to report to the higher ups on Mulder, and to debunk his work on unexplained cases. A doctor, she believes in science, and is confident in the fact that it can explain everything, including the unexplainable.
What is most shocking in a show such as this is the constant development and arcs these characters, wonderfully played by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, experience throughout the show’s nine-season run. Alternating between skepticism and pragmatism, Scully and Mulder experience intense, often irrational situations and incidents that cause them to dip and rise, change positions, and switch allegiances. While these flexible, seemingly flimsy character patterns would have been unrealistic—and perhaps annoying—in any other television show, the combination of the writing, amongst the smartest television has ever seen, and the superb performances anchor Mulder and Scully in a poignancy and realism that transcends potential melodrama and roots these characters in a world where everything is believable—including their sometimes unbelievable character arcs.
Even presented without distracting self-contained episodes and focusing solely on the mythos of the show, the X-Files mythologies are still somewhat convoluted; conspiracies are often complex and revealed through vague dialogue. So one must put on one’s thinking cap while watching The X-Files Mythology: Abduction to derive the potency of the extremely complex mythos surrounding one of televisions greatest shows.
This box set, which includes five audio commentaries and a 26-minute documentary exploring the abduction thread of the mythology, is essentially a repackage of episodes already available on the full season box sets. The transfers, both audio and video, appear to be the same as the episodes from the season sets. For those who already own the season sets, The X-Files Mythology: Abduction might be a waste of time—you’ve already got all of the episodes presented here. Though for purists, the distillation of the mythos into four singular sets, and the inclusion of new commentary tracks and documentaries, will undoubtedly be a cause of joy. For everyone else, those unfamiliar with The X-Files or those who were nothing more than casual viewers when the show was still on the air, this is a fantastic set that’s well worth the retail price.
Reviewer : Daulton Dickey