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'X-Files' DVD showcases highs, lows of season six

BY MELISSA RUNSTROM
Daily Arts Writer
Published November 27, 2002

"Little Girls make the best aliens." This is stated in one of the special features on the new DVD set, "The Complete Sixth Season of The X-Files." This six DVD set isn't just the 22 episodes of season six, but includes lots of extra features to enhance the experience. "The X-Files" ran for nine years, with each season being unique. Season six came right after "The X-Files" movie "Fight the Future" hit theaters in 1998. Season six, in many episodes, directly contrasts the movie's seriousness. Many episodes are very bright compared to traditional "X-Files" standards. In a new location, when the set moved from Vancouver to Los Angeles, and with the potential for new viewers from the successful movie, series creator Chris Carter wanted to try something a little different. As a result many of the stand-alone episodes, those not related to the alien/government conspiracy, tend to be light and almost jovial. While the cast and crew pulls this off well, it is difficult for old viewers to break from the dark and mysterious schema that has developed in regards to the show. If you can see past this prejudice though, you will find these episodes delightful.

The whole premise behind the series is the search by Mulder (David Duchovny, "Evolution") and Scully (Gillian Anderson, "The House of Mirth") for the truth behind the existence of extraterrestrials and the government's involvement and subsequent conspiracy in covering up their existence. It is particularly interesting to note that within this single season, the show disbands its core conspiracy and creates a new one with its season finale. It is the search for the truth, and the reactions of Mulder and Scully to what they find in this search, and to each other, which captivates the audience. The acting in season six is remarkable, with Duchovny and Anderson creating some of the best chemistry seen on the small and big screens of Hollywood. They have so much previous experience in the development of their characters that we forget that we are watching actors, and we put our faith in the mutual trust that bonds these two complex characters.

A few episodes are particularly noteworthy. This includes the two-part episode "Two Fathers" and "One Son" which reveal many answers to the series' mysteries involving the alien/government conspiracy. Packed with suspense and drama, they answer many of the questions raised in the movie and the first six seasons of the series. However, in typical "X-Files" manner, the answers leave new questions in the air, which are used in the new alien conspiracy created with the season's final episode, "Biogenesis." Among the stand-alone episodes, there are a few that are particularly well made and entertaining. "Monday," in which a bad day is repeated over again is interesting because of the wonderful way that director Kim Manners manages to make each identical day interesting with its own personality. "The Unnatural," written and directed by David Duchovny, is a charming independent story about a 1940s Negro League star, who also happens to be an alien. The episode, though, seems to say more about the human condition than about any extraterrestrial plot.

The weakest episode of this season is the over-the-top "How The Ghosts Stole Christmas," which seems too hokey with actors Lily Tomlin and Ed Asner playing ghosts that haunt a house that the two agents happen to get trapped in. It is written and directed with too much emphasis on the comical aspects of the ghosts, and not enough on the potential significance of the situation. It is almost painful to see two such complex characters, Mulder and Scully, wandering around in such a silly plot.

The extra features in the DVD set are plentiful. There is a wonderful 20 minute documentary on the season, a behind the scenes featurette, fifteen deleted scenes with optional commentary, forty-four promotional spots, French and Spanish language selections, international clips, special effects commentary, a DVD-ROM game, and an engaging character profile on the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis). The picture quality for the episodes is good, and the graphics in the menus are interesting. These features add to the season six experience. It is indeed an experience, filled with highs, lows, frustrations and of course aliens and monsters. With this DVD you can experience these points as often as you would like, and even learn details as to how it is all done. This is a definite buy for the hardcore "X-Phile," and is recommended for regular fans of the show as well. The features give you the freedom to probe deeper into the realm of "The X-Files," or to simply learn how an effect was created. The show is interesting and the extra features make season six really come to life.


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