Series Created by Chris Carter
Starring David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, and William B. Davis
- Season 6 documentary
- Production featurette
- Deleted/alternate scenes with optional commentary
- Effects shots with commentary
- CSM character profile
- “Triangle” episode commentary with writer/director Chris Carter
- “Milagro” episode commentary with director Kim Manners
- Dozens of TV promo spots
- International language clips
- DVD-ROM game
Released by: Fox
Rating: NR, suitable for audiences 13+
My Advice: Own it.
[ad#longpost]After two-hour episode released in theaters over the previous summer, the sixth season of perennial fan fave X-Files had to build on the mythology-busting climax of the theatrical release and sustain viewer interest without seeming like a let-down. Coupled with this considerable challenge, the show relocated to Los Angeles for this season, acquiring an almost entirely new crew in the process. This crew of newbies had to learn the ins and outs of making the show, become familiar with the cast and creators’ quirks and preferences, and do it all while churning out a full season of network television.
Season 6 is also, in many opinions, a pivotal one in the show’s long career. X-Files may have the sole distinction of being the only television series to “jump the shark” between seasons, losing direction badly between the end of this season and the beginning of Season 7. As such, this season represents the height of the show’s maturity prior to its tragic decline into the pathetic milking of a TV franchise.
There are a number of phenomenal standout episodes in this season, shows that can go toe-to-toe with the very best of the previous five seasons. The two-part “Dreamland” provides a light-hearted body-swapping story that puts Mulder behind the lines of the mysterious Men in Black at Area 51, while giving a sad little agent (played by Michael McKean in an excellent guest star spot) a chance to live the high-life as a single FBI agent partnered with the always attractive Scully. “Triangle” is an inventive exercise in long-take filmmaking and split-screen TV as Mulder gets lost in Bermuda and wakes up on a Nazi cruise ship. “Monday” is a creepy X-Files take on the Groundhog Day concept. The series finale “Biogensis” promises a new round of revelations in the ongoing alien mythology of the show as Scully locates a massive spacecraft on a beach, but in the most telling sign of the show’s shark-jumping, Season 7 begins with no reference to said craft being made. At all. Lame.
While this season has a slightly higher concentration of light-hearted humor episodes, it serves to buck the trend of the show taking itself a bit too seriously quite nicely. Earlier seasons had some truly great comedic installments, and Season 6 takes the idea to new heights. There’s also clear evidence of the show’s increased access to high-end production techniques in episodes like “Triangle.” The performances of the principals are excellent across the board, and the guest spots include some real winners (like the aforementioned McKean two-parter and “Terms of Endearment” with perennial Needcoffee fave Bruce Campbell). The writing and direction is uniformly crisp, including Duchovny’s “The Unnatural.”
The DVD set is absolutely packed end-to-end with bonus features, including director’s commentary on selected episodes and a metric crapload of promotional materials. The alternate and deleted scenes are interesting and serve to demonstrate how decisions get made about what goes and what stays. The production featurette and season documentary provide lots of detail and behind-the-scenes goodness for fans of the show.
This represents the stopping point for fans of the show looking to purchase DVDs. Anything after this season will only make you sad. But don’t miss out on this one. Had the show (perhaps rightly) ended after this season, even the massive cliffhanger of “Biogenesis” would have been an acceptable end, compared to what the show will inevitably end up with at this point. Plunk down the cash for this one and enjoy a seasoned cast of actors and writers at the top of their game, producing one of the most original shows to grace network TV since Twin Peaks.