Film:
DVD:

Series Created by Chris Carter
Starring David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis, Tom Braidwood, Dean Hagland, Bruce Harwood, and Nicholas Lea

Features:

  • The Truth About Season Seven Docu
  • 10 deleted scenes with optional commentary by Carter
  • 13 special effects sequences with commentary by producer Paul Rabwin
  • Running audio commentary on episode "First Person Shooter" by Carter
  • Running audio commentary on episode "all things" by actress Anderson
  • Running audio commentary on episode "Je Souhaite" by writer Vince Gilligan
  • 44 promotional television spots
  • 17 international language clips
  • DVD-ROM game "Maitreya 2.0"
  • PS2 game preview

Released by: Fox
Rating:NR (some violence and scary images)
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes
My Advice: Own it, if you're a fan of the show

Agent Scully (Anderson) finds herself under quite a bit of pressure at the beginning of this season. Mulder (Duchovny) is in the hospital in a near catatonic state, which allows him to have a kind of temporary clairvoyance. Scully is in Africa trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle that will help cure Mulder of what is ailing him. I don't think I'm giving anything away by telling you that she does help cure Mulder from his mysterious disease. However, that is just the first of many demons that these two agents will have to face. Mulder will revisit the disappearance of his sister and the death of his mother, and Scully will be faced with the possibility that Mulder might be abducted just like his sister.

The literature that can be found inside this DVD set admits openly that this season was the beginning of the end of this television franchise. The writing is such that they seemed to have seen the writing on the walls, no pun intended. They begin to tie up many of the loose ends that were created during (at that point) the show's seven year run. I think that it could be argued that seasons six and seven represent the pinnacle of this show. The writing is outstanding. After all, it's very difficult to write a good science fiction story, let alone write it so well that people will continue to watch it consistently over nine years.

The key to this is that the writers, actors, directors, and producers care enough about these characters to really work at humanizing every bizarre storyline that comes along; the best stories being the ones that relate to Mulder and Scully on a very personal level. One other interesting thing to point out: when they were producing this seventh season, they were not sure whether or not there would be an eighth. Therefore, they were creating the show in such a way that would leave the series with enough closure to satisfy the fans that Mulder had, in fact, acheived his ultimate goal: to find the truth that we were promised was out there.

Duchovny and Anderson really did an amazing job with their seven-year character arc. As they grew ever closer to one another, they were also seemingly at diametrically opposed sides of the belief spectrum almost all the time. It's one of the many keys that made this series work for as long as it did; there was real human drama going on in the middle of the most whacked out circumstances. The "supporting" cast were equally as strong with the possibility of one exception: the actor playing C.G.B. Spender (a.k.a. "The Cigarette Smoking Man") sometimes left a lot to be desired with the portrayal of his character. He seemed more interested in "being spooky and mysterious" than really connecting and making a human character live on screen. His character worked in the storyline, I believe, because of the commitment to those actors he happened
to be doing scenes with at the time--but that's his particular saving grace.

The DVD set is filled with bonus features that will please any true fan of the show. There are commentary tracks on three different episodes, deleted scenes, and a documentary about the insecurities of the seventh season just to name a few. They are spread pretty evenly across all six discs. I'll start with the weakest of the features and work backwards. The stuff that I found to be the least interesting were the international language clips. Essentially all this boils down to is several clips from various episodes dubbed in several different languages. Unless you actually happen to speak these languages (in addition to English), you really won't get anything out of these little bits. I already knew that the show was dubbed into different languages for international release, so it didn't come as any surprise to me, and they weren't really as amusing as they would be on, say, a Pixar release.

The television spots were interesting, but they are only good for posterity's sake; there's just not enough content here to make it more than that. The deleted scenes are presented across all of the discs and they appear with the episodes from which they were deleted. As with most of the deleted scenes on DVDs, the reason they were cut becomes instantly obvious; either they didn't add anything to the story, or were completely unrelated to the story being told.

Moving on to the more worthwhile bits of bonus material, Chris Carter's commentary is pretty good, but it's kind of sparse. The information he does present is somewhat fascinating and funny, but there are several long moments that go by without any comment whatsoever. He does talk quite a bit about how much he enjoyed working with his crew and praises their work--but does so without turning his audio track into the type of lovefests that get on my nerves so much. Gillian Anderson's commentary is over the episode that she wrote and directed. The important thing that is to be taken away from this episode is that this is the first time that there is supposed to be the hint of the fact that Mulder and Scully had spent the night together. It is obvious that Anderson put a lot of herself into this episode and also obvious in her commentary that she feels very close to the subject matter she tackled. Vince Gilligan's commentary is pretty standard stuff, too. It's more like Carter's than Anderson's. If I were to rate them I would definitely place Anderson's at the top of the pile with Carter and Gilligan's tying for second place.

A majority of the bonus material resides on the sixth disc of the set. The documentary called The Truth about Season Seven deals with the mysterious aspects of what could have been the final season of this series. Carter and the cast talk about the wrapping up of the story in this series in order to please the fans in case they didn't renew with Fox Television for the next season. This is pretty good information, and it's worth it to hear Carter talk about his brainchild in a kind of "final" way. Also on this disc are two character profiles; one for A.D. Skinner and one for Samantha Mulder, Fox's missing sister. These are very trivial and don't really go into much detail about their characters, focusing rather on their roles in Season Seven, and don't really give you much information. They look like they were used for promotional purposes.

Then you have all the ten- and twenty-second promo spots for all the episodes in the season. These are really only good for posterity's sake, so I guess it's cool to have them here. The best part about them is being able to see how Fox has changed its look even after these few short years. The special effects commentaries with Paul Rabwin are really nothing to write home about. It is interesting to see how they put together the effects shots, but he really only gives a very light synopsis of the compilation. Then there is a ten second look at the PlayStation 2 game which is to be released sometime in 2003, and to be honest, this preview doesn't make it look all that exciting.

The DVD-ROM game is based on the episode in Season Seven called "First Person Shooter". However, before you can play the game, you have to have knowledge about that episode to answer questions to get in the game. I'm not sure whether the disc I got is corrupted somehow, but I watched the episode three times trying to get the answers to the questions, and none of the answers seemed to let me into the game. In fact, the last question of the series was incomplete. So, if there was more to it, I never got to play the game because I couldn't get into it.

So the die-hard fan of the series will want to add this to their collection, but everyone else will want to just rent it. It's worth a watch even as the series begins to wind down.

Buy it from Amazon.
Buy The Truth And The Light: Music From The X-Files from Amazon.

Also: Reviews of Season 6, Season 8, and the feature film.

Originally published on Version 3 of the site, ported to WordPress (Ver. 4) on 8/28/2005.