Series Created by Chris Carter
Starring Gillian Anderson, Robert Patrick, Mitch Pileggi, Annabeth Gish, and David Duchovny
- Documentary: “The Truth About Season Eight”
- Seven deleted scenes with optional commentary by directors Frank Spotnitz and John Shiban
- Seven special effects sequences with commentary by producer Paul Rabwin
- Running audio commentary on “Alone” by director Spotnitz
- Running audio commentary on “Existence” by producer/director Kim Manners
- Character profiles on Alex Krycek, Gibson Praise, and John Doggett
- Forty-two promotional television spots
- Six international language clips
- DVD-ROM game: “Existence”
Released by: Fox Home Entertainment
Rating: NR (some violence)
My Advice: If you are a fan, you will want to own it
[ad#longpost]With Mulder (Duchovny) abducted by aliens, Scully (Anderson) is left alone to search for him with only one ally, Assistant Director Skinner (Pileggi). The FBI is conducting a mock investigation into Mulder’s disappearance under the direction of Agent John Doggett (Patrick), but with Doggett, they got more than they bargained for. It seems that there is a new Assistant Director who is calling the shots who put Doggett on the case more as a puppet than as a lead investigator. When Doggett takes his job seriously and becomes involved in the search for Agent Mulder, he begins to see some of the things that Scully has been talking about first hand thus becoming more and more involved with the X-Files. Meanwhile, Scully is still pregnant with Mulder’s child and it turns out there is more to her pregnancy than meets the eye.
Well, this was the beginning of the end. What started out as a great television series ended with a whimper and this is the start of the slow slide. This season began with the rumors of contract talks between Fox and Duchovny with there being serious doubts as to his return to the show. As it turned out, Duchovny agreed to appear in about half of the season’s episodes with Scully stepping up to take the reigns of the show and Robert Patrick entering to take the place of the missing Duchovny. The writing began to feel very contrived and the massive storylines that Chris Carter and his friends were so well known for became less and less grand. The resolutions they found for some of these plot lines felt forced at best. The rest of the episodes that weren’t part of the vast conspiracy theories were just silly. As a true fan of the show, I’m sorry to have to say these things, but it is true.
The DVD set is pretty good. The discs are divided very well, with each episode having its own submenu system that allows for individual episodic scene selections and special features, with most of the features for the entire season appearing on disc six. The foreign language clips are really nothing more than scenes from some of the episodes dubbed in various languages from around the globe. The deleted scenes appear both with the episode from which they were cut and with optional commentary on Disc Six. The scenes alone don’t really add any insight into the season as a whole, but with the commentary tracks, you can get an idea of why they were cut in the first place–which is okay, but not spectacular.
There are commentary tracks on two of the episodes. The episode entitled “Alone” was directed by Frank Spotnitz. “Existence” was directed by Kim Manners. Spotnitz was a first time X-Files director, and he wanted to direct an episode before Duchovny left. He wrote this episode to be one of the final episodes with Mulder and Scully together again that wasn’t directly involved with the idea of the birth of Scully’s child. His commentary track is decent, although he talks about the fact that he was writing an episode that was directed at the show’s fans. Other than that, he talks about the difficulty of the shots that were achieved during principal photography. Kim Manners’ commentary is much better by comparison. Granted, Manners is a veteran of the show, and he knows what’s going on with his shoot well enough to be able to talk about his episode with intelligence without sounding like he’s talking just to fill time.
There is a mini-documentary, which is one of the best I’ve seen. They talked about the fact that they had to write and shoot the finale to season seven not knowing whether or not there would be a season eight. There are interviews with the cast and crew, but Duchovny is conspicuous by his absence. In fact, most of the cast interviews are with Patrick and Gish. It is nice to hear them talking about how this show was going through forced change and growing pains, and there is almost a sense of remorse about it.
There are also three character profiles that were created for the foreign markets to help them market some of the episodes being sold as “mini-movies”. These are nothing more than interviews with the actors who are playing these characters and the stories of where their characters came from. It’s neat to have these in the set, but there’s really not much to them. There is also a look at some of the visual efects from season eight complete with commentary by Paul Rabwin. These are also nice to have on the set, but the special effects are by no means groundbreaking.
The DVD-ROM game is at the very least a little bit better than the game on the last season, in that you can actually play the game. However, once the game is being played you realize it’s not really all that exciting. The first section of the game has you scanning a subject’s brain to try to find a match to Mulder’s brainwaves. Sounds pulse pounding, doesn’t it? Yeah, this is definitely not the reason to buy this DVD set.
Let’s be honest, hardcore fans of the show will definitely want to pick this one up for keeps, but everyone else will at the very least want to rent it. If you’re looking for sets to own, seek earlier in the show’s run.