THE X FILES SEASON 7

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Review By Paul Mount, 4 out of 5

Seven seasons seems to be about the point at which most American SF/Fantasy shows reach their sell-by date. The majority of them bow out gracefully when their makers realise they’ve done their best work and that it’s probably a good idea to leave ’em wanting more. Season seven is clearly the place where Chris Carter and co should have called time on the adventures of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully but they (and Network interests) allowed THE X FILES to rumble on for two unnecessary and frankly rather dull further seasons. This leaves us with season seven as the original show’s last gasp and the episodes presented on this smart six-disc set show THE X FILES still capable of genuine shocks, thrills and genre-defying comedy. It’s very much the last essential series of THE X FILES and, even if the show had faded from the forefront of the public’s consciousness by now, it was still as vital and challenging as it was when it debuted all those years before.

After the slow-b urning two part opening ‘The Sixth Extinction’ Parts 2 and 3 (following on from season six’s cliffhangar) which spills much of the series previously well-hidden guts and manages to be an interesting conspiracy arc story, it’s business as usual as our heroes continue to explore the mysterious world of the paranormal. And in season seven they do it in style in a string of episodes right up there with the best in the show’s history. There are classy stand-alone horror stories like ‘Hungry’, twinkling pieces like the genie story ‘Je Souhaite’ and even an interesting if flawed cyberpunk thriller by William Gibson entitled ‘First Person Shooter’. More in evidence in this season though is the series’ willingness to push the envelope, to explore the boundaries of THE X FILES. This is done largely with sly, knowing humour, winks at the audience and at the conventions of the series itself. ‘The Amazing Maleeni’ turns out not to be an X File at all, ‘X Cops’ is a brave parody of the r eal-life COPS show which only fails because of the need to tell its story by at least some of the show’s usual narrative rules and, best of all, the Duchovny-written/directed comedy ‘Hollywood A.D’ where Mulder and Scully hit the big screen with Gary Shandling and Tea Leoni in the starring roles. Otherwise it’s business as usual; arc stories like ‘Closure’ are full of their own confusion, ‘Brand X’ and ‘Fight Club’ are routine thrillers and Gillian Anderson also contributes an episode in the hippyish ‘All Things’. The season ends with Mulder vanishing and Scully revealing a big secret to FBI head honcho Skinner. If only they’d had the sense to leave it therezp>

THE DISCS: Good quality picture and sound but a bit half-hearted on the extras front. A thirty-minute documentary races through the highlights of the season, there are a couple of commentaries and deleted scenes and perhaps the most useless extras on any DVDs yet – international clips. Er… for what purpose exa ctly?

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