The X-Files appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Note that for Seasons One through Four, that represents a change from the original aspect ratio, as those episodes used 1.33:1. Seasons Five through Nine went with 1.78:1, so they remain true to their original photography.
From what I’ve read, even though the Seasons One through Four episodes ran 1.33:1, they were “protected” for 1.78:1. The degree to which the cinematographers “protected” the image remains up for grabs, though. Some sources feel notable cropping occurred, while others don’t see such problems.
Because I didn’t own prior DVD packages, I couldn’t directly compare episodes to examine the nature of the potential alterations. I can say that as I watched the Seasons One through Four programs, I didn’t notice any obvious/egregious cropping. The framing seemed natural to me and didn’t lead me to note clear framing issues. “Protection” or not, I’d prefer the shows to have remained 1.33:1, but I can’t complain about the framing as executed here.
I also felt fairly pleased with the image quality of the episodes, as they clearly looked better than ever – though perhaps not quite as good as they could/should have looked. Actually, I only observed one notable issue that bothered me: edge haloes. Quite a lot of these could be seen throughout the series, and the haloes could be rather prominent at times. These didn’t turn into a consistent/terrible distraction, but they didn’t please me.
Except for the haloes, sharpness seemed positive. Occasional examples of slight softness occurred, but not to a prominent degree.
Note that the softest scenes tended to be those with “uprezzed” visual effects. Although those behind the Blu-rays recreated many effects for high-def, some of the shots couldn’t be redone in that way, so those used the original footage. Not a ton of these occurred, so they failed to create substantial distractions, but they did lead to more than a few examples of visuals that lacked clarity.
Given the subject matter, colors tended to be subdued, with blues as the dominant hue. The palette choices varied from episode to episode to some degree, and they made sense for the series. The Blu-rays reproduced the hues in a satisfying manner.
Print flaws remained minor. I saw a fair amount of grain, which suited the photography, and only a handful of small specks popped up along the way. These were rare and inconsequential.
For the most part, blacks looked deep, and shadows showed nice smoothness, an important factor since so much of X-Files takes place in low-light/nighttime circumstances. Exceptions did occur, though, especially during Season Eight. In that batch of shows, darker shots became more impenetrable than should have been the case. This wasn’t a fatal flaw, but it led to some visual distractions.
Overall, though, I felt happy with the X-Files transfers. Despite the edge haloes and some other minor concerns, the shows looked good – certainly between than fans have ever seen them. I’m not all that happy with the altered aspect ratios of the first few seasons, but I’m still pleased with the visuals as a whole.
As for the series’ DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio, it seemed pretty good, though it betrayed its source. One shouldn’t expect movie-quality sound from a weekly TV series, so even with the 5.1 spread, the tracks remained somewhat restrained.
Still, for TV audio, the mixes worked nicely. Most of the soundscapes focused on the forward channels, where various elements demonstrated good localization and involvement. Road vehicles and flying crafts managed to move around these channels in a satisfying way,
Surround usage was less interesting, but the back speakers managed to add some kick to the proceedings. Components such as the aforementioned flying crafts – jets, UFOs, helicopters – provided the most information, though other effects such as explosions also occasionally broadened to the rear channels. While the surrounds didn’t contribute a lot, they gave us a decent sense of activity.
Audio quality showed some age but usually appeared good. Speech was consistently intelligible; I heard a little edginess at times, but the lines mainly felt natural and distinctive. Music offered nice range and warmth.
Like the dialogue, effects could be a bit rough at times. However, these elements mostly seemed accurate and concise. The effects didn’t boast great dimensionality, but they came across with pretty positive punch. Within expectations for audio from a weekly TV series, I thought X-Files presented good sound.
A variety of extras spread across all the discs. 31 episodes come with 32 audio commentaries. Across these tracks, we tend to hear a mix of episode specifics and broader series-wide observations. This means we hear about story/character areas and the show’s “mythology”, cast and performances, sets and locations, stunts and action, effects, music, editing, and related subjects.
“Deep Throat”: series creator/writer Chris Carter. Carter gives us good notes – when he speaks. He lets too much dead air pass, which makes the commentary drag too much. Still, the content works well enough to make this one worth a listen.
“The Erlenmeyer Flask”: director RW Goodwin. Goodwin tends to do little more than narrate the shows. While he gives us the occasional nugget, the chat seems slow and without much concrete information.
“Duane Barry”: writer/director Chris Carter. Carter made his directorial debut here, so he discusses those challenges in addition to the usual content. He still leaves too much dead air, but he also provides a reasonable level of insight.
“End Game”: writer/executive producer Frank Spotnitz. Spotnitz offers a well-rounded track. He proves to be chatty and informative as he covers his experiences.
“Anasazi”: director RW Goodwin. Once again, Goodwin delivers a dull discussion. He continues to do little more than describe the action onscreen, so few insights emerge.
“Apocrypha”: creator/writer Chris Carter and director Kim Manners. With Manners in tow, the dead air that marred Carter’s earlier chats becomes less of a problem. Manners helps balance Carter; they don’t bring us a scintillating commentary, but they develop a good look at the show.
“Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’”: director Rob Bowman and writer Darin Morgan. Bowman gets in occasional remarks but he mostly takes a backseat to the chatty Morgan. The writer offers a witty personality as he discusses a wide variety of episode details. This turns into one of the better X-Files commentaries.
“Talitha Cumi”: director RW Goodwin. For his third commentary, Goodwin continues the same pattern from his earlier chats. That means we learn the occasional fact but mostly just hear a discussion of the story. This leads to another mediocre track.
“Memento Mori”: executive producer/co-writer Frank Spotnitz. I liked Spotnitz’s discussion of Season Two’s “End Game”, and he presents another enjoyable chat here. Spotnitz gives us a good look at this particular episode as well as overall series issues. He loses steam during the last act but still delivers a mostly enjoyable piece.
“Memento Mori”: director Rob Bowman. Expect a pretty solid chat from Bowman. He touches on some of the same issues raised by Spotnitz but gives his own spin and helps turn this into an engaging, informative look at the show.
“Max”: director Kim Manners. While his earlier commentary with Chris Carter worked well, Manners’ solo chat flops. He delivers a handful of good notes – usually about technical areas – but leaves so much dead air that the commentary turns into a chore.
“Small Potatoes”: writer Vince Gilligan. Expect a well-rounded commentary, as Gilligan offers a nice encapsulation of matters. He discusses a good range of topics and does so with charm and humor. This becomes a pretty strong track.
“The Post-Modern Prometheus”: creator/writer/producer Chris Carter. In this track, Carter mostly looks at technical areas, with an emphasis on effects and cinematography. He also gets into other areas so despite his usual spottiness – ie, dead air – Carter gives us useful information.
“Patient X”: director Kim Manners. For his second solo commentary, Manners produces another dud. He rarely speaks, and when he does comment, he tells us little of value.
“The Red and the Black”: creator/co-writer Chris Carter. Prior Carter commentaries tended to be a bit spotty due to dead air, but this one works better than usual. Carter seems chattier than usual and he covers a good mix of subjects – I especially like his discussion of issues related to the simultaneous development of the X-Files movie.
“The Pine Bluff Variant”: writer John Shiban. For his first commentary, Shiban proves effective. He touches on both technical and creative areas as he digs into the episode. Through the X-Files Blu-rays, the writer commentaries tend to work best, and Shibam continues that trend.
“Triangle”: creator/writer/director Chris Carter. A veteran commentator at this point, this episode offers one of Carter’s weaker chats. While he still gives us a decent array of details, Carter tends to simply narrate the show too much of the time. That makes it passable but not especially good.
“Two Fathers”: director Kim Manners. Another Manners commentary, another waste of time. As usual, Manners rarely speaks, and when he does, he tends to stick with banal thoughts. Though we get a handful of insights, they’re too rare to make this a listenable chat.
“One Son”: executive producer/co-writer Frank Spotnitz. As the series wraps up a lot of ongoing “mythology” narrative points, Spotnitz sums up matters for us. This occasionally turns into basic show narration, but Spotnitz usually gives us good thoughts about the way the episode connects to the larger picture.
“Milagro”: director Kim Manners. Apparently pigs can fly – Manners offers a fairly enjoyable chat for “Milagro”. Manners covers various technical and creative elements in a mostly engaging way. This never becomes a truly great commentary, but it’s reasonably informative – and it’s precisely 283 times better than Manners’ prior tracks.
“Closure”: director Kim Manners. After the pretty good chat for “Milagro”, I hoped Manners could give us another positive piece with “Closure”. Unfortunately, he reverts to his old ways here. Once again, we find a small number of episode facts but not nearly enough to sustain attention.
“First Person Shooter”: creator/director Chris Carter. After his mediocre commentary for “Triangle”, Carter rebounds with a mostly satisfying discussion of “Shooter”. The nature of the episode means we hear a little more about effects than usual, and Carter discusses guest castin greater detail, especially as he mentions the impact sexy Krista Allen had on the set. This turns into a useful piece.
“All Things”: actor/writer/director Gillian Anderson. With her “triple threat” status for this episode, Anderson has a lot to say about it, and she makes the most of her commentary. She covers a variety of subjects, and I especially like the discussion of character backstories that had to be edited for time. Anderson delivers a very good track.
“Je Souhaite”: writer/director Vince Gilligan. I enjoyed Gilligan’s commentary for Season Four’s “Small Potatoes”, but this track works less well. Oh, Gilligan still manages to give us a lot of good notes, but he uses the piece – recorded toward the end of production for Season Nine – as a kind of “valedictory” statement. Gilligan spends a lot of time on appreciation of those involved with the series. Gilligan still makes this a likable chat, but all the thanks/praise make it a little spotty.
“Within”: director Kim Manners and actor Robert Patrick. The sight of Manners’ name on a commentary inspires terror in me, as his prior tracks were usually boring. I hoped the addition of Patrick would bring life to the commentary, and it does, as the actor does most of the talking.
That doesn’t mean we learn a whole lot about the series or episode, though. We do get occasional notes about Patrick’s character and his adaptation to the series, but we usually just hear praise for those involved. Though Patrick makes this much more listenable than Manners’ solo chats, it remains a mediocre track.
“Deadalive”: executive producer/co-writer Frank Spotnitz. Earlier Spotnitz commentaries worked pretty well, but this one seems less compelling. Spotnitz still contributes a few good notes, but he tends to narrate a little too much. Though we get enough to sustain our attention, the track remains ordinary.
“Vienen”: director Rod Hardy. This becomes Hardy’s first – and last - X-Files commentary. He does well with his opportunity, as he mixes notes about the episode itself as well as his general experiences on the series. Those factors allow this to become a largely good piece.
“Alone”: executive producer/writer/director Frank Spotnitz. Given that “Alone” acted as Spotnitz’s directorial debut, that subject dominates. He still brings out a reasonable amount of story/character info as well and creates a useful chat.
“Existence”: director Kim Manners. We get Good Manners here – or at least Better Than Usual Manners. He avoids most of his standard tendencies to provide a relatively chatty and informative commentary. It’s not great, but it’s substantially better than most Manners tracks.
“Improbable”: creator/writer/director Chris Carter. As the series nears its end, Carter works to pull elements together. He touches on a variety of episode and series-specific notes for another good discussion.
“Jump the Shark”: writer Vince Gilligan, writer John Shiban and executive producer/writer Frank Spotnitz. The only three-person commentary, this one works well. We get notes about the Long Gunmen series and the struggles those involved face in their attempts to allow the Gunmen one last hoorah here. This turns into one of the series’ better commentaries.
“The Truth”: director Kim Manners. I hoped we’d get Good Manners for the series’ final commentary, but unfortunately, we get the tedious one instead. Manners leaves lots of dead air and doesn’t tend to say much more than what a great experience the series was. “Truth” finishes the commentaries on a dull note.
When we examine Season One, we find a mix of materials. Short featurettes accompany 12 episodes via Chris Carter Talks About Season One. We find segments for “Pilot” (4:54), “Deep Throat” (1:29), “Squeeze” (3:31), “Conduit” (4:16), “Ice” (2:05), “Fallen Angel” (4:19), “Eve” (1:52), “Beyond the Sea” (3:16), “EBE” (2:22), “Darkness Falls” (2:42), “Tooms” (1:59) and “The Erlenmeyer Flask” (2:28). In these, Carter gives us specifics about the shows and how they connect to the series. Though brief, the segments offer some interesting details.
For Season One, we find two Deleted Scenes for the “Pilot”. These last a total of two minutes, 54 seconds and show Scully’s boyfriend. I don’t believe the boyfriend character ever appeared on the series, so his appearance here offers an interesting view of how Scully could’ve developed.
With International Clips, we can view some scenes with a few non-English dubs. These cover “Pilot”, “ “The Jersey Devil”, “Ice”, “Space”, “Fire”, “Beyond the Sea”, “EBE”, Tooms”, and “The Erlenmeyer Flask”. The languages offered vary per clip, but we always get some mix of German, Japanese, Spanish, and Italian. I don’t
Alongside “Fallen Angel”, we find a Special Effects Clip. It lasts 33 seconds and shows us the scene before effects were added. It’d work better if it displayed “after” as well, but I guess the disc’s producers figure we’ve seen the show.
On Season One, Disc One, we get a 36-second Series Introduction from writer/executive producer Frank Spotnitz. This was created for a 2008 compilation DVD called Revelations. It doesn’t introduce the series – it introduces that collection of episodes. As such, it’s a perplexing piece to include here.
We also get introductions from Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz for “Pilot” (1:10) and “Beyond the Sea” (1:38). They tell us a smidgen about the show’s characters and conceits. Of the two, the intro for “Sea” is better, but neither tells us much.
The Truth About Season One runs 11 minutes, five seconds and features Carter, producer/director Daniel Sackheim, supervising producer/writer Howard Gordon, director David Nutter, co-producer Paul Rabwin, visual effects producer Mat Beck, composer Mark Snow, and actor Dean Haglund. “Truth” covers aspects of the series like effects, music, photography, story/character areas, cast and performances. “Truth” seems a bit scattered and unfocused, but it still delivers some interesting notes.
With Behind the Truth, we find 12 short clips. These fill a total of 12 minutes, 37 seconds and offer notes from Spotnitz, Haglund, Beck, Snow, Goodwin, writers/producers James Wong and Glen Morgan, executive producer Howard Gordon, special effects coordinator Dave Gauthier, makeup effects artist Toby Lindala, animal trainer Debbie Coe, casting director Rick Millikan, props assistant Kathie Sharpe, story editor John Shiban, set decorator Shirley Ingot, assistant set decorator Brad MacMurray, and actors William B. Davis, David Duchovny, Jerry Hardin, Tom Braidwood and Bruce Harwood. These snippets were created to promote the series’ reruns on the FX channel. That means they remain superficial, but some good nuggets emerge along the way.
47 Season One Television Spots occupy a total of 14 minutes, four seconds. These give us promos for all of Season One’s episodes.
With that, we head to Season Two. Chris Carter Talks About Season Two gives us featurettes for 11 episodes: “Little Green Men” (1:59), “The Host” (3:06), “Sleepless” (2:33), “Duane Barry” (2:23), “Ascension” (2:04), “One Breath” (3:10), “Irresistible” (2:24), “Die Hand Die Verletzt” (1:50), “Colony” (2:13), “End Game” (2:28), and “Anasazi” (1:53). As was the case with the Season One clips, these tend to be basic, as they touch on a mix of episode and series details. They still give us decent insights about the episodes and the series as a whole.
Prior to “The Host”, we find an introduction from Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz. In this one-minute, 33-second clip, they give us a basic lead-in to the episode. Don’t expect much other than general thoughts.
Deleted Scenes accompany four episodes: “Sleepless” (1:20), “3” (0:30), and “Humbug” (1:09). Of the three, only “Sleepless” offers anything notable, as it introduces an alternate actor as “X”.
“Sleepless” includes non-optional commentary from producer Paul Rabwin, as he tells us about the deletion. It seems odd we can’t view it without the commentary, but perhaps the original audio is lost.
During Season Two, we find Behind the Scenes Clips for “End Game” (0:37), “Humbug” (1:05) and “Anasazi” (0:31). With “End Game”, we see “building the conning tower” and hear commentary from Chris Carter. “Humbug” lets us see Gillian Anderson eat a cricket, and lets us see how the crew made a Vancouver location look like the Mexican desert; the latter also includes notes from Carter. All three are interesting.
We also find International Clips for “Duane Barry”, “One Breath”, “Humbug” and “Anasazi”. Once again, these let us view scenes in a mix of German, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish. Once again, they bore me.
During the 14-minute, 32-second The Truth About Season Two, we hear from Carter, Goodwin, producer/director Rob Bowman, writer/executive producer Frank Spotnitz, supervising producer/writer Howard Gordon, producer Paul Rabwin, visual effects producer Mat Beck, producer/director Daniel Sackheim, writer/actor Darin Morgan, producer/director Kim Manners, and actors Steve Railsback, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis, and Dean Haglund. “Truth” covers the development of the series’ “mythology” and other character/story domains, cast and performances, effects, and various production tidbits. “Truth” doesn’t offer a concise overview, but it throws out some interesting notes and deserves a look.
Next comes Behind the Truth and its nine clips. These take up a total of nine minutes, 20 seconds and offer notes from Rabwin, Spotnitz, Railsback, Darin Morgan, Davis, Haglund, Manners, story editor John Shiban, producers/writers James Wong and Glen Morgan, casting director Rick Millikan, key hair stylist Anji Bemben, actor/assistant director Tom Braidwood, casting director Coreen Mayrs, makeup effects Toby Lindala, and actors Steven Williams and Brian Thompson. These snippets were created to promote the series’ reruns on the FX channel. They offer some brief but generally enjoyable episode notes.
49 Season Two Television Spots occupy a total of 13 minutes, 13 seconds. These give us promos for all of Season Two’s episodes.
As we shift to Season Three, we get more featurettes under Chris Carter Talks About Season Three. The writer/director/creator chats for 12 episodes: “The Blessing Way” (2:06), “Paper Clip” (1:57), “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” (1:54), “Nisei” (1:59), “731” (1:58), “War of the Coprophages” (1:53), “Piper Maru” (1:27), “Apocrypha” (1:28), “Pusher” (1:29), “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’” (1:10), “Wetwired” (1:24) and “Talitha Cumi” (1:37). As usual, Carter mainly focuses on episode specifics, though he ties the programs into the bigger picture as well. The clips seem too brief to deliver much depth, but they offer some useful notes.
To open “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”, we get an introduction by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz. This lasts one minute, 43 seconds and provides a few minor thoughts. Like prior intros, this one seems decent but doesn’t add a lot.
Five episodes bring us deleted scenes: “The Blessing Way” (4:03), “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Respose” (1:51), “The List” (3:09), “Revelations” (2:19) and “Avatar” (2:39). These seem mildly interesting as best, without a lot of substance to them. “Blessing” works best because it adds to our view of Scully’s mother and sister.
We can view these with or without commentary from Carter. He tells us some basics about the sequences as well as why they got cut. The commentaries add a bit of value.
Seven Special Effects Sequences appear. These come for “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” (4:04), “The Walk” (1:31), “731” (0:57), “Apocrypha” (1:48), “Teso Dos Bichos” (1:36), “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’” (2:27) and “Quagmire” (0:54). The clips show raw footage of effects elements and include commentary from visual effects producer Mat Beck. I like this kind of material and think the segments work well.
We also find International Clips for “Paper Clip”, “The Walk”, “War of the Coprophages”, “Piper Maru”, “Pusher” and “Talitha Cumi”. As usual, these let us view scenes in a mix of German, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish. I don’t care for them, but others might.
The Truth About Season Three lasts 21 minutes, 18 seconds and provides comments from Carter, Beck, directors Rob Bowman and Kim Manners, executive producer/writer Frank Spotnitz, writer John Shiban, producer Paul Rabwin, writer/actor Darin Morgan, and actor Mitch Pileggi. “Truth” examines story/character/”mythology” areas, effects, cast and performances, and various production tidbits. Like prior “Truth” featurettes, this one jumps around a lot, but it gives us a good mix of details and becomes fun and interesting.
Threads of Mythology: Abduction fills 27 minutes, 29 seconds with info from Carter, Spotnitz, Manners, Bowman, Shiban, Rabwin, executive producer Howard Gordon, 2nd unit director Brett Dowler, producer John Patrick Finn, director of photography John S. Bartley, executive producer/director Robert Goodwin, script supervisor Helga Ungurait, composer Mark Snow, and actors Brian Thompson, David Duchovny and Sheila Larken. “Threads” displays a timeline for important X-Files events and gets into thoughts about the progression of the series’ “mythology”. It also touches on technical elements like photography and music and how these changed for the “mythology” shows. We learn some of this info elsewhere, but “Threads” gives us a good overview.
Next comes Behind the Truth and its 17 clips. With a running time of 17 minutes, 33 seconds, we hear from Shiban, Darin Morgan, Goodwin, Manners, Spotnitz, Beck, Gordon, Bartley, animal trainer Debbie Coe, makeup effects artist Toby Lindala, art director Gary Pembroke Allen, special effects coordinator Dave Gauthier, construction coordinator Rob Maier, editor Michael Stern, producer John Patrick Finn, stand-in Jaap Broeker, stunt coordinator Toby Morrell, supervising producer/writer Vince Gilligan, caterer Lisanne Collette, craft services Ora Crutcher, script supervisor Pat Barry, and actors Gillian Anderson, Bruce Harwood, Dean Haglund, and Robert Wisden. These snippets were created to promote the series’ reruns on the FX channel. They’re very quick looks at aspects of various episodes, and they’re reasonably fun despite their brevity.
43 Season Three Television Spots occupy a total of 12 minutes, 52 seconds. These give us promos for all of Season Three’s episodes.
Now we go to Season Four. Unlike prior years, Season Four lacks “Chris Carter Talks About…” featurettes, but we do get a mix of episode-specific interviews.
In these, we hear from executive producer/writer Frank Spotnitz (“Herrenvolk” – 1:47), writer James Wong (“Home” – 2:20), writer Vince Gilligan (“Unruhe” – 2:16), creator/writer/director Chris Carter (“Tunguska” – 3:19) and writer Vince Gilligan (“Paper Hearts” – 1:38). They cover topics like locations, story/character areas, stunts/effects, cast and performances, and episode details. The brevity of the segments means they lack a lot of depth, but they give us a few nice thoughts.
Deleted Scenes come for seven episodes: “Home” (0:54), “Unruhe” (0:35), “Tunguska” (2 scenes – 3:20), ‘The Field Where I Died” (2:32), “Paper Hearts” (1:42), “Memento Mori” (2 – 6:10), and “Max” (1:42). A few interesting moments emerge, but I don’t think we lose anything major. I do like the creepy segment from “Hearts”, though.
We get optional commentary from Chris Carter all of the scenes except those from “Home”, “Unruhe”, and “The Field Where I Died”. He doesn’t tell us much, as he stays pretty basic. Still, he gives us some decent insights.
Eight Special Effects Sequences appear. With commentary from producer Paul Rabwin, we locate clips for “Herrenvolk” (2:08), “Leonard Betts” (2:34), “Memento Mori” (2 segments – 3:38), “Unrequited” (0:30), “Max” (2 segments – 1:13) and “Synchrony” (0:43). These show raw effects footage and Rabwin explains what we see. They’re fun glimpses behind the scenes.
The “Home” episode offers a version with alternate audio. Actually, this only changes the sound for one sequence, a shot in which we see a baby buried alive – in the alternate take, that is. According to a blurb, the show’s producers were asked to alter the audio to make the baby dead when it’s buried. It’s a small shift that gives the episode a different vibe right off the bat.
Continuing a tradition from prior seasons, we locate an introduction from Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz for “Memento Mori”. The clip lasts 2 minutes, 37 seconds and gives us a short overview of the show. The intro brings us a few minor background insights.
We also find International Clips for “Home”, “Tunguska”, “Paper Hearts”, “Memento Mori”, “Tempus Fugit” and “Gethsemane”. These allow us to check out some scenes in German, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish. I don’t care for them, but others might.
During The Truth About Season Four, we get a 23-minute, 55-second show with notes from Carter, Rabwin, Gilligan, Spotnitz, directors Kim Manners and RW Goodwin, rerecording mixer David West, writer/actor Darin Morgan, co-executive producer/writer John Shiban, and actors William B. Davis, Mitch Pileggi and Dean Haglund. “Truth” looks at story/character subjects, stunts and effects, the alternate audio for “Home”, sets, and other episode details. “Truth” remains a somewhat scattershot show, but it throws in plenty of interesting moments.
Next comes Behind the Truth and its 14 clips. With a running time of 13 minutes, 41 seconds, we hear from Davis, Wong, Spotnitz, Shiban, Gordon, Manners, Goodwin, Gilligan, Darin Morgan,
editors Scott Minnear and Jim Gross, writer Glen Morgan, makeup effects artist Toby Lindala, production designer Graeme Murray, costumer Lorna M. Kring, director Rob Bowman, 1st AD Vladimir Steffoff, director of photography Joel Ransom, construction coordinator Rob Maier,
and actors David Duchovny, Scott Bellis, Nicholas Lea, and Gillian Anderson. Quick promotional beats, these deliver small glimpses of different production elements. Though they fly by quickly, they offer pretty useful thoughts.
48 Season Four Television Spots occupy a total of 12 minutes, 53 seconds. These give us promos for all of Season Four’s episodes.
Time to head to Season Five and two episodes with introductions from Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz. These intros accompany “The Post-Modern Prometheus” (1:45) and “Bad Blood” (1:51). Neither tells us a lot, but they’re decent ways to start the shows.
A staple of the X-Files Blu-rays, a few episodes come with international clips. These come with “Redux”, “Christmas Carol”, “Kill Switch”, “Patient X”, and “The End”. As usual, they allow us to view selected scenes in German, Italian, Japanese and/or Spanish. They continue to leave me cold.
We find an allotment of deleted scenes. These come for “The Post-Modern Prometheus” (2 sequences, 2:24), “Christmas Carol” (2:27), “The Red and the Black” (1:48), and “All Souls” (2, 3:27). A few work pretty well – especially a discussion between Mulder and Scully in “Red” – but most seem fairly superfluous.
Carter commentary accompanies the scenes. He gives us basics about the shots and why they were cut. Carter doesn’t tell us a ton, but he gives us acceptable notes.
For a few shows, we get Special Effects Sequences: “Emily” (1:03), “Chinga” (2 clips, 2:31), “Patient X” (3:30), “The Red and the Black” (2:11), “Travelers” (1:20), “All Souls” (1:51) and “Folie a Deux” (1:56). These let us see the creation/development of various effects along with commentary from producer Paul Rabwin. The mix of visuals and narration allow these clips to work well.
A continuation of a series from earlier packages, The Truth About Season Five lasts 19 minutes, 23 seconds and features Carter, Rabwin, Spotnitz, writers John Shiban and Vince Gilligan, director Kim Manners, directors RW Goodwin and Rob Bowman, and actors Dean Haglund, Veronica Cartwright, and Mimi Rogers. As usual, this piece looks at story/character/”mythology” as well as cast/performances, effects/stunts, and connections to the 1998 X-Files movie. “Truth” runs through various S5 episodes and gives us a nice collection of notes and insights.
Also found on earlier seasons, Behind the Truth offers 11 clips that fill a total of 11 minutes, 31 seconds. Across these, we hear from Gilligan, Bowman, Goodwin, Manners, hair stylist Anji Bemben, researcher Lee Smith, writer William Gibson, prop master Ken Harilyw, makeup effects artists Toby Lindala and Geoff Redknap, casting director Coreen Mayrs, and actors David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Don S. Williams, Chris Owens, Laurie Holden, John Finn and Nicholas Lea. These provide quick glimpses of various episodes and behind the scenes tidbits. They’re short but fun.
During the 31-minute, 40-second Threads of Mythology: Black Oil, we find comments from Carter, Shiban, Spotnitz, Bowman, Manners, Lindala, Rabwin, executive producer Howard Gordon, special effects coordinator Dave Gauthier, special effects supervisor Mat Beck, construction coordinator Rob Maier, 2nd unit director Brett Dowler, casting director Lynne Carrow, script supervisor Helga Ungurait, set decorator Shirley Inget, and actors Tom Braidwood and Michael McKean. Like a prior program about abduction, this one gives us a timeline for important series events as well as notes about “black oil” and connected areas. “Threads” offers a nice overview of these domains.
With Inside The X-Files, we discover a 45-minute, 29-second show with remarks from Carter, Andeson, Duchovny, Haglund, Braidwood, Lea, Holden, and actors Mitch Pileggi, Brian Thompson, William B. Davis, Sheila Larken, Bruce Harwood, Steven Williams and Jerry Hardin. Created in 1998 to tout the then-upcoming X-Files movie, “Inside” acts as a series primer, with an emphasis on bringing people up to date for the film. That means it gives us a general overview of the series’ narrative arc and characters. It functions fine in that regard, but it won’t tell fans anything new.
An FX Featurette runs one minute, 54 seconds. It offers quick comments from Carter, Duchovny, and Anderson. It’s just an ad for the series.
Finally, we get television spots for all of Season Five’s episodes. These 40 clips last a total of 10 minutes, 41 seconds.
Now that we shift to Season Six, we find more deleted scenes. We get these for “Tithonus” (3 segments, 5:56), “Two Fathers” (2, 3:39), “One Son” (2, 3:52), “Arcadia” (2:28), “Alpha” (1:25), “Milagro” (1:19), “The Unnatural” (4, 8:07), and “Biogenesis” (2:11). A few of these offer reasonable exposition – none seem crucial, but we do get some interesting material. I do like the chance to see the “Unnatural” sequences with Darren McGavin instead of M. Emmet Walsh, though; the latter replaced the former when McGavin took ill.
We can view the scenes with or without commentary from writer/executive producer Frank Spotnitz. He gives us basics about the shots as well as why they were removed. Spotnitz provides decent thoughts.
More international clips appear for “The Beginning”, “Dreamland II”, “Two Fathers”, “Arcadia”, “Three of a Kind” and “Biogenesis”. These let us check out scenes with dubbing in Italian, German, Spanish and/or Japanese. I think they’re forgettable but they’re a painless addition.
We also find Special Effects Sequences for nine episodes: “Triangle” (2:10), “Dreamland” (2 clips, 1:04), “Dreamland II” (1:03), “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas” (2:02), “Terms of Endearment” (2:21), “The Rain King” (4, 4:14), “Two Fathers” (0:14), “Trevor” (0:39), and “The Unnatural” (1:33).
An introduction from Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz opens “Milagro”. It goes for one minute, 51 seconds – and includes a little comedic interaction between Carter and actor Gillian Anderson. It doesn’t tell us much.
The Truth About Season Six lasts 20 minutes, 58 seconds and features Carter, Manners, Rabwin, Spotnitz, production designer Corey Kaplan, special makeup effects designer John Vulich, makeup department head Cheri Montesanto-Medcalf, writers Vince Gilligan and John Shiban, director Rob Bowman,
and actors Dean Haglund, William B. Davis, Mitch Pileggi, and Mimi Rogers. We learn of shifts that came with the series move to LA from Vancouver, story/character/mythology elements, sets and production design, effects, editing, cast and performances, and a few episode specifics. As usual, “Truth” flits about quite a lot, but it offers a nice collection of insights.
Two more featurettes follow. Behind the Scenes takes up two minutes, one second and shows Carter, Pileggi, and actors Chris Owens and David Duchovny. It offers nothing more than a promo piece.
With the six-minute, seven-second X-Files Profiles, we learn more about the “Cigarette-Smoking Man”. This delivers info from Davis, Spotnitz, Anderson, Bowman, Pileggi, Manners, Owens, Rogers, and special effects artist Robert Calvert. Created for an international cut that combined “Two Fathers” and “One Son” into a single film, we get an overview of the CSM character and the episodes in question. A few decent details emerge, but this mostly seems like an advertisement.
Season Six ends with the usual collection of television spots. We see 44 of these, with a total running time of 11 minutes, 46 seconds.
Season Seven opens with deleted scenes. These accompany seven episodes: “Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati” (1:33), “Orison” (1:12), “Signs & Wonders” (1:40), “Closure” (1:33), “Theef” (1:32), “En Ami” (3, 6:49), and “Requiem” (2, 4:00). Like past deleted scenes, these tend to be fairly minor bits of exposition. Some seem moderately interesting, but none of them stand out as great.
These can be checked out with or without commentary from writer/director/creator Chris Carter. He tells us the standard thoughts about the scenes and the reasons for their deletion. A few useful thoughts emerge.
We also get the inevitable international clips. These accompany “The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati”, “The Amazing Maleeni”, “Closure”, “En Ami”, “Hollywood AD” and “Requiem”. As always, we can view these scenes with Spanish, Italian, German or Japanese audio. I still think they’re boring.
Another standard feature, special effects sequences pop up for 10 episodes: “Sixth Extinction” (0:32), “Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati” (2:27), “Millennium” (0:59), “Rush” (two clips, 4:13), “The Goldberg Variation” (0:44), “Signs & Wonders” (2, 2:33), “First Person Shooter” (1:49), “All Things” (2:36), “Je Souhaite” (2, 4:18) and “Requiem” (1:14). In these, we view effects footage with commentary from producer Paul Rabwin. These give us a nice look at the creation of the effects, and Rabwin adds useful details.
Next comes The Truth About Season Seven. This 19-minute, 57-second featurette offers info from Carter, Rabwin, Gilligan, Manners, Anderson, special makeup effects supervisor John Vulich, writer/director/executive producer Frank Spotnitz, executive producer/writer John Shiban, and actors Mimi Rogers, David Duchovny, Tea Leoni and Dean Haglund.
Seven years in, we know what to expect: a mix of season overview and episode specifics, with notes about story/characters, effects, cast and performances, and related areas. All the “Truth” programs work well, but this one seems better than most, partly because it discusses the ways the producers tried to “wrap up” the series in case they didn’t return for another year.
We also find two X-Files Profiles. These look at “AD Skinner” (6:15) and “Samantha Mulder” (5:12). We find comments from Pileggi, Spotnitz, Manners, makeup effects artist Greg Funk, bug wrangler Steve Kutcher, director Rob Bowman, visual effects producer Bill Millar, and actor Megan Leitch. Created for the international home video market, these pieces give us some character and episode basics. These provide a few good details but not much substance.
The season finishes with television clips. We find 42 of these ads, with a total running time of 12 minutes, 52 seconds.
Let’s head to Season Eight, shall we? We find deleted scenes for five episodes: “Surekill” (1:12), “Badlaa” (1:21), “Per Manum” (1:45), “Empedocles” (1:15), and “Existence” (3 scenes, 5:26). These tend toward short expository bits and don’t bring much to the table.
We can view the scenes with or without commentary from writer/executive producer Frank Spotnitz and writer John Shiban. They offer the standard thoughts about the sequences as well as why the segments got the boot. They offer better than average notes.
Special Effects Sequences pop up for seven episodes: “Without” (1:14), “Salvage” (0:58), “This Is Not Happening” (3:54), “Empedocles” (1:56), “Vienen” (3:28), “Alone” (1:38) and “Existence” (2:05). Producer Paul Rabwin adds commentary to the effects footage and helps make these snippets fun and informative.
The usual international clips appear. These show up for “Within”, “Via Negativa”, “The Gift”, “Three Words”, “Essence” and “Existence”. Through these, we can view scenes in Spanish, German, Italian and/or Japanese. Eight years along and I still don’t care.
A few more staples wrap up Season Eight. The Truth About Season Eight runs 23 minutes, 12 seconds and features Spotnitz, Patrick, Shiban, Rabwin, creator Chris Carter, director of photography Bill Roe, composer Mark Snow, location manager Ilt Jones, production designer Corey Kaplan, visual effects supervisor John Wash, makeup supervisor Cheri Montesanto-Medcalf, executive producer Vince Gilligan, makeup effects artist Matthew Mungle, and actor Annabeth Gish.
“Truth” covers the casting of new actors and the introduction of new characters, story areas, music, locations and production design, effects, and various episode specifics. As usual, “Truth” offers a nice snapshot of the season, with a good mix of details.
Threads of Mythology: Colonization lasts 27 minutes, 15 seconds and includes Spotnitz, Manners, Carter, Shiban, 2nd unit director Brett Dowler, location managers Louisa Gradnitzer and Todd Pittson, construction coordinator Rob Maier, executive producer/director RW Goodwin, script supervisor Helga Ungurait and director/producer Rob Bowman.
As with prior “Threads” entries, “Colonization” touches on significant dates in the X-Files universe and recaps issues related to the title topic. It becomes another fairly tight and informative show.
We also get three X-Files Profiles, and these come for “Gibson Praise” (6:02), “John Doggett” (6:22) and “Alex Krycek” (6:23). Across these, we hear from Manners, Patrick, co-director Tony Wharmby, and actors Gillian Anderson, Zachery Ansley, Mitch Pileggi, Nicholas Lea and Jeff Gulka.
Created for the international home video market, these give us background for the characters in question as well as related story elements. They provide decent overviews but lack a lot of depth.
We finish Season Eight with the expected allotment of TV spots. We find 42 of these, with a total running time of 11 minutes, 12 seconds.
Finally, we get to Season Nine. Deleted Scenes appear for six programs: “Nothing Important Happened Here Today” (2 scenes, 7:32), “4-D” (2, 4:10), “Lord of the Flies” (2:08), “Provenance” (1:29), “Jump the Shark” (1:40), and “The Truth” (3, 4:18). As usual, the cut sequences seem mostly forgettable – they flesh out matters a little but don’t add much.
We can view the scenes with or without commentary from Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz. They tell us some production details as well as the rationale for the deletions. They sputter a little but usually give us reasonable information.
As expected, we locate more special effects sequences. These come for eight episodes: “4-D” (0:41), “Lord of the Flies” (1:09), “John Doe” (0:58), “Provenance” (0:49), “Audrey Pauley” (1:26), “Improbable” (1:19), “Sunshine Days” (1:49) and “The Truth” (2, 4:14). We view effects footage at different stages and hear commentary from producer Paul Rabwin. (Visual effects supervisor Mat Beck discusses the final clip for “The Truth”.) These always prove to be enjoyable additions to the packages.
One final batch of international clips appear. These show up for “Nothing Important Happened Today II”, “Trust No 1”, “Provenance”, “William” and “The Truth”. These show scenes with the option of German, Japanese, Spanish and/or Italian audio. I still find them forgettable.
To accompany the series finale, we get Reflections on “The Truth”. This goes for 13 minutes, 12 seconds and includes notes from Carter, Manners, Spotnitz, Gilligan, Patrick, Rabwin, Beck, co-executive producer Michelle MacLaren, supervising producer David Amann, composer Mark Snow, executive story editor Steven Maeda, location manager Ilt Jones, director of photography Bill Roe, producer Harry V. Bring, special makeup effects artist Matthew V. Mungle, 1013 Productions VP Mary Astadourian, makeup department head Cheri Montesanto-Medcalf, visual effects supervisor John Wash, editors Lynne Willingham and Scott James Wallace, and actors David Duchovny, Annabeth Gish, Tom Braidwood, Bruce Harwood, Dean Haglund, Burt Reynolds, Mitch Pileggi and Gillian Anderson.
“Reflections” offers little more than a long goodbye to the series, as all involved talk about how wonderful everything and everybody was. It’s a snoozer.
Another staple, The Truth Behind Season Nine runs 20 minutes, 44 seconds and features Spotnitz, Gilligan, Shiban, Carter, Patrick, Manners, MacLaren, Beck, Rabwin, Mungle, Amann, Monsanto-Medcalf, Wash, Roe, production designer Corey Kaplan and actor Cary Elwes. We learn of story/character areas and the series’ end, cast and performances, stunts and effects, audio and editing, and some episode specifics. Prior “Truth” featurettes worked well, and this one continues that trend with a nice batch of details.
Wondercon Panel 2008 goes for 26 minutes, 48 seconds and features Carter, Spotnitz, Anderson and Duchovny. An event that preceded the release of the second X-Files movie, much of the content reflects on that effort – so much that the presence of the “Panel” here makes little sense. Why not put it on the Blu-ray for the 2008 movie? We get a few thoughts about the series and it’s an enjoyable Q&A, but it still seems misplaced here.
Two matching featurettes appear via Secrets of The X-Files (42:58) and More Secrets of The X-Files (45:05). Both programs were created as mid-90s TV specials, and they apparently intended to act as series overviews/primers.
“Secrets” offers nothing more than episode clips, but “More Secrets” comes with comments from Carter, Duchovny and Anderson. Don’t expect much from them, though as they provide few comments and even fewer actual insights, as they stick with character/story basics.
Honestly, both “Secrets” shows seem useless as anything other than archival pieces for completists. They’re simply repositories for episode clips that would be good to bring non-fans “up to date” but become pointless for folks who own all the actual shows – and one assumes that anyone who watches Season Nine saw all the prior programs.
Reflections on The X-Files takes up 17 minutes, 42 seconds and comes with info from filmmaker Kevin Smith, composers the Dust Brothers and actors Donal Logue, Kristen Davis, Cher, Seth Green, Bryan Cranston, Martin Landau, Paul McCrane, Alex Trebek, Ed Asner, Burt Reynolds, Mimi Rogers, Peter Boyle and Kevin Weisman. They offer thoughts about their guest appearances and give us light but fun notes.
Another part of a continuing series, Threads of Mythology: Super Soldiers lasts 26 minutes, 59 seconds and features Spotnitz, Shiban, Patrick, Manners, Gish, Carter, MacLaren, Gordon, Braidwood, Rabwin, and producer Harry V. Bring. As with prior featurettes of this sort, “Soldiers” offers a timeline and insights related to the topic at hand. It becomes another good overview.
We also get two X-Files Profiles. These come for “Monica Reyes” (6:46) and “Brad Follmer” (7:46). Made for the international home video releases, these feature Gish, Elwes, Spotnitz, Patrick, Manners, and actor James Pickens Jr. We find general looks at character/story domains in these superficial summaries.
Next comes The Making of “The Truth”. It runs one hour, seven minutes and 45 seconds as it delivers a behind the scenes look at the creation of the series’ final episode. “Making” uses a “fly on the wall” approach, so its only “interview comments” come from the shoot. I like this form of program and think “Making” gives us a nice look at the production.
As always, we locate television spots. These take up a total of 11 minutes, 12 seconds and bring us 38 ads.
A landmark television series, The X-Files comes with the inevitable ups and downs across its nine seasons – especially toward the end. Nonetheless, it does more right than wrong and delivers a lot of good entertainment. The Blu-ray bring us mostly positive picture and audio along with an often informative set of supplements. Fans should feel happy with this high-quality package.