The X-Files DataBase Blog

October 5, 2009

Catching up during my downtime

Filed under: Uncategorized — xfilesdb @ 7:30 pm

Between the accident while working and my appointment with the scalpel last week i have spent a lot of time catching up on TV, some recent and some not so recent.  While there has been enough current TV programming to keep me somewhat busy, i have also expanded my horizons by watching some shows that i had no interest in that are long gone.  And of course i’ve watched some stuff that you may not expect, like Community and Cougar Town.  Hey, something had to distract me from the fact that the Steelers had a 1-2 record.

A pleasant surprise over the summer was Warehouse 13, and while the new television season was starting up W13 had its season finale this past week.  Honestly i didn’t think the show’s concept would work, with monster-of-the-week episodes focusing on objects instead of freaks.  It reminded me of Seinfeld, where George Costanza at one point had bought a convertible belonging to a Jon Voight and there was question of whether it belonged to the Jon Voight, with Jerry later mocking George saying “there’s Gregory Peck’s bicycle” and “Barbara Mandrell’s skateboard.”  But the artifacts ended up being pretty cool, like Lewis Carroll’s mirror and Edgar Allen Poe’s notebook and pen.  Another very smart detail is the equipment that the agents use, like the Tesla stun guns, the communicator devices and the Warehouse computer system.  These tools are styled to look old to begin with, so these pieces won’t look dated at the end of the show’s run if it is fortunate enough to be around for years to come.  My main complaint with the show is that the 12-episode season seems as though it was written in two halves, with the character of MacPherson entering in episode 7 and monopolizing much of the story.  Another is that the destruction of the warehouse in the season finale is amusingly similar to the end of both The X-Files’ season 1 and 5 finales, particularly season 5’s “The End” where Mulder and Scully’s office is set afire, essentially destroying their work.  Those points aside, this is a fresh, unique, and smart show and i am looking forward to season 2.  By the way, what department do agents of the Secret Service belong to?  As a hint, they belonged to the Department of the Treasury until being transferred to this newly-formed department.  Answer at the end.

Fringe returned on September 17th, and in my opinion it’s stuck in a low gear.  The show left Olivia in William Bell’s office in the World Trade Center in an alternate universe, David Robert Jones chopped roughly in half,  and Walter standing in front of a grave with Peter Bishop’s name on the headstone.  Season 2 started with Olivia re-entering our universe, suddenly, and one side effect of traveling between universes is apparently complete loss of memory of that universe.  However, along with Olivia a shapeshifter returned from “over there,” with the shapeshifter changing appearance several times until he killed Charlie Francis and assumed his identity, but not before the real Charlie told Olivia the details of the large scar on his chest that was displayed last season.  The longer that the shapeshifter masquerades as Charlie the more absurd the storyline will become.  Olivia already asked “Charlie” to get her information in S2E2 and to our knowledge he didn’t follow through.  Charlie is a married man, so is he not going home, is his wife an idiot that can’t tell the difference, or did the shapeshifter snap Charlie’s wife in half and throw her in a dumpster?  This week’s episode deals with shapeshifting, so hopefully it will be finished in short order.  Mulder’s identity was assumed by the bounty hunter, Edward van Blundht, and for two episodes by Morris Fletcher because the whole idea is clumsy.  Then again the character of Charlie has been mistreated from the start.  Let’s get the questions answered, like are we watching the real Peter Bishop or is he the Peter from another universe?  That’s what we all want to know.

Wikipedia is a great thing.  By doing a search for a list of science fiction shows i found some shows that i had never seen before, so i ordered Roswell and Threshold from Netflix, and got tipped off to where to find Dark Skies.  i’m still trying to find Eleventh Hour, although it looks like it will be released on DVD very soon.

Dark skies is unique in the way that it rewrote history, like implying that JFK was killed because he was exposed to evidence of the existence of extraterrestrials.  A one-season wonder, it follows former Majestic 12 agent John Loengard and girlfriend Kimberly Sayers as they track “The Hive,” an alien race that is trying to take over the Earth.  Along the way they not only encounter Hive operatives like Jim Steele but also celebrities like The Beatles, Jim Morrison and Robert Kennedy.  The celebrities are cool, but at the same time makes it feel like live-action Scooby Doo with aliens instead of monsters.  If the Three Stooges make an appearance i may just stop.  i’ve watched 6 episodes so far, but i feel as though the time just drags along the way.

Threshold was a another one-season show from 2006, and in fact it premiered domestically on October 13, 2006.  For some reason that date seems important… hmm.  The show follows Dr. Molly Caffrey, a government crisis-management consultant who seemed to be the only person who had a plan in place in case of an invasion by extraterrestrials, that plan codenamed “Threshold.”  The whole cast is a list of somewhat-famous people.  Charles S. Dutton of “Roc” fame is NSA agent JT Blaylock, Brent “Data” Spiner is NASA microbiologist Dr. Nigel Fenway, Caffrey is portrayed by Carla Gugino of the movie “Son-in-law” and the show Entourage, but the most talented actor may be Peter Dinklage, who at 4’5″ commands the camera more than anyone and is also the most believable.  The pilot episode finds a ship encountering a UFO, and by the time the crew listed above is on scene most of the crew is dead.  Contact with the UFO had even affected the roaches and rodents on board the ship, odd recordings on the ship affect those who hear them, and a fractal triskelion pattern keeps appearing.  Unfortunately i’ve only seen 4 episodes of the 13 thus far; it’s also unfortunate that with a decent cast that it was cancelled so quickly.  i like it so far, but it also seems to drag at times.

The most successful of the shows that have been arriving in red envelopes in the mailbox is Roswell, with a run of three full seasons, and it’s easily the most watchable.  Alien-human hybrids (sound familiar) are mixed amongst the high schoolers in Roswell, NM, and the show didn’t take long to expose some of those students with a great establishing scene.  At the same time, Max gave up way too much information instead of being evasive, but maybe i’m just spoiled by Kal-El.  Of course the inclusion of Julie Benz, who grew up one town from me and is the cousin of the DJ i listen to pretty much daily, is a bonus.  Of the three new-to-me (old) shows that i’ve started watching this is my favorite thus far, but alas there are only three seasons.

So even while expanding my horizons by watching other shows i am still reminded that The X-Files is the gold standard, with shapeshifting, with alien-human hybrids, and with the rewriting of history.  It’s fun to pick them out though, from the concepts right down to The X-Files episode.  By the way, The Secret Service is part of the Department of Homeland Security.



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