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Chris Carter
David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, Robert Patrick
Writing Credits:

The Truth Is Out There.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
French DTS 2.0
German DTS 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 9061 min.
Price: $299.99
Release Date: 12/8/15

Season One::
• Audio Commentary for Two Episodes
• Series Introduction from Executive Producer Frank Spotnitz
• Two Introductions from Executive Producers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz
• “Chris Carter Talks About Season One” Featurettes
• Two Deleted Scenes
• International Clips
• Special Effects Clip
• “The Truth About Season One” Featurette
• “Behind the Truth” Featurettes
• TV Spots
Season Two::
• Audio Commentary for Three Episodes
• One Introduction from Executive Producers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz
• “Chris Carter Talks About Season Two” Featurettes
• Deleted Scenes
• International Clips
• Behind the Scenes Clips
• “The Truth About Season Two” Featurette
• “Behind the Truth” Featurettes
• TV Spots
Season Three::
• Audio Commentary for Three Episodes
• One Introduction from Executive Producers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz
• “Chris Carter Talks About Season Three” Featurettes
• Deleted Scenes
• International Clips
• Six Special Effects Sequences
• “The Truth About Season Three” Featurette
• “Behind the Truth” Featurettes
• “Threads of Mythology: Abduction” Featurette
• TV Spots
Season Four::
• Audio Commentary for Three Episodes
• One Introduction from Executive Producers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz
• Crew Interviews
• Deleted Scenes
• International Clips
• “The Truth About Season Four” Featurette
• “Behind the Truth” Featurettes
• Alternate Audio for “Home”
• Special Effects Sequences
• TV Spots
Season Five::
• Audio Commentary for Four Episodes
• Two Introductions from Executive Producers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz
• Deleted Scenes
• International Clips
• Special Effects Sequences
• “The Truth About Season Five” Featurette
• “Behind the Truth” Featurettes
• “Threads of Mythology: Black Oil” Featurette
• FX Featurette
• “Inside The X-Files” Featurette
• TV Spots
Season Six::
• Audio Commentary for Four Episodes
• One Introduction from Executive Producers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz
• Deleted Scenes
• International Clips
• Special Effects Sequences
• “The Truth About Season Six” Featurette
• Behind the Scenes Featurette
• “X-Files Profiles” Featurette
• TV Spots
Season Seven::
• Audio Commentary for Four Episodes
• Deleted Scenes
• International Clips
• Special Effects Sequences
• “The Truth About Season Seven” Featurette
• “X-Files Profiles” Featurettes
• TV Spots
Season Eight::
• Audio Commentary for Five Episodes
• Deleted Scenes
• International Clips
• Special Effects Sequences
• “The Truth About Season Eight” Featurette
• “Threads of Mythology: Colonization” Featurette
X-Files Profiles” Featurettes
• TV Spots
Season Nine::
• Audio Commentary for Three Episodes
• Deleted Scenes
• International Clips
• Special Effects Sequences
• “The Truth About Season Nine” Featurette
• “Reflections on ‘The Truth;” Featurette
• “The Making of ‘The Truth’” Featurette
• “Secrets of The X-Files” Featurette
• “More Secrets of The X-Files” Featurette
• “Reflections on The X-Files” Featurette
• “Threads of Mythology: Super Soldiers” Featurette
X-Files Profiles” Featurettes
• 2008 Wondercon Panel
• TV Spots


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The X-Files: The Complete Series (1993-2002)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 4, 2016)

One of the 1990s most iconic TV shows, all nine seasons of The X-Files come to Blu-ray via this massive “Complete Series” set. Including supplements, this spreads 202 episodes across 55 discs.

Normally when I do a review of a TV series, I cover every episode. Given the scope of this package, that seems impractical – at least in the short run. Long-term, I plan to write up individual reviews of all nine seasons, and those will rate each and every episode.

That’s going to take a whole lot of time, however, so in the interest of expediency, this review will go for the “Cliff’s Notes” take on “The Complete Series”. I’ll check out a handful of episodes per season – usually those with audio commentaries – and then cover the set’s supplements in detail. The plot synopses come from IMDB.


Pilot: “Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) is instructed to debunk an FBI project dubbed ‘The X-Files’, paranormal cases that have been reopened by Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny).”

As I mentioned in my handful of prior X-Files reviews, I didn’t watch the series as it aired. I saw the two theatrical films and also checked out a compilation disc called Revelations back in 2008.

Even so, I had moderate understanding of the characters and situations. Because of that, “Pilot” didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It sets up the series pretty well, and it offers a good story in its own right. I expected it might simply be expository, but the tale in play proves quite interesting, and it sure leads it toward the future in a satisfying manner. All that and Gillian Anderson in her underwear, too!

Deep Throat: “Mulder and Scully investigate the mysterious case of a military test pilot (Andrew Johnston) who disappeared after experiencing strange psychotic behavior.”

For the series’ second episode, X-Files looks at UFOs – or a reasonable approximation. Though the story progresses fairly well, it feels a bit underdeveloped – not surprising, given the series’ infancy at the time. Still, it has some good moments – and we get a fun guest turn from a then-teenaged Seth Green as a stoner.

Beyond the Sea: “Scully believes that the psychic predictions of a death row inmate are the only hope in apprehending a vicious murderer.”

In a twist, here Scully buys into the paranormal side of things while Mulder becomes the doubter. That creates an involving subtext, and the use of Scully’s dad adds drama to the proceedings. This turns into a solid show.

The Erlenmeyer Flask: “Deep Throat (Jerry Hardin) tips Mulder to a critically important case involving a missing fugitive and the cloning of extraterrestrial viruses.”

Season One ends with “Flask”, a fairly good finale for the year. It can be a bit meandering at times, but it brings affairs to a head and creates enough intrigue to send us toward Season Two.


The Host: “Mulder and Scully pursue the Flukeman – a murderous genetic mutation lurking in the New Jersey sewer system.”

“Host” normally sticks with a pretty standard monster story, though it creates some unusual trends at times. I like the concept of what to do with the Flukeman when they catch him; he’s not human, so do you put him on trial anyway? The show veers away from that side of things and goes back to the standard monster tale, but it remains a pretty tight program.

Duane Barry: “A former FBI agent (Steve Railsback) who claims he was abducted by aliens takes several people hostage.”

With a genuinely scary opening, “Barry” starts well. However, the tale drags too much of the time, as it devolves into a seemingly unending chat about aliens between Mulder and Barry. A few interesting twists materialize, but too much of the show plods. It ends with a cliffhanger, so perhaps the second part will work better.

Ascension: “Mulder attempts to rescue Scully after she is abducted by a strange man who believes in UFOs.”

Gillian Anderson was heavily pregnant when they shot “Ascension”, and I have to admit the narrative often feels like an attempt to deal with that subject. Much of it offers a simple – and not very interesting – chase, and the final act doesn’t get much better. It ends up as a lackluster show.

End Game: “Mulder attempts to catch an alien bounty hunter (Brian Thompson) who holds the key to his sister's whereabouts.”

With “End Game”, we get a more action/intrigue-based episode than usual. It takes a number of interesting paths and turns into a taut, involving show as well as one that moves along the series’ “mythology” well.

Anasazi: “Mulder receives an encrypted computer disk containing the defense department's top secret files on extraterrestrial life.”

Here comes the finale for Season Two, and it ends the year pretty well. A few of its plot elements go awry, but most of the program delivers a nice mix of action and intrigue. “Anasazi” advances narrative elements and leads us toward Season Three on a positive note.


Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose (Season Three): “On the trail of a serial killer, the agents seek the help of a clairvoyant (Peter Boyle) who predicts Mulder’s death.”

Guest Peter Boyle provides a nice turn as the lunch bucket psychic. The show exhibits more of a sense of humor than usual, and almost becomes campy with the celebrity seer who briefly appears. Despite a few jokey misfires, “Repose” gives us a clever and engaging episode.

Apocrypha: “Mulder uncovers clues about a cover-up involving an alien entity and a sunken World War II aircraft. Scully pursues the man who murdered her sister.”

“Apocrypha” deals largely with the series’ “mythology”, and it does so in an effective manner. I admit I prefer the “standalone” episodes of X-Files, but the overall arc works well, too, and “Apocrypha” pursues that angle in a compelling way.

Jose Chung’s “From Outer Space”: “Scully recounts the investigation of an alleged UFO encounter for a famous author (Charles Nelson Reilly) researching his latest novel.”

While many X-Files episodes seem dark and moody, “Chung’s” offers a lighter affair. With a fun guest turn by the ever-flamboyant Charles Nelson Reilly, this one gives us a clever, amusing take on the series’ usual material that makes it memorable and delightful.

Talitha Cumi: “After his mother (Rebecca Toolan) suffers a stroke, Mulder searches for an alien being who possesses miraculous healing powers.”

“Cumi” offers a good combination of Mulder’s personal concerns and the alien-related intrigue. It manages a more elegant feel than many episodes, as it gives us a flowing, lyrical view of the events. These elements make it emotional and memorable.

Possible goof: the show refers to “Suitland, Virginia”. No such place exists – Suitland is in suburban Maryland. I refer to this as a possible mistake solely because I think it’s possible the series put Suitland in the wrong state intentionally as a hint of subterfuge, but I think it’s more likely someone just erred.

More obvious mistake: at one point, Mulder refers to a road off “the I-95”. California people like to cite highways as “the 405” or whatever, but nobody in the DC area does that. We don’t even call it “I-95” most of the time – it’s just “95”. If the X-Files people had spent more time in DC, they’d have known that!


Memento Mori: “Scully attempts to come to terms with her inoperable cancer, while Mulder and the Lone Gunmen break into a high-security research lab to find the cure that could save her life.”

Matters get dark for “Mori”. Indeed, the episode occasionally borders on melodrama, and it’s a definite break from the more straightforward crime investigations in prior programs. That makes it interesting.

Max: “The investigation continues for agents Mulder and Scully of the apparent downing of Flight 549 by a UFO. They encounter deadly opposition from the military which continues to cover up the truth of incident.”

While “Max” seems enjoyable enough, the involvement of the title character becomes a bit of a drag. Max is a pretty trite “conspiracy buff” role, and the episode doesn’t do anything to alter that template. The show still has its moments, but overall it becomes an average program.

Small Potatoes: “Five unrelated women in a small town give birth to babies with small tails. The prime suspect is a man who can shape shift into whomever he wants.”

X-Files shows split into “mythology” episodes and standalone programs. I think the latter tend to be the series’ more lighthearted shows – such as “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’” – and “Potatoes” follows that path. It comes with more comedy than usual and offers a clever, fun tale.


The Post-Modern Prometheus: “While investigating the appearance of a freakish creature in a rural town, the agents uncover a dangerous genetic experiment that has spun wildly out of control.”

Plenty of X-Files shows embrace comic book style material, but not as wholeheartedly as “Prometheus”. It takes a literal view of that source and also nods heavily in the direction of horror flicks like Freaks. This adds up to a mighty odd show – and one I’m not sure we’re supposed to view as “reality” within the series’ internal world – but it entertains quite well.

Bad Blood: “While exploring the deaths of cattle killed by a series of blood extractions, the agents uncover a cult of vampires residing in a small Texas town.”

The well-worn Rashomon structure comes to The X-Files here. While we’ve seen eight jillion movies and TV episodes that use the same method, it still works, especially given the comedic bent of “Blood”. It’s a hoot to see how Scully and Mulder view each other, and we get a fun guest spot from Luke Wilson as well. It’s an engrossing and exciting episode, though who knew Mulder was such a terrible tipper? He gives the pizza guy $13 for a $12.98 order!

Patient X: “Victims of alien abductions are being killed which confounds those responsible for the alien conspiracy. They also have a problem on their hands when Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea) returns to the U.S. from Russia.”

Given that guest star Veronica Cartwright appeared in notable sci-fi efforts such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Alien, her casting in “Patient X” adds a neat twist. The episode balances two separate storylines well and becomes a provocative advancement of the series’ mythology.

The Red and the Black: “Scully survives the mass killing but has no memory of what might have happened. She agrees to undergo regression hypnosis and recalls what happened, including that Cassandra Spender (Veronica Cartwright) was re-abducted.”

“Red” offers a continuation of the tale from “Patient X”, but it doesn’t quite live up to the highs of the prior episode. It pushes along the narrative fairly well but it just lacks the intrigue of “Patient X” – “Red” feels a little “by the numbers”. It does include a masturbation joke that I’m surprised got past the censors, though, so that counts for something.

The Pine Bluff Variant: “Scully is worried about Mulder when during an undercover sting operation, Mulder apparently lets a suspect - Jacob Steven Haley (Daniel von Bargen) - escape.”

The notion of Mulder in cahoots with domestic terrorists offers an intriguing concept, and “Variant” explores it well. Of course, we know Mulder won’t really be on the dark side, but “Variant” gives us a taut little show, even if it feels like a remake of Point Break.


Triangle: “A trip to the Bermuda Triangle lands Mulder in the middle of a bizarre conflict on a mysterious ship, with the fate of the world in his hands.”

When I was a kid in the 70s, the alleged menace of the Bermuda Triangle was a big deal – whatever happened to all that? At least “Triangle” brings back memories of that period, as it gives us a good tale that involves the so-called supernatural mystery of that region as well as a crazy time-travel scenario.

Two Fathers: “After being gone for almost a year following her abduction, Cassandra Spender reappears, in perfect physical condition as the first successful alien/human hybrid.”

“Fathers” seems awfully exposition-heavy, as it spells out details more than usual. Still, it adds definite intrigue as it leads through some major points in the series’ mythology.

One Son: “Agents Mulder and Scully find themselves under strict quarantine after coming into contact with Cassandra Spender. Meanwhile, the suspicious Diana Fowley (Mimi Rogers) increases her loyalties to the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis).”

“Son” concludes the plot started in “Fathers” with a good show. The whole Spender arc has been strong, and “Son” gives it more heft. These elements allow the show to succeed.

Milagro: “A writer (John Hawkes) who lives next door to Mulder becomes the prime suspect in a series of killings.”

We get a somber and creepy show via “Milagro”. The creepiness doesn’t come via the usual eerie supernatural stuff, though. Instead, the unnerving side comes from the dark nature of the neighbor; this is the guy women don’t want to meet on Match.com. The story unfolds in a slow but compelling manner that makes it consistently interesting.


Closure: “Mulder enlists the help of Harold Piller (Anthony Heald), a police psychic, to search for the missing girl, Amber Lynn LaPierre. Meanwhile, Scully searches for answers about Samantha's abduction, leading her to the Cigarette Smoking Man. Both of their investigations lead to Mulder finally learning the truth about his sister's disappearance.”

Some actors get branded by roles more than others. As I watched “Pine Bluff Variant”, I felt a bit distracted by the presence of Daniel von Bargen as the lead terrorist, mainly because I think of him as Mr. Kruger from Seinfeld.

However, in that case, at least the actor played a role in a story far from his better-known work. That’s not the case for Anthony Heald here in “Closure”. Most will think of him as the smug psychiatrist in The Silence of the Lambs, and that connection makes it a little tough to swallow him as Piller. While Piller is a very different character than the smarmy Dr. Chilton, since both stories involve serial killers, echoes remain.

Heald does well as Piller, though, so once I got past my memories of Lambs, I thought he added to the show. The story of “Closure” offers a fairly emotional and thoughtful examination of its themes, especially in the way it digs into the status of Mulder’s sister.

First Person Shooter: “The Lone Gunmen request Mulder and Scully's assistance in a murder case at a video game company. A virtual reality game has gone haywire, and players are dying for real at the hands of Maitreya (Krista Allen), the central character in this game. Mulder and Scully enter the game in an attempt to find and stop the killer.”

Most X-Files episodes seem to have aged pretty well, but “Shooter” provides an exception to that rule. Its exploration of virtual reality feels awfully dated, and that issue drags down much of the episode. Some parts of the show succeed, but it comes across as too silly most of the time.

All Things: “Scully is finishing up the autopsy of a person at a hospital. A file mix-up involving the autopsy folder and another patient's x-ray leads Scully to discover a former lover of hers (Nicolas Surovy) has been admitted at the hospital. Meeting with him again causes Scully to re-examine the decisions she has made in her life, leading to her where she is to today.”

“All Things” offers a much more Scully-oriented episode than usual, as it focuses heavily on that character. It also digs into her past in an intriguing manner. Some aspects of it seem a bit heavy-handed, but I appreciate its atypical tone and focus.

Je Souhaite: “Two brothers (Kevin Weisman and Will Sasso) have a less than helpful genie (Paula Sorge) who grants their wishes with disastrous consequences. Mulder comes into possession of the same genie, and his wishes garner similar results.”

“Souhaite” delivers one of the series’ occasional comedic episodes, and it proves to be pretty successful. Sure, the “three wishes” notion isn’t the most creative – and the ending seems awfully reminiscent of Aladdin - but “Souhaite” treats it in a clever, amusing manner, partly due to a delightfully sardonic performance by Paula Sorge as Jenn the genie.


Within: “New Deputy Director Kersh (James Pickens Jr.) has Agent John Doggett (Robert Patrick) investigate the missing Mulder case. Doggett's skeptical treatment of Mulder's disappearance puts a thorn in Scully and Skinner's sides.”

“Within” brings a major change, as Duchovny’s Mulder departs and Patrick’s Doggett enters. Actually, Duchovny will still appear occasionally through Seasons Eight and Nine, but he essentially quit the series before S8, so he no longer played a consistent lead.

This “new era” in X-Files starts on a somewhat limp note, as “Within” doesn’t launch matters especially well. The show offers some decent story elements but it becomes a bit too over the top and borderline campy.

Without: “Scully leads Skinner and an unhappy Doggett to Arizona to protect Gibson Praise (Jeff Gulka) from an Alien Bounty Hunter disguised as the missing Mulder.”

“Without” concludes a two-part story, but not in an especially satisfying manner. It improves on “Within”, though it still relies on more melodrama than I’d like. It just doesn’t turn into anything especially memorable. I hope Season Eight rebounds from its lackluster start.

Deadalive: “Billy Miles (Zachary Ansley), thought dead, is found alive and Scully still thinks the still-dead Mulder can come back to life. Meanwhile Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) comes in contact with Krycek who may have a clue as to what exactly is happening with these dead-alive abductees.”

Season Eight continues to seem less than enthralling with the mediocre “Deadalive”. Perhaps the series had started to run its course by this point, as stories like “Deadalive” seem more sensationalistic and melodramatic than suits the show. “Deadalive” offers a few interesting moments but not enough to make it a good program.

Vienen: “Doggett and Mulder unwillingly team up investigating an oil rig where some mysterious murders have happened and the possibility of the Black Oil being involved is a haunting reality.”

While Season Eight shows signs of decline compared to prior years, I do like the not-so-friendly competition between Mulder and Doggett. Those elements add some spark to an otherwise mediocre story. While I’m not wild about the narrative itself, the actors make it watchable.

Alone: “A bizarre reptilian creature (Jay Caputo) captures Doggett and his new Mulder-obsessed partner (Jolie Jenkins) underground and only a X-Files deposed Mulder can help them.”

When “Vienen” concluded, it looked like Mulder formally would depart as well. His absence from the FBI sure didn’t last long, as he came back virtually immediately.

That seemed like a bad choice, as it didn’t allow Doggett to develop his own identity as well as he might in a Mulder-free environment. The addition of rookie Agent Harrison adds some spark, but the story itself seems almost like an X-Files parody, so don’t expect much from the episode.

Existence: “Agents Mulder, Doggett and Skinner investigate - along with Alex Krycek - the Super Soldier conspiracy, while Scully goes into hiding to have her child.”

A lackluster season ends with a lackluster episode. S8 of X-Files suffered from its basic character construction, as it never quite figured out how to balance old characters with new ones. In addition, the stories tended to be sillier than usual, and they just didn’t work.

“Existence” encapsulates those issues. It doesn’t mesh in a satisfying manner and seems too touchy-feely, another problem that marred S8. X-Files fares best when there’s a subtext of emotion, not when those feelings come to the fore. S8 – and “Existence” – veer toward sappiness, and that’s not a good look for this series.


Improbable: “Reyes (Annabeth Gish), Doggett, and Scully are pulled into a bizarre serial murder case involving the number '3', numerology as a whole, and an eccentric man who likes to play checkers (Burt Reynolds).”

With a guest appearance from Reynolds, “Improbable” starts on a promising note. However, the show plods after that, as it never quite finds a groove. The story comes with potential but the episode fails to explore it particularly well.

Jump the Shark: “The Lone Gunmen - with the (unwanted) aide of Morris Fletcher (Michael McKean) - must stop a destructive virus from entering the populace.”

In 2001, the Lone Gunmen characters got their own series – and it flopped. The Lone Gunmen lasted a mere 13 episodes and ended with a cliffhanger, one that “Shark” apparently partially resolves.

Perhaps “Shark” works better for those who followed the Gunmen series. I didn’t, which leaves it as something of an unsatisfying hodgepodge. Still, Michael McKean adds some comedic spice to the proceedings, so it’s a moderately entertaining show.

The Truth: “Mulder's return leads to his being tried before a military tribunal that seeks to justify and prove the very existence of an alien conspiracy -- and the X-Files.”

After nine seasons, X-Files comes to an end via this two-part episode – well, an end to the original series, that is. A second feature film came out in 2008 – six years after “Truth” aired – and 2016 brings a six-episode mini-series.

As a series finale, “The Truth” disappoints. Rather than pursue a truly new story, “Truth” often acts as a glorified clip show. It brings back many characters from the series’ run and uses them as an excuse to both rehash prior story elements and show a lot of scenes from earlier programs.

This creates a lackluster finish to the series’ original run. Really, “Truth” reminds me an awful lot of the final episode of Seinfeld, as both revolve around trials and involve a parade of characters from the past. As lackluster as the last Seinfeld show was, “Truth” might be worse. It’s both unsatisfying and derivative – that’s not a good combination, and it’s a weak end to a good series.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

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.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.625 Stars Number of Votes: 8
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