Saturday, June 18, 2005

Tee-Vee on Dee-Vee-Dee

There aren't too many TV shows I'd want to collect on DVD in their entirety. I have the first season of Millennium, and I plan to acquire the second, but not the third (because if you watched that third season, you know how bad it was). I do want to eventually own all three seasons of Once and Again (currently I don't have any of them), and I'd certainly want each season that has so far elapsed of Scrubs. I'd also like to have the one season that exists of My So-Called Life (God, that was a brilliant show), and maybe a few others that are escaping me at the moment.

I was a big fan of The X-Files when it was originally airing, although I didn't really sign on for watching it each week until sometime in the third season. And yes, the last two seasons suffered greatly (here's what I wrote after the series finale aired, summing up my feelings at the time). But as much as I loved the show, there's no way I'd ever acquire any of its entire seasons on DVD. First, they're too expensive, and second, given the show's mytharc, having any season would really nag at me to get all of them. Not happening.

But while at Target today shopping for the Daughter's impending birthday, I noticed this item for sale, and I grabbed it up. It seems that 20th Century Fox is putting just the "mytharc" episodes of The X-Files into their own separate DVD packages, starting with this one collecting episodes from the first two seasons (plus the first two episodes of Season Three), and with three other sets to follow. This makes me happy, because as much as I enjoyed a lot of the "Monster of the Week" episodes, the mytharc is what really pulled me in. So I'm glad they're doing this.

But I also hope that they do an "X-Files Best Standalones" set sometime in the future, because while the bulk of the show's run probably comprises episodes I'm not eager to ever watch again (not that I'd turn them off if I ran across them on late-night TV), there are a lot of wonderful non-mytharc episodes I'd want to have on DVD. I'm thinking of episodes like these (links to this episode guide):

:: "Squeeze" and "Tooms". These two creepy episodes feature the nefarious Eugene Victor Tooms, who is able to squeeze his body into very tight places. The latter episode features one of my favorite Mulderisms, when Agent Mulder dips his fingers into an unknown substance that Scully then identifies as bile: "Is there any way I can get it off my fingers without betraying my cool exterior?"

:: "Beyond the Sea". I think I fell a little bit in love with Gillian Anderson the first time I saw this Scully-centric episoden which also stars Brad Dourif as a death-row killer who may or may not have some psychic abilities.

:: Sleepless. Here's a good episode, not from the mytharc, that revolves around Mulder's deep suspicion that our government is out to get us. It also introduces Rat Boy, a.k.a. Alex Krycek.

:: Die Hand der Verletz. Horror in a high school where the PTA closes each meeting with a prayer to Satan. You can't get better than that.

:: Humbug, one of the wonderful black-comedy episodes written by Darin Morgan. This one takes Mulder and Scully into the wonderful world of sideshow freaks.

:: Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose. Another Darin Morgan episode, this one starring Peter Boyle as a man who can foresee people's deaths. This one received much attention from X-philes for Clyde Bruckman's reply when Scully asks him how she dies: "You don't."

:: War of the Coprophages. Cockroaches. Lots of cockroaches. Lots and lots and lots of cockroaches. And an entomologist named Bambi. Seriously.

:: Jose Chung's From Outer Space. One of the weirdest damn episodes of TV I've ever seen. Whatever happened to Darin Morgan, anyway?

:: Home. Ever wonder what happens when one family inbreeds just a tad too much? This episode lets you know. This is one of the few television episodes I've ever found actually unnerving.

:: Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man. I suppose this one might actually qualify as a mytharc episode, but I'm not sure. Anyway, it's one of my favorites. The "revelation" that the CSM is a failed writer is great.

:: Unrequited. Another of those "Experiments the government conducted on its own soldiers comes back to haunt it" episodes. I found this one riveting, personally.

:: Small Potatoes. Babies are being born with tails, leading to a shapeshifting rapist who takes on Mulder's form later on.

:: The Unusual Suspects. How the Lone Gunmen (those three conspiracy geeks who were always feeding Mulder information) came together. Fun episode.

:: The Post-modern Prometheus. I seem to recall a lot of people hating this episode, but I loved it. It's a kind-of retelling of The Elephant Man, and it features Cher (a lookalike, actually) as a plot point. I enjoyed the hell out of this one.

:: Bad Blood. Vampires in a small southern town. One of the funniest episodes ever.

:: Triangle. Chris Carter wrote and directed this episode involving a ghost ship and time travel and whatnot. I never thought Carter got enough credit for being a good writer.

:: How the Ghosts Stole Christmas. Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin play two ghosts who live in a haunted house. I like this one on that basis alone.

:: The Unnatural. Hey, I mentioned this one a few days ago -- it's the baseball-centered episode David Duchovny wrote and directed. As I said last week, this is one of my favorite episodes of television ever, in any series.

Those would be a good start. I don't recall as many really good episodes from the later seasons, but there were a few -- whichever episode dealt with the unsolved murder of Agent Doggett's son, for instance.

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