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The X Files | Mythology Collection 1 Abduction | review | dvd | Lollipop

The X-Files

Mythology Collection 1: Abduction (Fox Home)
By Eric Johnson

Disgruntled disciples of The X-Files who once considered it the best show on television and who abandoned the series during its painful decline and are unable, or unwilling, to drop the eight hundred bucks necessary to acquire all nine seasons of the series, take note: The X-Files Mythology Collection is here. Abduction is the first of four DVD sets that distill the nearly 200 episodes of modern television's first truly mainstream sci-fi series into a cohesive plot of sixty core episodes. It's a great opportunity to figure out if creator Chris Carter was really working with a cohesive narrative, or was the increasingly elaborate iconography of cigarettes, UFOs, black oil, bees, and shape-shifting bounty hunters merely an ad hoc spiderweb of conspiracy theories amounting to nothing.

Abduction stands in pretty safe territory, stuffed with episodes that the series built its reputation on. Most former fans will perceive this collection as review, as there's barely any bonus material to speak of. Generic UFO investigations quickly mature into extraterrestrial colonization plots while a shadowy secret government experiments on alien hybrids. The set climaxes with an alien mass grave on an Indian reservation and the discovery of a filing system for tracking every human inoculated for smallpox. While the last five episodes (Colony, End Game, Anisazi, The Blessing Way, and Paper Clip) of the fifteen are absolutely excellent, they're really just the cream in a bucket full of good stuff. Included is the majority of major character development and introductions from the first two seasons. It's not a complete picture of the series, as much of the experimentation, humor, banter, and flirtation that made the adventures of Agents Mulder and Scully titillating and convincing was found in the stand-alone anthology episodes.

A five year sabbatical from the series made me especially open to watching this anthology. In this form, that ad hoc spiderweb seems a lot tighter, at least this portion of it does. It's rare that a naked attempt to milk fans with repackaged content is such a welcome surprise. I quickly picked up Black Oil, the second set, which brings the series clear up to the film. The originality of this mythology is striking, compared to the conspiracy theories popular these days. It isn't based on popularizing centuries-old lore like the DaVinci Code, it uses a generic theme as its launching point and grows out of it into original territory very quickly.


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