The X-Files: Complete Third Season
By now, most everyone is familiar with the X-Files, the popular TV show from Fox; debuting back in 1993, it stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as two FBI agents (Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, respectively) assigned to the X-Files. The X-Files are cases involving the paranormal, extraterrestrial, occult, etc. Throughout the X-Files, the main themes include cover-ups, conspiracies, aliens, abductions, and more – many plot details in season three are continued from seasons one and two, and they continue to build for future seasons, including the current one, season eight.
As a fan, it's nice to see Fox continue to preserve the X-Files seasons on the DVD format. Much like seasons one and two, many of the episodes from season three have never been available outside the original airings and re-runs, as only a few were ever released on VHS. It's a real treat to be able to see them again in their original order, especially since the mythology of the X-Files is further and more deeply explored in this season, some of which becomes vital to fully understanding the plot twists in later seasons. Season three also benefits from having increased budgets for the episodes, which results in better effects and some famous guest stars.
The twenty four episodes in season three are: The Blessing Way, Paper Clip, D.P.O., Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose, The List, 2Shy, The Walk, Oubliette, Nisei, 731, Revelations, War of the Coprophages, Syzygy, Grotesque, Piper Maru, Apocrypha, Pusher, Teso Dos Bichos, Hell Money, Jose Chung's From Outer Space, Avatar, Quagmire, Wetwired, and Talitha Cumi. Four episodes are on each of the first six discs, with the seventh devoted entirely to extras.
X-Files is, of course, presented in 4:3 full frame, as it originally appeared on TV. Fox has done a great job on this season: the first two seasons had a few problems with flesh tones, but not this one, as it has consistent and natural flesh tones throughout. The picture is still soft with some visible grain, though not to the degree as the first two seasons. Colors are well saturated throughout. Blacks are frequently marred by grain and are too light in many episodes. Defects, such as dirt, scratches, and lines are non-existent. Fans will definitely notice an improvement over the broadcast showings.
The episodes are presented in Dolby Stereo Surround 2.0 in either English or French. The dialogue throughout the shows is crisp and clean with no distortion. Surrounds are active throughout, especially considering it's a television show, and the score, by Mark Snow, is fantastic. Subtitles in English and Spanish are also available.
The seventh disc is home to almost all of the extras in the collection. First up is the The Truth About Season Three, a continuation of the previous featurettes included in the Season One and Two box sets. Its longer than either of the first two, running a bit over 21 minutes in length, and is fairly informative and features interviews with Chris Carter, Mark Snow, Daniel Sackheim, Paul Rabwin, Mat Beck, Rob Bowman, Mitch Pileggi, Dean Haglund, and Darren Morgan. Next up are 12 Interviews with Chris Carter that originally appeared on the videocassette releases. Carter talks for a few minutes about each of the twelve episodes of season three that were on VHS; these are fairly interesting and worth a look for the fans that have yet to see them. Also included are seventeen short Behind the Truth segments that aired originally on the F/X network; each covers a specific topic. These are pretty interesting, as they mention things not covered elsewhere. There are also six deleted scenes, each of which has an optional commentary with Carter, and most of which would have actually added to the episode had it remained. The Blessing Way, Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose, The List, and Revelations each have one deleted scene, while Avatar has two. Next are seven Special Effects Sequences, each for a particular episode, hosted by Mat Beck, which gives some insight into how they accomplished a few of the special effects. They are fairly short, lasting only one to two minutes each, but are quite insightful. Ten and twenty-second TV spots for each episode are also included, for the exception of Apocrypha and Wetwired, which only have 10 second spots. DVD-Rom features include weblinks and a game.
However, not all the extras are on the seventh disc; six of the episodes have "International Clips," which allows the viewer to see brief sections of the episode in German, Spanish, or Japanese. The deleted scenes are also available on the disc that has the episode. Two episodes also have screen-specific audio commentaries, which was surprising, as the first two seasons had none. The commentary on "Apocrypha" features Carter and director Kim Manners, while the commentary on "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" features director Rob Bowman and writer Darren Morgan. The commentary on "Apocrypha" is easily the better of the two, as Carter and Manners discuss some of the mythology revealed in the episode. Both tracks do have some silent moments, but I found both worth listening to.
Although the Season Three Collection may cost quite a bit, it's worth it for the X-File fans. The picture, much improved compared to the first two seasons, and sound are better than anything you've seen on TV, and the added value of the extras on the seventh disc, especially the commentaries and deleted scenes, are enough to have any fan salivating. Those that missed out on this season before, and became "converted" later on owe it to themselves to check out season three. Newcomers will want to check out the season one and two collections first, and if you like them, definitely give this season a try...I highly doubt you'll be disappointed.