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Lone Gunmen: Complete Series

Fox // Unrated // March 29, 2005
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Aaron Beierle | posted April 4, 2005 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

Early in "The X-Files", creator Chris Carter introduced a trio of geeks known as "The Lone Gunmen", who were occasionally brought in (first seen in episode, "E.B.E.") to help lead character Fox Mulder (David Duchovny). The somewhat bumbling characters were extremely popular with fans of the series - enough that they eventually scored their own series, which unfortunately spent a rather short time on-air.

The series focused on the trio: John Fitzgerald Byers (Bruce Harwood), Melvin Frohike (Tom Braidwood) and Richard Langly (Dean Haglund). The three attempt to tell the stories that others didn't - looking into top-secret government and corporate conspiracies that threaten the people of the United States. They put out a newsletter from their cramped offices that tells of their findings.

The "X-Files" spin-off provides a great mixture of action, drama and well-played comedy. The entire mixture is difficult to pull off, but somehow the series managed it. The performances are also absolutely terrific - the three are a prime reason why the show is able to blend comedy and drama well; they're both believable dramatic actors and so hilariously bumbling at times that it works. Zuleikha Robinson is also very good as Yves Adele Harlow, a beautiful woman who begins the series as the Gunmen's competition. Stephen Snedden is also great as an aid to the Gunmen's work, as they are in need of funds.

It's unfortunate that the show didn't last more than one season. The stories are enjoyable, intelligent and well-written and the characters are terrifically memorable. It's also a great-looking show, despite the fact that it didn't have much of a budget to work with.

1. 1- 1 Pilot
- The gunmen stumble onto a major government conspiracy involving crashing an airliner in order to increase arms sales while investigating the death of Byers' father.
2. 1- 2 Bond, Jimmy Bond
- A million-dollar check from a possible drug deal leads the Gunmen to a charity organization whose CEO's name is James Bond.
3. 1- 3 Eine Kleine Frohike
- Frohike goes undercover after a tip leads the gunmen to a baker who poisoned members of the French resistance during WWII.
4. 1- 4 Like Water for Octane
- The Gunmen search for an auto creator whose last invention was an auto that runs on water. The creator vanished years ago during a visit to Detroit to show off his latest creation.
5. 1- 5 Three Men and a Smoking Diaper
- The Gunmen reveal a link between a senator and one of his female campaign workers who died in a suspicious accident.
6. 1- 6 Madam, I'm Adam
- The Gunmen try to help a man who claims his entire life - including his house - has been stolen.
7. 1- 7 Planet of the Frohikes
- The Gunmen match wits with a chimp that wants to break out of a Government lab.
8. 1- 8 Maximum Byers
- Byers and Jimmy become inmates as the Texas Department of Corrections in order to help an innocent man.
9. 1- 9 Diagnosis: Jimmy
- The Gunmen try to stop a poacher, while Jimmy realizes his surgeon has a terrible secret.
10. 1-10 Tango de los Pistoleros
- The Gunmen keep blowing Yves' cover as she tries to prevent a dancing smuggler from passing on information about a secret military cloaking material.
11. 1-11 The Lying Game
- The Gunmen are stunned to find that FBI director Skinner is somehow involved in the murder of Byers' college roommate.
12. 1-12 All About Yves
- The Gunmen seek out information on a secret Government terrorist organization.
13. 1-13 Cap'n Toby
- The Gunmen find that two dead stagehands working on the "Cap'n Toby Show" were actually FBI agents working in an intelligence unit.
Note: The set also includes the "X-Files" episode, "Jump the Shark", which features the Gunmen's last appearance.


VIDEO: "Lone Gunmen" is presented by Fox in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Picture quality is very good, as the image remained crisp and well-defined throughout. Definition wasn't always rock-solid, but the image always remained crisp and bright. No edge enhancement or pixelation were seen, but the presentation showed a couple of minor specks on the print in a couple of brief, rare occasions. Colors remained fairly subdued, but brighter colors occasionally showed through nicely.

SOUND: "Lone Gunmen" is presented in 2.0 audio. Effects, dialogue and music seemed clear and dynamic. 5.1 remixes would have been quite nice, but these 2.0 tracks are satisfactory.

EXTRAS: The pilot episode has an audio commentary by Rob Bowman, Robert McLachlan, Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban; "Bond, Jimmy Bond" offers commentary from Dean Haglund, Tom Braidwood, Bruce Harwood, Bryan Spicer, Steven Snedden and Zuleikha Robinson; "Tango De Los Pistoleros" offers audio commentary from Dean Haglund, Tom Braidwood, Bruce Harwood, Bryan Spicer, Thomas Schnauz, Steven Snedden and Zuleikha Robinson; "All About Yves" offers commentary from John Shiban, Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and Bryan Spicer and finally, the "X-Files" episode included, "Jump The Shark", includes commentary from Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban. Browsing through the commentaries, I found them fun and informative. The participants clearly are enjoying the ability to have a reunion and the tracks often have everyone bouncing some great ideas and conversations among each other. There's some funny moments here, but there's also a lot of insights about the show and the production.

The last disc features a fairly lengthy retrospective featurette, which takes a look at the creation of the series and the history of the Gunmen. The featurette includes interviews with the cast and creators, who discuss casting, production issues, the details behind some of the episodes, and the 9/11 tragedy (the pilot episode, which aired months before 9/11, has the story that a secret government organization is planning to crash a plane into the World Trade Center in NYC in order to raise arms sales.)

Also included are 4 TV spots.

Final Thoughts: "Lone Gunmen" is a fun, well-acted and smart series that is consistently entertaining. Fox has put together a fine DVD, complete with fine audio/video quality, a nice helping of supplements and even an extra "X-Files" episode. Recommended.

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Highly Recommended

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