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X-Files Mythology, Vol. 3 - Colonization, The
Not too long ago I had the chance to review the first and second volumes in this compilation series from the popular sci-fi show The X-Files. This compilation series contains selected episodes from the show's nine season run. The focus is on what I consider the most intriguing story from the show, which is dubbed as The X-Files Mythology and what I refer to as the conspiracy story arc. The point of these releases is to target viewers who enjoy the conspiracy story arc, but do not want to shell out the cash for the full season sets. Many people are not very interested in 'the monster of the week' episodes, which make up the other portion of The X-Files. In this installment, episodes from seasons five, six, seven, and eight are included to detail the next turning point in the conspiracy story arc, colonization. For more details about the series please refer to DVD Talk's The X-Files reviews
In the first volume "Abduction", the episodes mostly revolved around alien abduction and how it intertwined into a much larger plot. Be sure to take a look at my review of The X-Files Mythology, Vol. 1 - Abduction for more details. In the second volume "Black Oil", the story continues by unleashing more about the conspiracy story arc and something new and devilish, the black oil. Refer to my review of The X-Files Mythology, Vol. 2 - Black Oil for additional details. In this third volume, details from the previous sets about the alien abductions and the black oil are tied together and the larger plot is tackled. This plot is known as colonization.
Long before Mulder's time, a group of men, who operate in the shadows joined together to form a syndicate to monitor the progress of some very secretive research. If you've watched any of the episodes previous to this set, you've seen traces of them. They include the Cigarette Smoking Man, Alex Krycek, and others. Mulder's father Bill was also part of their syndication at one point. Together, this group acted as facilitators to an alien race in the colonization of Earth. They were helping develop an alien human hybrid. The reason and belief this group is assisting the aliens in their conquest, was that there was a remote chance of survival for some and it presented the possibilities of resistance. By delaying the colonization, they most obviously get more time to do find a way to resist the alien colonists.
In this set, the reality of colonization becomes that much more real. Several new characters are introduced that are caught up in the plans for colonization. The first is Cassandra Spender (Veronica Cartwright). Cassandra's role is important to the progress of the conspiracy story arc, as she is the test subject for the development of an alien human hybrid. Her son, Jeffrey Spender (Chris Owens), also plays a big role in this set. Spender is an FBI Special Agent and soon finds himself working along side the syndicate and consequently against Mulder and Scully. He also gets put behind the desk of the X-Files, after Mulder fails to justify his work to a review board, who decided his talents should be used elsewhere.
Joining Spender in the X-Files is someone from Mulder's past, Diana Fowley (Mimi Rogers). Fowley makes a great character that on the surface seems like a great friend to Mulder, but of course has a hidden agenda. We see far too little of her. Another new face we see in this set is Assistant Director Kersh (James Pickens Jr.). After getting reassigned from the X-Files, Mulder and Scully find themselves under Kersh's supervision and he is definitely one hard ass who is looking to make their tenure at the FBI as painful as possible.
Together these characters play their parts to help the development of the colonization story arc. They each add some level of intrigue, with Jeffrey Spender becoming a fairly key character as a struggling to accept his role in the project. Previous characters such as the Cigarette Smoking Man, Alex Krycek, and Walter Skinner make several appearances to keep the stories exciting.
While the story about colonization is interesting, intriguing, and entertaining, compared to "Abduction" and "Black Oil", it does not offer the same level of excitement. Somewhere between season five and season six, the stories start to get a little hokey and lose that same punch found in the earlier episodes. Eventually in season seven, Mulder and Scully just aren't the same exciting characters we once knew before. In season eight, we see a major change for the series. In the two-part season premiere episode "Within" and "Without", John Doggett (Robert Patrick) joins the cast. Mulder appears in a portion of season eight's episodes, but his role in the show starts to be very small. Doggett is introduced as Mulder's replacement, which we'll see more of in the final mythology set "Super Soldier". He's a strong character, a complete opposite to Mulder and he makes Scully look like a believer. While not a bad character, he's no replacement for Mulder and I never really cared for him paired up with Scully.
Overall this box set, with its rather low M.S.R.P., should be perfect for those of you looking to see the conspiracy story arc unfold. As I pointed out in reviews of the first two mythology volumes, there are some details about the series and characters lost by skipping episodes, but the material that is presented still does a good job at unveiling all of the important need-to-know details to get through the big picture. Suffice it to say, there's enough entertainment value for you to enjoy.
1. "Patient X", Season 5, Episode 13
2. "The Red And The Black", Season 5, Episode 14
3. "The End", Season 5, Episode 20
4. "The Beginning", Season 6, Episode 1
5. "S.R. 819", Season 6, Episode 9
6. "Two Fathers", Season 6, Episode 11
7. "One Son", Season 6, Episode 12
8. "Biogenesis", Season 6, Episode 22
9. "The Sixth Extinction", Season 7, Episode 1
10. "The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati", Season 7, Episode 2
11. "Sein Und Zeit", Season 7, Episode 10
12. "Closure", Season 7, Episode 11
13. "En Ami", Season 7, Episode 15
14. "Requiem", Season 7, Episode 22
15. "Within", Season 8, Episode 1
16. "Without", Season 8, Episode 2
The video is given in its original television aspect ratio of 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen color. The transfers used for this compilation set are the same found in the season releases. The transfers in this set look very good. The picture offers good detail with a minimal grain and both light and dark color tones are represented well.
The audio track included comes in Dolby digital stereo surround and is offered in three languages: English, Spanish, and French. The sound quality is good. It is mostly dialogue driven, which is fairly flat. Sound effects and music have a fairly dynamic feeling and take advantage of channel separation. There are also subtitles in English and Spanish. The original season sets came with audio options in only English and French.
Like previous mythology sets, the extras include several audio commentaries, a featurette, and a paper foldout. The commentaries include "Patient X" with Kim Manners, "The Red And The Black" with Chris Carter, "Two Fathers" with Kim Manners, "One Son" with Frank Spotnitz, "Closure" with Kim Manners", and "Within" with Kim Manners. The commentaries don't offer anything really special and tend to be pretty standard. Although they aren't completely dry and there are a few comments worth of interest to the series' fans. I did find them easier to get through than the commentaries in the previous set. It is important to note these are new commentaries not found on the original season sets.
The featurette Threads of the Mythology: Colonization (27:16) unfolds in the same manner as the extra in previous sets. There is discussion from crew members about the development of the colonization story arc and other related topics dealing with the episodes included in this set. It's worth a watch. Next there is a paper foldout known as the Mythology Timeline. It's neat as a quick reference to get key details on events/episodes and characters dealing with colonization.
As an added bonus, there is a thirty-two second promo for 24 season 5.
If you've read my reviews on the first two mythology sets, then you know that The X-Files is one of my favorite television series. I enjoy both aspects of the series, whether the episodes deal with the conspiracy story arc or the monster of the week. With that said, I am happy to give this third mythology installment a recommended rating. The episodes do not offer the same level of excitement as the episodes in the first two sets, but the excitement is still there.