in Top Ten

T3: X-Cited

It’s been a busy summer with all these superhero flicks and big budget blockbusters and this week marks the release of the second film based off the award winning series The X-Files (1993-2002), entitled The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Which is aimed at being a lower budget stand-alone suspense story, kind of in the vein of the “Monster-of-the-Week” episodes they used to have on the show.

With it’s close proximity to the release of The Dark Knight and competition from the Will Ferrell movie Step Brothers, not to mention some initially lukewarm reviews. This will most likely not be a hit at the box office but I’m sure it’ll bring out all the X-Fanatics. So in honor of this event I decided to put together a list of my favorite X-Files outings, which only includes episodes before the departure of David Duchovny… Sorry Robert Patrick.

10. The Host (Season 2)
Air Date: September 23, 1994
Written by: Chris Carter
The Case: After various murders occur around New Jersey. Mulder and Scully investigate the city sewer system to find what else but a giant parasite living in the Jersey sewers.
The Verdict: Though I’d initially overlooked this episode, Sean got me to thinking that “Yeah this is a pretty good episode, featuring what’s probably the best monster in the shows entire run.” So I just had to honor the Flukeman in all his slimy goodness.
X Fact: The Flukeman himself is played by X-File writer Darin Morgan.

9. D.P.O (Season 3)
Air Date: October 6, 1995
Written by: Howard Gordon
The Case: Darren Peter Oswald is a small town, love-struck, simpleton who just happens to have the ability to control electricity. Leading to murder, Mulder and Scully intervene and that’s when things start to really get hectic
The Verdict: Skilled performances are what won me over here. A young Giovanni Ribisi shows some impressive talent as the misunderstood Darren Peter Oswald. Plus it’s got Jack Black doing his whole stoner routine.
X Fact: Prominently features music from industrial band Filter, Brit Pop group James and Punk Rock band The Vandals.

8. Monday (Season 6)
Air Date: February 28, 1999
Written by: Vince Gilligan & John Shiban
The Case: A violent bank robbery is repeated every day, ala Groundhog Day, until Mulder and Scully can stop the crime with the help from the only women unaffected by the phenomenon.
The Verdict: Comical and unpredictable, like Groundhog Day this is an interesting look at the same situation never quite handled in the same way. The supporting cast is strong and the story is quite compelling.
X Fact: This episode is actually based on an episode of The Twilight Zone titled “Shadow Play”.

7. How the Ghosts Stole Christmas (Season 6)
Air Date: December 13, 1998
Written by: Chris Carter
The Case: Mulder and Scully investigate a haunted house on Christmas Eve where they are haunted by the ghosts of two former lovers.
The Verdict: Both a spooky and charming ghost story. Asner and Tomlin show off their veteran skills while a confused Mulder and Scully try to overcome the spirits eerie powers. A pleasant Holiday episode, I’ve loved this one ever since it first aired.
X Fact: Smallest cast for any episode of the series. David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin.

6. The Amazing Maleeni (Season 7)
Air Date: January 16, 2000
Written by: Vince Gilligan, John Shiban, Frank Spotnitz
The Case: Mulder and Scully investigate the death of magician whom after turning his head 360 degrees is moments later mysteriously decapitated.
The Verdict: A fascinating delving into the world of magic and one of the finest crafted X-Files mysteries I’ve seen. Ricky Jay is quite good in duel roles and it had me guessing up to the end.
X Fact: Ricky Jay known mostly for his roles in various David Mamet projects, is also one of the most talented sleight-of-hand experts in the United States.

5. Small Potatoes (Season 4)
Air Date: April 20, 1997
Written by: Vince Gilligan
The Case: Five women in a small town give birth to tailed babies with the prime suspect being one Eddie Van Blundht, a man with the ability to shape-shift.
The Verdict: Darin Morgan is the perfect lovable loser in this dopey curiosity tale. I tend to lean towards liking a lot of the comedic episodes as The X-Files staff seems to have a real knack for writing them.
X Fact: Darin Morgan who plays Eddie Van Blundht, also played the memorable Flukeman in the episode “The Host” along with being the writer of five X-Files episodes.

4. Bad Blood (Season 5)
Air Date: February 22, 1998
Written by: Vince Gilligan
The Case: While investigating in Texas, Mulder kills a boy whom he mistakes for a vampire.
The Verdict: Seeing both Mulder and Scully’s exaggerated interpretations of their encounter is barrel of laughs and the addition of Luke Wilson as the slow minded sheriff is one of the best guest spots of the series. “You must be the Gu-va-ment people” is a classic X-Files line. Also an interesting history lesson regarding the mythos of vampires.
X Fact: Gillian Anderson’s favorite episode.

3. Home (Season 4)
Air Date: October 11, 1996
Written by: Glen Morgan & James Wong
The Case: A southern inbred family is targeted after the remains of a deformed infant are discovered near the family farm.
The Verdict: Probably the only episode that ever frightened me as a child. Home is the closest any X-Files episode got to a Horror movie. A creepy setting, plenty of violence and everyone’s favorite bone deformities all play major parts in this controversial outing. This episode should give you doubts about traveling to small country towns.
X Fact: Banned from Fox after its first airing, it is the only episode to receive a TV-MA rating.

2. Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose (Season 3)
Air Date: October 13, 1995
Written by: Darin Morgan
The Case: Mulder and Scully seek the help of an insurance salesman who can predict people’s deaths and invite him to aide them in a murder case.
The Verdict: Peter Boyle gives a strong, genuine performance in one of the best episodes to so perfectly balance comedy and drama. The subject matter is intriguing with plenty of room for character development and the paranormal aspect is kept believable and intriguing.
X Fact: This episode won two Emmys, one for writer Darin Morgan and another for Peter Boyle.

1. Dreamland (Parts I & II) (Season 6)
Air Date: November 29, 1998 – December 6, 1998
Written by: Vince Gilligan, John Shiban, Frank Spotnitz
The Case: While investigating near Area 51, a mysterious craft switches the identities of Mulder with an FBI agent in a midlife crisis.
The Verdict: I could of picked one of the deeper or introspective episodes, but I just had to go with the one I find to be the most entertaining. Dreamland is a wacky misadventure of identity crisis and a fair share of bizarre paranormal activity. It’s not too tough to follow and we get some pretty entertaining performances from Mulder, Scully and especially Morris Fletcher, played with a perfect snooty attitude by Michael McKean. I wouldn’t imagine that it would crack most fans’ lists but I consider it a must see.
X Fact: The dance which Mulder performs in front of the mirror is actually a tribute to a similar scene performed by Groucho Marx in the film Duck Soup .

Well I guess Season 6 is the season to watch if you’ve checked out my list. I’ll be on the look out for better episodes as I continue watching the series but until than this is my list and keep watching the skies.

Honorable Mention
Being that there’s so many great episodes, I thought might as well just list my next five as worth mentioning.
11. Darkness Falls – A gross out fest with suspense up the wahzoo.
12. Arcadia – Seeing Mulder and Scully pretend to be a married couple is pretty wacky in this funny yet grim episode.
13. Beyond the Sea – Brad Dourif gives a fantastic performance in this dark tale of murder and psychic powers.
14. Je Souhaite – You wouldn’t think genies would work in this kind of show but they pull it off. Plus it’s got Will Sasso, he’s a funny guy.
15. The Post-Modern Prometheus – Probably the strangest but also most stylish and comedic episode in the entire series