The X-Files: Season 1 Review

I recently started working through the X-Files archive on Netflix. Did you watch X-Files when it originally aired? Did you watch it more recently and point and laugh at the hokey 90s technology? (Speaking of technology, I’ve had even more time to watch X-Files recently after spilling wine on my laptop, killing it, having to buy a new one, and thus being computer-less for a few weeks…..)

I watched bits of seasons 1-4 when it was originally on TV. My older sister was into it and I think I started sitting on the couch with her out of curiosity. Trouble is, curiosity and a desire to emulate her older, adolescent coolness did not get me very far. Every night I was either scared out of my wits or peppering my mother with so many questions about the plot that my sister Meg would roll her eyes in older, adolescent disgust and say, “Ugh, Caroline, BE QUIET!”

The epic eyerolls did not stop me from a fit of nostalgia when my man and I were sitting down with a pile of takeout and Netflix on browse. “Can we watch X-Files?” I begged him. Lucky me, my favorite nerd did not require extra guacamole as a bribe to say yes.

And so it began…..

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Obviously a lot is different now as an adult in the 10’s vs. a kid in the 90’s. The computers and clunky cellular phones are charmingly antiquated. I am able to grasp the ambiguity and plot twists involved in chasing unexplained phenomena. And I have a better appreciation for the FBI bureaucracy and obstruction now that I am a mature human with work experience. But I confess: this stuff still scares me. I keep having to take a deep breath and tell myself, “It’s okay! Mulder and Scully have to survive until the next episodes….” (The random side characters, on the other hand, you learn not to get attached to. At least 50% of them are surely toast by the end of the episode.)

Since I love taking to the internet and reading reviews after each episode of TV I watch, here’s a recap. Season 1 of [however many we’ll get through]! Obviously, spoilers follow.

The Gist: Mulder and Scully are thrown together by the FBI. Shadowy government forces being all passive aggressive, wanting to destroy them but kindasorta keeping them around too. So many ghosts and reincarnations of dead people! And of course, aliens.

Things I Learned: Doug Hutchinson was creepy before he married a porn star 35 years his junior. Alien spacecraft can fly really fast. From his ex-girlfriends to former perps to his fear of fire to his (of course) sister’s abduction, Mulder’s past sure does come back to haunt him a lot. And cute little girls are often not to be trusted.

The Mythology: Just getting set up, obviously. I forgot that Deep Throat got offed so I screamed when he was shot. The alien conspiracies are gripping and intriguing, though I know it’s going to get real messy in later seasons.

The Best: My favorite episodes were “Beyond the Sea” and “Eve.” Both featured magnificent acting. (Question: is Brad Dourif more or less creepy than Doug Hutchinson?) Both played my heartstrings as well: “Beyond the Sea” featuring the loss of Scully’s father, and “Eve” featuring the delicious creepiness of both the child and adult clones. Honorable mention goes to “Ice” for the suspense factor. (No, I have never seen “The Thing.”)

The Worst: “Space.” Space ghosts? Huh? Low on scares and high on boredom.

Episodes I’ve Already Forgotten About: “The Jersey Devil,” “Miracle Man”

Most WTF: “Genderbender.” Seductive murderers, okay. Seductive murderers…who morph gender presentation….okay. Seductive murderers….who morph gender presentation….who are Amish…..who are actually bizarrely sexy morphing Amish alien cultists?

Overall: I wonder what my life would have been like if I had been a little older when this came out. I would have eaten this stuff up as a sixteen-year-old. Oh, but wait….I already spent my Friday nights online reading fanfic as a teenager. Maybe not much was different.

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Tuesday Tunes: (I Want Jesus to) Walk With Me

I finally saw Selma last week. If you have not seen it yet, I urge you to go watch before it disappears from theaters. It is moving and magnificent.

One of the most powerful scenes is the first attempt to march to Birmingham. The protestors peacefully cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge and are confronted by armed sheriffs and policemen. Without time to negotiate or even think about turning around, the thugs descend and begin beating the marchers. You sit watching in horror as old ladies are chased down and tackled, and peaceful college students are struck with billy clubs. Blood flies and people scream.

All while this song is playing.

I got a frisson of recognition when I heard the first line. We sing this song in our church choir regularly. A slightly different arrangement (no spirituals are exact, right?), but on those Sundays when we need some weight.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I walked into rehearsal a few days after seeing the film and hearing our director Amy say that we would be singing it this Sunday.

So that’s what I thought of as we sang. What’s my pilgrim journey? Where is my Edmund Pettus Bridge, and who are the forces of evil blocking the path? I want Jesus to be marching right alongside me.

The First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn is a group I am proud to be a part of, and our choir is phenomenally talented. We have a few albums out, most recently ‘Where I Am,’ released in 2014. You won’t hear me on this, but the album features another haunting arrangement of I Want Jesus to Walk With Me.

You can preview the whole album on Soundcloud. But why not go ahead and buy it and support great music? You can find it on iTunes and Amazon in both digital and hard copies. If you are in close proximity to NYC….come to church one Sunday and you will get it for free!

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