The X Files: Season 7 Review

And all things come to pass as George Harrison once said... Hollywood finally managed to lure David Duchovny away from the X-files leaving the show sans their main actor. The producers knowing the impeding departure tried to make him depart with a glorious flurry and generally succeeded in doing so. Though many critics had opined the series had reached its sell-by date a few seasons back, season seven is arguably one of the best with more unravelling of the governmental conspiracies but also some outstanding self-parodies. Of course, trying to tie all the loose ends the series has created in a single season is a rather daunting task but they do manage to give Fox Mulder's character the closure he somehow needed.

Despite being a rather limited actor, it's hard to completely dismiss Duchovny's bizarre charm and the on-screen chemistry that existed between him and Gillian Anderson. Though the situations hardly ever changed ("Surely, Mulder, you're not implying [Insert outlandish explanation here]"), the writing and the characters were always good enough to make even the less inspired shows quite watchable. The real mistake was probably going on for too long but, like Matt Groening, Chris Carter has seen all his other projects cancelled: Harsh Realms, The Lone Gunmen and Millenium have all been unceremoniously given the boot by Fox. Still not having a clue what to do next is not a good enough reason to go on making a TV show (unless you're David Lynch) and Carter should have quit whilst he was ahead which he most definately was with this season.

The DVD:
The DVDs come in a nice gatefold container. I only got review copies so I can't comment about it but it's safe to assume it's up to the usual quality.

The image:
Though some of the early seasons suffered from a less than perfect image, the current season provides a strong and vivid transfer. On close examination, artifacting is visible but not to the casual viewer bar a few dark scenes where the various shades of black seem rather blocky. We also get another anamorphic transfer with the original aspect ratio kept intact at 16:9.

The sound:
We get the original Dolby Surround mix which is made up mostly of stereo with the occasional use of the rear speakers. I found the mix on some episodes rather difficult as the music and sound effects were too much to the fore and made the voices harder to hear but that may have been an intentional choice (or maybe I'm just going slightly deaf).

The extras:
I can never say I've been astounded by the extras on the X-files boxsets but they have grown in number (marginally) as seasons progressed. First off we get the usual The Truth about Season 7 (28 mins) where Carter talks about his favourite episodes in the season - it's interesting enough for the fans but hardly that compelling especially since the format is getting a tad repetitive.
We also get the usual (and pointless) TV teasers/trailers as well as director commentaries on three episodes ('Chris Carter on First Person Shooter, Vince Gilligan for Je Souhaite and Gillian Anderson for All Things). The commentaries are adequate but hardly groundbreaking and not necessarily something that the casual viewer would delve into. We also get some commentaries on the special effects scenes courtesy of Paul Rabwin - this is really only of interest for those who always wonder "how did they do that?" though I personally prefer to keep the mystery intact.

More interesting are the deleted scenes which can be seamlessly integrated into the episodes and have optional commentaries by Chris Carter. The integration is a bit messy at times and the image quality is not as good as the episode's but it's interesting to see where the scene would have fit in to each episode. Still given that most of the scenes were cut out for timing, it seems a little strange to not fully re-integrate them into each episode.

A good season of the X-files which reminds you why it was such a top show in the first place. The extras are getting pretty repetitive if you already own the previous seasons but the image and sound are as good as it will ever get.

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