The X Files: Existence Review
The X Files juggernaut shows no sign of slowing down. Even after one of the key cast members decided enough was enough, Fox have continued to commission another series - the ninth. This must in itself make The X Files one of the longest-running individual series ever. Existence is a combination of two episodes that made up the finale of the eighth season - Essence and Existence - and as such it ties up some of the ongoing plot threads that have developed since Agent Doggett (Robert Patrick) took over Fox Mulder's (David Duchovny) role in the X Files investigations.
Existence marks quite an important event - this is apparently the last episode to feature David Duchovny as he has not signed up to any episodes of the ninth season. Much of the episode revolves around Agent Scully's (Gillian Anderson) pregnancy - she still doesn't know who the father is, but suffice to say that by the end some (but not all) will be revealed. We also get to see the return of Mulder's nemesis, Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea).
Existence moves along at quite a pace - it's not quite as dark and brooding as some previous stand-alone two parters, but it still has that spark that keeps most of the long-term fans returning. The addition of Agent Doggett has obviously given the series a major boost and for the first time in a few years I've actually been looking forward to seeing where they take the series next.
This is the second stand-alone DVD release of X Files episodes from Fox. As mentioned above it features two episodes from the eighth season of the series edited together into one feature-length instalment in the X Files mythos.
At last - we're getting The X Files on DVD in the format it should be in. The DVD features a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer - this is how it should be viewed with full use made of the entire frame. The composition of each scene is greatly enhanced with the full width being visible.
The transfer itself is reasonable - but not outstanding. Compared to the previous disc, Deadalive, we have a much sharper transfer. The main issue is the presence of grain in the image although this is hardly surprising given the source. There isn't any sign of digital artefacting and the transfer appears to be direct off of the original print without any excessive processing. Given the TV source, we're not expecting a film-like transfer but what we do have is certainly adequate and is the best the series has looked so far on DVD. There is a slight lack of detail in some darker scenes, but nothing hugely noticeable.
The DVD features a bog-standard Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. As usual, the front soundstage is fairly good with nice separation between the three front speakers. The surrounds do get some work, but not really much more than atmospheric background sound. We didn't expect anything more so I'm not disappointed.
The extras are limited to a two-part profile of Alex Krycek. The first part is a basic introduction to the character and his past on the previous seven years on the series. I was expecting a little more from the second part, but once again it's a review of the character's exploits and the way he changed from a likeable person to one of the series main recurring villains. Both parts feature a few interview snippets with Nicholas Lea and various other cast and crew members.
As is often the case - there are revelations in this featurette that will spoil certain aspects of the main feature if you watch it first (like I did!). You've been warned!
Existence is quite an important episode in the ongoing X Files story. There are a number of major revelations and events that are the culmination of what has happened over the previous eight seasons. In addition it leaves some interesting plot strands open - and with some of these, it's very difficult to see how the makers plan to proceed. The DVD is good - at last we get the widescreen we've all been wanting and waiting for, and this shows that Fox do listen to their customers.