Monday, January 25, 2010

X-Files Season 2

The first season of the X-Files introduced the show as a fun albeit kind of goofy TV series. The second season is where things really started to come together as great science fiction. This season was awesome.

To begin with, the writing is just so much better. The first season was too comfortable with the same monster-of-the-week routine episode after episode. This season mixes it up by having cases that actually tend to follow this same formula, but somehow feel fresh and original due to their superior execution and varying story structures. In the first season, every episode would being with some crime being committed, and then we'd cut to a conversation between Mulder and Skully where he'd ask her something like:

"Skully, what do you know about vampirism?"

And she'd say something like:

"Well, I know that only mentally deranged individuals believe that they actually exist."

And then, of course, we'd learn that the monster that episode was a vampire. By the second season, the writers got a little more clever and actually managed to keep the mysteries going until later in the episode, often until right up til the final act. Also, they must've brought in some better story consults or something, because the actual detective work shown in these episodes is really well written. They do a good job of showing that Mulder isn't just a crockpot, but actually a detective with skills almost on par with Sherlock Holmes or Poirot. These aren't just good sci-fi stories, but well written mystery stories as well.

Another thing that helped to kick this up a notch and open up the mythology of the show is the strengthening of the supporting cast. Skinner and the Lone Gunmen were introduced briefly in the first season, but they were really let loose in this season. The Lone Gunmen were a brilliant way to add some comic interest to the show, as well as letting some other characters give some exposition instead of just giving that thankless job to Mulder. And Skinner is just awesome. Also, Mr X. (or whatever his name is) is just much cooler than Deep Throat. And he's not named after a porno.

Anyway, on to season 3.

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