The X Files: Season 8

DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of The X Files: Season 8

The Truth About Season 8: the cast and crew interviews, edited tight, no slack, only emphasises what can be seen on screen. This is not something that has been cobbled together for the sake of ratings. These producers, writers and actors are talking about a living organism (let's hear it for The X) that cannot be abused, taken for granted or treated as trash.

They talk about how they faced the challenge of life without David, the decision to take the courageous course of introducing a completely different kind of character in John Doggett, knowing that the audience will hate him because he is not Mulder and using that response to their advantage. Also, the choice of Robert Patrick was crucial.

They explain how a plotline might have evolved and what sparked ideas that appear both ingenious and bizarre when elaborated into a script. Without exception, the creative team consider the series a treasured possession, rather than a vehicle for egos.

The Special Effects extra has a commentary by Paul Rabwin, one of the producers, explaining the work of Matt Beck, on seven of the episodes. If you want to know how to cloak a spaceship, make oil ooze out of eye sockets, have fire for brains or change a salamander into a man, he'll tell you. Knowing how the magic works fascinates some and disappoints others, because the wonder of a great artist should remain mysterious.

Deleted Scenes, with a commentary by two producers, covers five episodes. When making a movie, with its endless takes, the idea of retaining edited film is a bit of a joke - so much has to be discarded. TV series cannot afford such waste and so cuts are never planned.

"The main reason for deletion is time," Frank Spotnitz says. "Sometimes we have only seconds to trim." At others, minutes. And it's always painful, not least because of losing good performances.

There is one scene, lost from the opening of the final episode, concerning the remains of a man brought into the forensic lab in a stainless steel box. The body is mince, but, being not entirely human, behaves in a way more conducive to the concept of resurrection. Naturally, this involves a high dosage of the yuk factor, which is why the following scene, showing the mince out of its box, ended on the cutting room floor.

"Chris Carter always hated gore," John Shiban says.

Now, that's a surprise.

Reviewed on: 09 Apr 2004
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The X Files: Season 8 packshot
Sci-fi series soldiers on without David Duchovny, but can it survive?
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Product Code: 22308DVD

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9 Wide Screen/1.78 Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround

Extras: The Truth About Season 8 documentary; deleted scenes with commentary by Frank Spotnitz and John Shiban; special effects sequences with commentary by Paul Rabwin; character profiles; promo TV spots; DVD-ROM game

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