The X Files: Season 8


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

This is the turning point in the series. Will fans of The Files survive the disappearance of Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and replacement with Agent John Doggett (Robert Patrick)? Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) is pregnant. There are fears for the child, if, indeed, it is a child and not some extra-terrestrial implant.

Chris Carter and the creative team have done a magnificent job. They attempt no back-handed apology for Scully's initial rejection of Agent Doggett, nor the sadness that shadows her throughout. She is, after all, grieving the loss of her partner, who, as she struggles to further the work of the department, which is in danger of being closed down by a less than supportive new Deputy Director, is being experimented upon by unseen alien scientists.

The storylines are further than farfetched, but, due to the commitment, seriousness and quality of filmmaking, suspension of disbelief comes with the package and is an accepted fact of X-Files policy. Even Scully's trademark high heels and white tee-shirt does not appear incongruous in the wilder reaches of Utah.

There is an intensity that overrides sceptical analysis of repetitive themes, such as shape changers, religious cults, paranoia and alien infiltration. If, for one moment, the series slipped into self parody, it would be finished. It doesn't. Resurrection becomes acceptable; flying saucers are couriers for abductees; death is a relative term.

The credit for such a successful season goes to the writers and directors. On another level, Patrick steals it. The character of Agent Doggett is fundamentally opposite to that of Fox Mulder. "I may be an old fashioned cop, but I don't believe in leaps," he tells Scully. "Leaps get people killed." He means leaps of the imagination. He could have been a straight-down-the-line, grey brained, by-the-book detective from the old school. Patrick gives him an integrity that heals the wound, caused by Duchovny's leave of absence. By the end, it is Agent Doggett, rather than the emotionally unpredictable Scully, who ensures the future of the department.

"This is damn weird," he says, stating the obvious.

It is not the strangeness than makes The X-Files compulsive. It is the excitement.

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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Director: various

Writer: various

Starring: Gillian Anderson, Robert Patrick, Annabeth Gish, Mitch Pileggi, David Duchovny

Year: 2000

Runtime: 924 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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The X Files
X Files - Season 7