Review: Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: The Truth About Season Eight; Deleted
scenes with optional commentary by Frank Spotnitz and John Shiban;
Special effects sequences with commentary by Paul Rabwin; Character
profiles on Alex Krycek, Gibson Praiseand John Doggett; 42 promotional
television spots. DVD-ROM game 'Existence'.
Episode titles: Within; Without; Redrum; Patience; Roadrunners;
Invocation; Via Negativa; Per Manum; Surekill; Salvage; The Gift;
Badlaa; Medusa; This Is Not Happening; DeadAlive; Vienen; Empedocles;
Three Words; Alone; Essence; Existence.
SOME of the best and most enduring American television series
often have to survive in the face of the biggest adversity.
Think of ER losing George Clooney, or NYPD
Blue struggling to cope with the loss of David Caruso, for
examples of how programmes have adapted, and in some cases, got
better, in spite of suffering such blows.
With this in mind, it is a tribute to the writing team behind
the X-Files that Season 8 became such a classic, despite the disappearance
of one of its biggest assets.
Season 8 marked a time when David Duchovnys dissatisfaction
with the show had prompted him to take a back seat, forcing its
makers to risk a new direction.
Hence, while Duchovnys pivotal character, Fox Mulder, now
only appeared in a few shows, it was left to Gillian Andersons
Dana Scully to carry the lions share of the work - complete
with a new partner, in the form of Robert Patricks Special
Agent John Doggett.
But what could have proved a series crippler, turned out to be
something which breathed new life into it. Doggett became an instant
hit with X-Files fans, appearing as the sceptic alongside Scullys
The chemistry between the two flitted between admiration and
distrust, as both continued the search for Mulder, in between
some truly memorable stand-alone episodes, aimed at building Doggetts
From early on, fans realised that Mulders absence was not
as big a blow as first feared, even though the story arc involving
his character frequently continued to draw the series highest
Hence, the writers continued to weave in elements of the convoluted
alien conspiracy story, by playing up Scullys pregnancy,
as well as the bounty hunter and black oil aspects of the story,
while also tossing in some of the virtues which made the early
episodes of the series so fondly remembered.
Episodes featuring a contagion in the Boston subway tunnels,
or strange deaths aboard an oil rig, bore all the hallmarks of
classic stand-alone X-Files cases, while also serving to offer
an intriguing insight into Doggetts character.
Returning cast members also played neat little cameos, with the
sinister Krycek making another welcome appearance, and the Lone
Gunmen adding the required humour (not to mention several in-jokes
at the expense of Patricks appearance in Terminator 2).
At a time when many sceptics were looking for X-Files to falter,
Season 8 came back stronger than ever, providing plenty of proof
that there is no replacement for good, quality writing - the main
element which helped to make the series such a success in the
For fans, therefore, this remains an essential purchase.