Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Monsters, aliens, deformed freaks...the 5 best 'X-Files' episodes ever

In honor of Fox announcing on Tuesday that The X-Files -- TV's best sci-fi drama ever -- will return as a limited, six-episode series (yay for me!!!!), here's a look at my top five episodes during the show's memorable nine-year run.

The story: A liver-eating serial killer (Eugene Victor Tooms) is on the loose after a 30-year hibernation. 
Why it's a classic: The X-Files boasted many unforgettable genetic mutants, but none of 'em were more memorable than the soft-spoken Tooms (a superbly cast Doug Hutchison) who exudes a chilling menace without uttering a word. Remains the show's best stand-alone monster episode. 

2. "HOME"
The story: The Peacocks, a hideously deformed family big on inbreeding, goes on a murderous rampage in their idyllic hometown.
Why it's a classic: The most intense -- and frightening -- X-Files episode ever. It was so intense, Fox initially refused to repeat it. 

3. "ICE" 
The story: FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are trapped in a remote Alaskan outpost...with a worm-like parasitic life form. 

Why it's a classic: Yeah, I know, the episode is basically a TV version of John Carpenter's The Thing, but it's still claustrophobic and wonderfully creepy. 

4. "PILOT" 
The story: The one that started it all. Scully, a low-key medical doctor is teamed with "Spooky" Mulder, a dry-witted UFO believer, to debunk Mulder's out there paranormal theories.

Why it's a classic: Brilliantly sets up the dense mythology to follow in upcoming seasons and instantly showcases the palpable chemistry between Mulder and Scully. Can't forget a then silent Cigarette-Smoking Man (William B. Davis) intensely puffing away in a cameo appearance. 

The story: We learn more about the mysterious CSM, the sinister government figure who often keeps our intrepid agents from uncovering the truth about alien existence.
Why it's a classic: The brilliantly penned episode by Glenn Morgan peels back the layers of CSM's character, who we learn was a failed novelist and who grew up in several orphanages after his communist spy father was executed and his mom died of cancer. Perhaps that explains why he killed JFK and framed Lee Harvey Oswald for it.

Monday, March 23, 2015

'The X-Files' gearing up for another run

The Truth Is Still Out There -- and could be coming back soon.

According to a report on TV Wise's website, Fox is close to inking a deal to bring back The X-Files, one of television's best dramas ever.

Stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are reportedly on board to reprise their roles as flashlight-wielding FBI agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

For nine seasons, The X-Files was an intoxicating mix of murky government conspiracies, scary monsters and sinister aliens. The X-Files came along at an auspicious time with The Cold War just ending. People needed a new boogeyman, something to fear, and The X-Files provided it.

Series creator Chris Carter understood that a show featuring substance and style could be tough to beat. Not only was The X-Files an extremely intelligent series, it looked like a $100 million feature film. No show, for example, has ever made the woods appear so foreboding. Or the simple sight of flashlights piercing the darkness so hypnotic.

The X-Files was one of those rare series where paying attention wasn't just important, but essential.

Yet, that didn't guarantee you'd always understand what was going on. Like any good soap opera, The X-Files always raised more questions than it actually answered. That tactic, however, led to its ultimate demise as viewers -- including myself -- grew weary of the show's deliberate plotting and glacial parceling  of clues.

Still, after the series went off the air in 2002 as it limped to the finish line, I was sad to see Mulder and Scully put down their flashlights for good. That awful 2008 film, The X-Files: I Want To Believe had me wishing they kept those flashlights locked away.

But after such a long hiatus, I'm ready for The Truth to not just be out there, but to come back to my living room as well.

Friday, March 6, 2015

'Gotham's' Jada Pinkett Smith says she won't be back for a second season

So, Jada Pinkett Smith says she's not returning for a second season on the hit Fox drama, Gotham.

That'll be our loss since Smith plays roughneck gangsta Fish Mooney as a deliciously fiendish scene chewer who could easily have been the star of the show. I mean, you don't see many characters willing to scoop their own eye out with a spoon just to save their own hide.

Fish is badass personified, a take charge chick who can wax poetic like Maya Angelou one moment, then slit someone's throat the next. She makes Taraji P. Henson's hood rat Cookie on Empire look like a church-going Girl Scout.

Smith made the announcement today on Live With Kelly and Michael, but she was pretty coy about her leaving, saying she didn't "think" she would be back because she only signed on the show for one season.

In a statement the producers would only say, "Fish Mooney's storyline takes a lot of interesting twists and turns into the finale of season one of 'Gotham.'"

All of this, of course, could be a well calculated ploy by Smith to squeeze more money out of the producers.

That's definitely something Fish would do. And, if the producers didn't give her a raise, well, let's just say they would probably be resting at the bottom of the Fish food.