No One Sets Out to Make a Bad Film?

No One Sets Out to Make a Bad Film?

Bad films are gauged on a critical spectrum all their own. Whether you have films that are high concept failures (The Last Airbender), low budget schlock (Silent Night Deadly Night: Part 2, Street Trash, and numerous other 80’s horror films), so bad they’re good (Tammy and the T-Rex is a personal favorite of mine), movies that set out to be prestige pictures only to fail miserably (United Passions), and the rare film that transcends it’s terrible reputation to become a cultural milestone (The Room, Troll 2) there is no limit to the long list of bad films. We’re often told with multiple misfires that no one sets out to make a bad film. Ed Wood wanted to craft an important film with Glen or Glenda and 20th Century Fox wanted to reboot a superhero franchise with Fant4stic. Neither of these got the reception their creators had hoped, but what about other films? Have we entered a time where the market for terrible films is now being targeted by opportunistic directors, producers, and studios? Let’s take a look at some of the recent trends in bad filmmaking and how they’re contributing bad films in a bad way.

-The Mockbuster Market-

This is something that truly bothers me. The term “mockbuster” came into the filmmaking lexicon around the mid 2000’s. Basically when a large tentpole film gets released in theatres (Thor) a company will release a low-budget knock-off with a similar title direct to video in hopes of exploiting consumer ignorance (Almighty Thor). The most notable example of this is the production company The Asylum. While they originally made low budget films with original concepts (and still do occasionally) all that changed when their version War of the Worlds was released to coincide with the big budget Cruise/Spielberg remake. With a hit on their hands multiple films got released in this vein (Snakes on a Train, Sunday School Musical, Transmorphers, and numerous more) continuing the trend to this day. While this is by no means a current trend as these kinds of films have been around for ages. In fact: if you look back to the late 70’s early 80’s there were numerous films that tried to capitalize on the success of Star Wars. Some of these films have gone onto be classics in a somewhat odd fashion. Piranha rode the success of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, but in turn launched the career of Joe Dante. Who coincidentally went on to direct the Spielberg produced Gremlins. The difference is now it has become a legitimate industry instead of a one off film from a producer looking to make a quick buck to finance their next project.

-Content for Cable-

My family got cable for the first time when I was a kid and it was exciting. I now had channels like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network at my disposal. Along the way I branched into other major networks. USA was where I initially saw films like Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Critters, but along with them I saw films like Mosquito and the previously mentioned Tammy and the T-Rex. USA created the spin-off Sci-Fi channel (now known as SyFy) and this is where things got interesting. Many numerous bad films found their way onto this channel and developed a niche following. Then came 2013, there was an abnormal amount of buzz surrounding one of these films. Sharknado (a film from the previously mentioned The Asylum) hit Internet forums like an atom bomb propelling the film to a limited theatrical release and became a multi-film franchise. While the original film may have been an attempt at taking a kooky idea and make something from it the three sequels upped the ridiculous factor just to get more from this insanity. So much so that Sharknado 5: Global Meltdown debuted last night and the possibility of a sixth film not out of the question.

-Critics of the Bad-

Oh boy, here is the big factor that for me has shifted bad filmmaking into the norm. Looking back the kickstarter of this trend was the classic (and thankfully still going strong) series Mystery Science Theater 3000. What makes this show so endearing is how relatable it has always been. Who hasn’t sat around with friends and cracked jokes at a film they’re watching? With the rise of Youtube many people flocked to the platform to critique media. I’ve talked previously about a handful of these channels, but I’d like to shift my focus towards Youtuber I Hate Everything. He has a series titled “The Search for the Worst” where he berates some of lowest rent films made. One of his reviews was for the film “The Amazing Bulk”. In typical fashion he ripped the film to shreds. Surprisingly Wide Eye Releasing the company who distributed the film got in contact with him. They thanked him for raising the profile of the film and even sent him a gift. Along side the gift was a copy of their film “Shark Exorcist”. Yep, this is where things have gone. A studio now relishes the attention a bad review can give that they will go out of their way to make similar situation occur with another film. This to me is proof that some bad films are no longer a fluke. And this is what bugs me the most. What’s the point of putting forth any effort if you can film mediocrity and bank on notoriety to sell it?

These are my thoughts, but as usual what are yours? Do people now set out with the intention of making a bad film? Do you think an industry of terrible films is a problem? Or does it just give people more options for their entertainment? Let me know. Remember you can follow me on Twitter @sdfilmthoughts and Instagram. As always, thanks for reading.

Back in Orange: Discussing Orange is the New Black’s Fourth Season

Back in Orange: Discussing Orange is the New Black’s Fourth Season

Orange is the New Black’s fourth season debuted last Friday and of course it had to be binge-watched. So last night I finished up all thirteen episodes and the time has come to talk about where our favorite characters have gone and what might become of them. I’ll try to keep my thoughts lumped into coherent sections, but we’ve got a lot to cover. If the cage was full for the last three seasons it’s become packed to the gills this year. Fair warning, there are spoilers ahead.

-Plot-

If I had to sum up this entire season in one word it’d be consequences. A lot of what has been built up over the past few years got paid off in full. It has bugged me that it seems like Piper (Taylor Schilling) always got a slap on the wrist instead of getting her comeuppance. Her hubris has been built up to the point where all it had to come crashing down. She had already sent Stella (Ruby Rose) down to max for double-crossing her and now competition in the dirty panty business has set in. This leads to her making questionable alliances with some white supremacists in order to edge out the Latino competition. When Piper plants a bag of underwear under Ruiz’s (Jessica Pimentel) bunk and adds three to five years to her sentence shit gets serious. After getting ambushed Piper is pulled to the kitchen where they brand her with a swastika. As someone who has lost interest in Piper’s storyline this really pulled me back into it.

Next we have Joe Caputo (Nick Sandow) trying to keep the ship from sinking after taking over as warden. The company MCC who privatized the prison are tying his hands while he deals with some new COs who don’t know the proper boundaries between prisoner and guard. I’ve always liked Caputo as he is the guy who is dealt a bad hand and keeps trying to make it work. He knows everything the company is doing is wrong, but has to play the game. Although he’s not above breaking the rules to help. It made me happy seeing him use former warden turned activist Danny Pearson (Mike Birbiglia) to get Sophia (Laverne Cox) out of the SHU. The man has scruples most of the time in spite of how the season ended. We’ll delve into that a little more later. It was also nice that Caputo is forced to see his former employees who walked out now in different jobs. He’s basically getting haunted by the ghosts he created.

The big elephant in the room is seeing how Alex Vause (Laura Prepon) escaped her predicament from last season’s finale. While she’s being strangled to death by Kubra’s man Lolly (Lori Petty) comes to the rescue beating the guy down. It’s now time to figure out how to dispose of a body in a prison. With the help of seasoned murderer Frieda (Dale Soules) they’re able to dispose of the body after some cutting and burying. Now Vause has to not only deal with her own grief about suffocating and turning a hitman she knew into garden fertilizer, but the fact that Lori is going even further off the rails than normal. This leads to Alex making questionable choices until she finally breaks down in front of Piper and the two re-kindle their relationship. Lolly on the other hand isn’t so lucky. After digging up the garden to re-route the sewer line the body is discovered and Officer Healy (Michael Harney) knows Lolly was involved after she gave him an incoherent confession he took to be delusions. Lolly is shipped down to max and we’re probably never going to see her again.

Let’s discuss some of the other plots from the series. First is the fallout from Pennsatucky’s (Taryn Manning) sexual assault from last season. This is going to be a controversial and important discussion topic from this season. The fact that when Pennsatucky says to CO Coates (James McMenamin) that he raped her and he is shocked that she sees it that way is disturbing. What’s worse is that in spite of an apology to Pennsatucky we see in their final scene together that this may not be a one time thing. It’s kind of horrifying especially with recent events, but I commend Jenji Kohan and the writers for taking this route. It shows that some men (even as adults) have been so poorly educated in understanding consent that they don’t believe that they’re committing sexual assault. It’s ugly, but it needs to be talked about and if this show can get that started it’s a step in the right direction.

Once again we get a glimpse into Officer Healy’s background. We knew  his mother was mentally ill, but we get to see him dealing with it. One of the moments that hit me the hardest from this season was watching Healy commit himself after Lolly’s incarceration into max. The fears that he had the same issues as his mother are now a reality. He may not have always been the most likable character, but his intentions (either in the prison or at home) were to do his best for the women in his life.

The Judy King (Blair Brown) story was probably the weak link for me this year. Sure, it was funny and had some great moments, but in the end it never really went anywhere. The only real positive that came from this entire plot was that one of my favorite secondary characters Yoga Jones (Constance Shulman) got more screentime. King’s only real role on the show was to kind of stoke racial tensions between inmates.

Now to talk about the moment that’s going to be plastered all over the message boards for the next month. The death of Poussey (Samira Wiley) hit extremely hard. She has always been one of the few characters who did her best to stay out of trouble. Aside from her spat with Vee she kept a good rapport with all the inmates. This is probably why they picked her to die. She was the most pure of the inmates and that made her death all the more heartbreaking. Throw in her friendship with Taystee (Danielle Brooks) and her romance with Brook Soso (Kimiko Glenn) and we got a whole lot hurt in the final episodes.

In typical Kohan fashion we’re left with a mid-scene cliffhanger for what’s ahead. After CO Bayley (Alan Aisenberg) is let off on Poussey’s death a riot builds. One of the COs was stupid enough to bring a gun into the prison. When he’s cornered he pulls it out, but gets pushed and loses his grip on the gun. Daya (Dascha Polanco) picks it up and points it at the COs. She’s being cheered on to shoot them as we cut to black. Will she shoot one or both of the COs? I doubt it. I’m assuming Mendoza (Selenis Leyva) will talk her down considering Daya’s mother asked Mendoza to keep her safe before she got released a few episodes prior.

-Cast-

As always the cast is firing on all cylinders. I’d say the best performance of the season was Danielle Brooks as Taystee. While I’ve always liked her character this year we got to see her go even deeper with her emotions. I will seriously be disappointed if she doesn’t get Golden Globe and Emmy nominations this year. It was nice to see Kimiko Glenn get more work tossed her way. I did feel that Uzo Aduba got shortchanged, but considering her prominence in prior seasons it’s not all that disappointing. It was painful seeing Crazy Eyes’ flashback episode that showed what got her locked up. I was disappointed by the scaled back amount of time Laverne Cox received, but I’m grateful she’s back. I didn’t mind the loss of previous season’s COs as it usually felt like their plots were always low priority for the writers. And while Ruby Rose was a fun addition to season three I’m glad they didn’t try to find a way to write her back into the series just because of her popularity. Sometimes a cameo is all you need to display a character’s present predicament.

I’d say my biggest problem was using characters this season to represent previous antagonists. Ruiz was basically a less threatening version of Vee and Piscatella was a serious version of Pornstache. While both may have felt intimidating neither of them were original. I did miss both Pornstache and Bennett, but I understand why they’re no longer here. Their stories have been wrapped up, at least for the time being. I was also disappointed by the lack of Piper’s family. Aside from a single call put into her brother Cal (Michael Chernus) there’s no real interaction for Piper with the outside world. This could be to show that the closer she gets to her release the less connected to the non-prison world she’s becomes.

-Final Thoughts-

Plain and simply this is definitely a big improvement over season three. Like I said earlier I liked how we got to see so much payoff from all the stuff we’ve seen get built up in past three years. With at least three more seasons to go and about eight months left on Piper’s sentence there’s a lot still to do, but where are we going? Until next June we can only hypothesize. As usual what are your thoughts? What was your favorite part of season four? Did you enjoy the entire season as a whole? What are you planning to binge next on Netflix? As always, thanks for reading.

Revisiting Point Pleasant

Revisiting Point Pleasant

While I was doing research for my “Brilliant, But Cancelled: Single Season TV Shows” articles there was one show I kept thinking about. Point Pleasant was a supernatural series with a dash of melodrama sprinkled in that debuted on FOX in January of 2005 until it’s cancellation in March of the same year. The reason I did not include this in any previous article was because I wanted to watch it again to see if it was as good as I remembered it being. Or if it was another one of those shows that got justifiably axed from TV. So with over a decade since it initially debuted lets look back and see how it holds up.

-Background-

There was a fascination in pop culture with religious iconography in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Films like End of Days, Stigmata, and The Ninth Gate were being released in theaters and it was only a matter of time before it migrated over to TV. The show was created by John McLaughlin (who had previously written for the show Carnivale and that definitely had some influence on this series) and Marti Noxon (best known for her role as a writer and co-producer on the hit shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it’s spin-off Angel). Basically, during a horrendous storm a young woman named Christina (Elisabeth Harnois) is seen floating in the ocean. Young lifeguard Jesse (Sam Page) rescues her and with nowhere else to go she it taken in by the Kramer family who is reeling from the lose of a sister/daughter and strange things begin to happen to Christina. Throw in a meddling half-demon who stirs up trouble (Grant Show) and the reveal that Christina is the Antichrist and everything gets crazier with each episode.

-The Cast-

This was something I liked about the show. While some of the acting may not have been up to par it at least was entertaining. It was a smart move to have a show that revolved around both teenagers and their parents as it meant you could have fresh faces in the cast, but they had the support of veterans to help tell the story. I’ve got to give Elisabeth Harnois credit, she played the role of Christina fairly well making her sympathetic with an undercurrent of sinister. You truly see the struggle within her to fight against her destiny. I also enjoyed the sister dynamic Christina and Judy (Aubrey Dollar) had through the series. They built it up so well that to see it destroyed was genuinely sad. Of the adult cast my favorite was always Amber Hargrove (Dina Meyer) as she was always underestimated due to her beauty, but she’s cunning and fights for what she wants. I also wanted to touch on another favorite character of mine, Father Tomas (Marcus Coloma). He gave the Christina a much needed ally in the struggle with her identity. What’s also great is seeing some actors before they hit it big. Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame pops up in a handful of episodes as a love interest for Judy. But hands down the best spot was Jon Hamm as a longed haired psychotic doctor. I had no idea who he was back then.

-Plot-

I’ve delved into some of the broad plot points, but lets get a little more specific. So the main crux of the story is Christina’s internal battle with the revelation that she is the daughter of Satan, but there are subplots galore. Judy losing a her sister Isabelle to suicide and her mother believed to be insane due to Isabelle’s ghost contacting her from the afterlife trying to warn of what’s ahead. The romantic relationship between Christina and Jesse and how it means more to the fate of humanity than either knows. Boyd’s backstory gets fleshed out and we discover what brought him down the path he took and how he’s seducing Terry (Brent Weber) to do the same thing. There’s also Christina’s search for her mother and the answers that quest might unlock. I’m not even gonna go into all of the adult’s subplots as there is so much to this story. I really enjoyed how they set up a lot in these thirteen episodes. It’s such a shame we never got a resolution to that cliffhanger of a finale.

I have to admit it was truly a lot of fun to dig through this series and rediscover a lot of great pieces. Does it hold up? For the most part I’d say yes, but I’ll forever be bugged by the lack of closure. I was also surprised by how for being made over ten years ago it didn’t feel terribly dated like some movies and TV shows. If you’re interested the show has been available on DVD since it’s cancellation, so you can rent it from Netflix or purchase it off Amazon. These are my thoughts, but as usual what are yours? Did you watch Point Pleasant when it originally aired? If not are you going to now? Do you wish that shows that get cancelled would at least have a chance to wrap up their story properly instead leaving us hanging? As always, thanks for reading.

Brilliant, But Cancelled: Single Season TV Shows Part 3

Brilliant, But Cancelled: Single Season TV Shows Part 3

Yep, we’re back with another installment of “Brilliant, But Cancelled”. Because if there’s something that TV likes to do it’s make sure that good shows don’t get the fair shake they deserve and letting crap go on for ages. So, without further ado let us take a look back at a handful of these shows and remember them. Otherwise they might as well be relics lost to time.

-Clerks: The Animated Series-

While Kevin Smith’s offerings have been pretty hit and miss for the past few years (I enjoyed Red State, tolerated Tusk, and have no idea what to think of Yoga Hosers at the moment), but this entry in the “View Askewniverse” is a fun one. Teaming up with former Seinfeld writer and future Veep showrunner David Mandel we got a mere six episodes of an entertaining if ridiculous show. If was nice to see Dante and Randal (being voiced by their respective live action actors) return for more antics at Quickstop and RST Video. And to this day there are still some hilarious lines that get stuck in my head. “The weed of crime bears bitter fruit you old hag!” or “An all painter threeway, man” Add onto that the fact that Alec Baldwin voiced the series villain Leonardo Leonard and you’ll get hooked re-watching this series over and over. (Available on DVD)

-Eerie, Indiana-

This show was a bit of an odd creature that debuted on NBC in 1991. It wasn’t until it got re-aired on The Disney Channel a few years later that I caught it. For me there was something ingenious about the show’s concept. After his family moves to the town of Eerie, Marshall becomes friends with Simon and together the pair begin to investigate the strange events that transpire within the town. Geared to be almost like a Twilight Zone/Twin Peaks for young adults it was a hit with critics, but even with help of director Joe Dante (who was a creative consultant) the show didn’t gain a fanbase until after it was cancelled. In 1998 a spin-off series Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension aired with mixed results and was also cancelled after a single season. (Available on DVD)

-John Doe-

What kind of a list would this be if I didn’t include something that aired on FOX. Yes, another series that the station was willing to greenlight and promote, but didn’t want to stand behind when it’s rating slipped. A Sci-Fi-esque drama that starred Dominic Purcell in the title role, the series revolved around a man who wakes up on an island with no memory of who he is or where he came from. On the plus side he now knows everything humanly possible. Using his newfound knowledge he sets out to discover who he is and in the process help a local cop and friend solve cases. As the series goes on we get drawn into a conspiracy surrounding who John Doe is and what his significance to humanity may be. After the series was cancelled the show’s creator Brandon Camp revealed the mystery behind John Doe and while interesting it might leave something to be desired for a few fans. (Available to watch on Hulu)

-Garfunkel and Oates-

This show getting cancelled still stings a bit. Based loosely off the real life adventures of musical duo Garfunkel and Oates (Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci) this series was described to me as a female version of Flight of the Conchords. Aside from having a pair of musicians as stars and musical numbers in episodes the shows have no real connection. What makes this show work so well for me is the chemistry between Lindhome and Micucci. Since they’ve been friends for ages they’ve got excellent comedic timing and it makes the show unbelievably funny. The best part is neither woman is afraid to let their personal lives influence the series. There are is one episode where Riki decides to freeze her eggs and another where Kate is told she suffers from Peter Pan Syndrome. Not exactly the lightest plotlines to introduce. With only eight episodes you can binge the series quickly, but you’ll enjoy it. (Available on Netflix Instant)

So there you have it. Another list of shows that had a very short, but sweet run. The sad thing is that over the coming years I’m sure more shows will get cancelled after a single season leading many more lists like this. Until then, what are your thoughts? Did you like any of these shows? Will you watch any of them after reading this article?

Game of Thrones Season 6: So Far

Game of Thrones Season 6: So Far

With the airing of last Sunday’s episode “The Door” we’re now at the middle of this season of Game of Thrones. Today I wanted to take a look at (Mostly) everything in these five episodes and possibly offer some guesses as to what we could be seeing in the next five episodes. Please note off the bat that this article is going to be riddled with a lot of *SPOILERS*, so if you haven’t seen any of season six and don’t want spoilers I’d recommend you stop reading right now. Alright, now is your last chance to click out. Still here? Excellent, lets begin.

-The Starks-

Yes, our favorite and most likely to be murdered family is still trying to keep things together. After the ambiguous fate of Jon Snow at the end of season five we’re given a rather definitive answer. Or so we think. I was one of those people who assumed Snow wasn’t dead for long. It has been nice seeing once Jon was resurrected he’s become less of a goody two shoes. Sansa has been getting the shit end of the stick for a long time. With two of her three past husbands being psychos it was only a matter of time before she decided to take her fate into her own hands. In the past Sansa has been a rather bland character in my opinion. She seems to always be more of a passenger in her own story than a driving force. But that has definitely changed. It’s good to see her become more proactive. Arya continues her training to become a Faceless (Wo)Man after being blinded and cast out last season. Through some redemption she regained both, but there’s still some hesitancy in her to fully embrace her future. Bran is still training with the Three-Eyed Raven and through this training we get a glimpse into the past. One of these flashbacks may in fact have given us a hint as to Jon Snow’s true parentage. Of course this doesn’t last long as Bran screws up and reigns a boatload of trouble on everyone in the cave with him. Oh, and Rickon is now in the hands of Ramsay Bolton if you cared.

-The Lannisters-

Cersei, Jaime, and Tommen are all neck deep in problems after Cersei let the High Sparrow and his cohorts loose to do her dirty work. It’s always nice to see the Lannisters get their just deserts. But I think it’s safe to assume they’re down, but not out at this point. On a more brighter side Tyrion continues to prove himself a valuable asset to Daenerys in her absence. As he tries to keep peace in Meereen with Varys we see his wisdom prove to be useful and diplomatic in maintaining the fragile alliance struck. It’s nice seeing his time as Hand of the King is proving useful. Could it mean that position will be in his future? I certainly hope so.

-The Boltons-

Just when you think the series killed off the most detestable character with Joffrey you get someone just as bad… if not worse in Ramsay. Is it more horrifying to deal with a psychotic asshole who’s a rich self-entitled prick or a psychotic asshole who’s had to claw his way to the top and hasn’t been afraid to get his hands dirty in the process? This detestable heap of excrement has been murdering to keep a tight grip on the North and now that two Starks are coming after him he might be in for a fight. In spite of the fact that he’s got a bargaining chip in Rickon we might see the Boltons reign come to an end. It’s been nice to see all the conspirators in The Red Wedding meeting a painful end.

-Daenerys Targaryen-

After being saved from the vicious attack in Meereen, Daenerys gets dropped into the Dothraki’s hands. With news of Drogo’s death a new Khal forces her join a bunch of other Dothraki spinsters in a proto-Red Hat Society. This doesn’t sit well with the Mother of Dragons who traps the Khals in building and burns it down. The remaining Dothrakis (along with Jorah and Daario who arrived in a half-baked rescue plan) bow to her. Looks like her cause to reclaim the Iron Throne continues to grow.

-The Greyjoys-

Having finally reclaimed a piece of his former self Theon returns to the Iron Islands where he finds out about his father Balon’s death. His sister Yara assumes he plans to take the throne for himself, but after his mismanagement of Winterfell it looks like there’s no remaining interest in ruling. As Yara begins to rally support to her cause their delusional uncle Euron comes into undermine her. In spite of admitting  his hand in killing Balon people rally around him and he is crowned king. In the meantime Yara and Theon steal the entire Iron Fleet and set sail.

-Death Death Death-

In typical Game of Thrones fashion many people have been knocked off in the span of half a season. It would appear that leaders are on the chopping block this year. Ramsay killed not only his father Ruse, but his stepmother, and infant half-brother to protect his future. Euron killed his brother take over the Iron Islands. Rightfully so, Jon Snow had all the men who had a hand in his death hung including Olly. Fucking Olly man, you deserved it. And now we get to the more tragic side of this. Yep, we have to talk about characters we actually care about who kicked the bucket. After getting caught with Rickon, Osha tries her best to seduce and murder Ramsay. Unfortunately, Theon revealed to Ramsay how Osha pulled the same scam on him previously and she ends up with a knife to the throat. Rest in peace one of our favorite wildlings. And of course with the last minutes of the fifth episode came the death of our favorite one word man, Hodor. Due to Bran’s stupidity the White Walkers attack the cave and in his last moments he’s forced to “Hold the Door” to help Bran and Meera escape. Ugh, talk about gut-wrenching stuff.

-What’s Next?-

With five episodes left there’s a lot of possibilities. It’s safe to assume Daenerys will probably return to Meereen, but who knows if she’ll be happy with Tyrion and Varys work in her stead. We might finally get to see how much power Jon has when he doesn’t let his pesky morals get in the way. We can only hope that Ramsay finally meets a horrible, but much deserved death. But most importantly, will Brienne and Tormund  hook up before the end of the season? I honestly hope so.

As usual, what are your thoughts? Are you pleased with how season six is shaping up? Is there anything that they’ve kind of glossed over that you want fleshed out? Are you hoping Sam and Gilly pop back up? And seriously, how much do you want to see Brienne and Tormund hook up?

Of course, if you want to you can follow me on Twitter @SDFilmThoughts for more random crap about movies, TV, and online content. It’s not like the Internet isn’t already clogged up with enough of that. Thanks for reading.

The X-Files: What I Thought of Season 10

The X-Files: What I Thought of Season 10

It has been three months since the finale of the latest season of The X-Files. I really wanted to take my time and properly digest all these episodes had to offer before talking about them. Unlike your standard season of twenty-some episodes this time around we got a six episode mini-season. It was composed of every single conceivable style of episode that was traditionally found in The X-Files. I’m going to talk about each episode separately and my personal thoughts on them. But first, a little background on my fan relationship to this series.

-Where it Started-

The X-Files kicked off it’s first season in the fall of 1993 and I can’t say that I got to watch it then. I was in fact five years old at the time, so even if I had wanted to watch it my mom probably would’ve stopped me. It was my older brother, in his teens at the time who became the first fan in my family. A few years down the line when I was nine and The X-Files was at the peak of it’s popularity was when I took notice. It was season five and the movie that pulled me in and since then I’ve kept a vested interest in adventures of Mulder and Scully. I own all nine seasons and the two films on various forms of physical media and was even one of the few people who saw The X-Files: I Want to Believe in theaters. So when it was announced that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were returning the small screen for a limited run I was doing backflips. So what did I actually think of this return? Let’s find out.

-My Struggle-

Picking up fourteen years after the original series finale (And not acknowledging the previous film, but whatever) those not up to speed on the mythology get a quick explanation before diving in. Fox Mulder is pulled back into the fray by Dana Scully and Walter Skinner to look in on a woman’s claims of alien fetal harvesting and a loudmouth conspiracy theorist/webcaster preaching of shadowy government cover-ups. It was an adequate way to bring people back into this world. But it never really went above and beyond. This was suppose to be a triumphant return of a beloved series and yet it felt run of the mill. I will give it credit for ending on a very strong note.

-Founder’s Mutation-

Written and directed by original series regular James Wong this definitely feels like something straight from that era. Medical experimentation and the supernatural abilities a human can possess are the crux of this episode’s story. Pretty standard stuff for the most part. It’s a good episode and takes the viewer away from the mythology.

-Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster-

Confession time, this to me was the best episode of the season. I’ve always enjoyed the funnier episodes of the series (Bad Blood is one of my favorites) and this was hilarious. Written by Darin Morgan (who also wrote season three’s episode Jose Chung’s From Outer Space) Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate a dead body that was severely mangled by some creature. Mulder meets “Guy Mann” a lizard person who after being bit by a human begins to transform into one himself. In a hilarious play on the “man into monster” trope we see them flip the script. How would a creature handle having to adapt to life as a human? Throw in that it’s Rhys Darby in the role of Guy and you’ve got comedic gold. One of the other pieces I like about this episode is seeing Mulder question his belief in the supernatural. While away from the X-Files many cases have been solved and proven to have logical explanations. It’s interesting to see an almost mid-life crisis in Mulder and how meeting Guy re-affirms his beliefs. There’s also touching references to Kim Manners and Jack Hardy both of whom worked with Chris Carter previously and passed away since the last X-Files film.

-Home Again-

A throwback to the dark “Monster of the Week” episodes, Home Again was the scariest episode of the season. I loved that the story took on how gentrification pushes those less desirable out of a place they’ve been forced to live in. How an emotion in art can unintentionally bring forth something malevolent. The violence took me back to a dirtier time in The X-Files when you had episodes like “Home” (no relation to this episode) and “Our Town” airing on TV.

-Babylon-

Now we dip into the supernatural side of The X-Files. With a man in a vegetative state after a bombing, Mulder and Scully face a ticking clock as another attack is imminent and this man is the only one with the information to stop it. Mulder has one idea on how to make contact with the man involving hallucinogens while Scully tries to have another agent speak Arabic and gauge the man’s ECG reactions. While tripping Mulder sees weird things in a cowboy bar while jamming to Billy Ray Cyrus and that’s just for starters. I have mixed feelings about this episode. I like the “A” plot of the story, but I just didn’t find the introduction of Agents Einstein and Miller all that interesting. It felt as though FOX and Carter were testing the waters to see how these two would handle taking over The X-Files. It’s a shame as I really like both Lauren Ambrose and Robbie Amell as actors. I will say for those of you who have not seen the episode there’s a fantastic set of cameos that made me smile when they popped up.

-My Struggle II-

Bookending the season with another mythology episode that shows in Mulder and Scully’s absence these past few years things have reached a boiling point. Citizens begin to get sick from alien DNA stripping away their immune systems making them extremely susceptible to illness. We begin to see how the past has come to bite our heroes in the ass and how they must “Fight the Future”. This has to be one of the biggest cliffhangers The X-Files ever left us with. We’re left to wonder, “What does this mean for season eleven!?”

In a nutshell, this season has it’s ups and downs, but it’s The X-Files and that’s enough to keep me invested. So long as Anderson and Duchovny are willing to return I’ll watch it. I do hope that FOX announces season eleven, preferably in the next few minutes. As usual, what are your thoughts? Have you been a fan of The X-Files since the beginning? Did you like season ten? What would like to see another season get made?

Want to read even more ridiculous thoughts from my brain? Follow me on Twitter @SDFilmThoughts. Thanks for reading.

Agent Carter: You’ll Be Missed

Agent Carter: You’ll Be Missed

Word came out this past week that after only two seasons ABC was cancelling the Marvel TV series Agent Carter. Which after the smashing success Captain America: Civil War has been having at the box office this feels even more painful. Between this and fact that Marvel’s Most Wanted won’t be going to series it looks like Marvel TV is having trouble (Not including the ever popular Netflix series). Today I’m going to talk about Agent Carter’s two seasons and why I’m genuinely disappointed with losing this series.

-Carter’s First Shot-

Captain America: The First Avenger was a fantastic way to lay the ground for Peggy Carter. We got see that even in a male dominated era she didn’t need superpowers to be an important asset. But it wasn’t until Iron Man 3’s Blu-ray release with the Marvel One-Shot “Agent Carter” that we truly got to see her shine. It proved that Peggy’s time post Captain America was ripe with potential for interesting stories to be told.

-Season One-

Picking up some time after the One-Shot we’re dropped into Peggy’s life. World War II is over and Carter has to re-adjust to the status quo she had successfully fought against previously. In spite of all her hard work helping defeat (kind of) HYDRA she’s relegated to a desk job. Even worse, while she keeps a still upper lip a large part of her aches over losing Steve Rogers. But it’s only a matter of time before she’s dragged into a conspiracy that frames Howard Stark as an enemy combatant. Having worked with Stark she knows it’s lies, but her “silly woman” opinion goes unheard by the majority of her superiors and co-workers. Finding an ally in Stark’s butler Edwin Jarvis (James D’arcy) and a friend in fellow agent Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) she sets out to work outside the law to uncover the truth. While this season had some minor issues with it’s narrative getting convoluted in “who is who” for the most part it was a great espionage thriller. And with it being a mere eight episodes it never felt like the writers had to overstretch the story to fill time.

-Season Two-

Quickly wrapping up a major thread left dangling from the previous finale season two quickly thrusts Carter and co. into a bigger and badder conflict. Peggy is sent to California for a new investigation into Isodyne Energy and the recently discovered element Zero Matter. If Carter thought it was hard to spot the enemy before it’s even murkier now. We’re introduced to the mysterious “Council of Nine” and discover that government activities are being manipulated by this secret council. One of my favorite aspects of this season is seeing how people other than Carter deal with discrimination. Two new characters Jason Wilkes (an African American scientist) and Whitney Frost (a brilliant mind and calculating actress) show us how being disenfranchised can lead to making ethically gray choices in order to be taken seriously. It also shows the unbelievable strength of Peggy’s morals. And that while she may be forging a road on her own she does it looking at the long-term repercussions of her actions. Another plus is that there’s some actual character development for Edwin. Not only do we see him building a life outside of all of Carter and Stark’s madness, but he now even enjoys being in on the action. It’s refreshing seeing him interact with his wife Ana and how a decision on one side of this life can lead to major repercussions in the other. On the whole, season two is a richer story and ended with a lot of potential for where season three could have gone. Sadly we’re not going to see that come to fruition.

-Bringing Carter to Life-

To me this is why Hayley Atwell was the perfect pick for Peggy. Watching Captain America: The First Avenger you can see how this character could have been horribly botched. Make her too strong headed she turns into a ballbuster. Make her too weak willed and she’s a shrinking violet. What Atwell found was a fine line that made Carter likable for her her strong moral compass and identifiable with her emotional vulnerability. In pop culture it’s hard to maintain both of these traits in a female action character. It was refreshing that the writers never tried to shove a romantic subplot down our throats. What we got was a slow burn flirtation with Sousa that organically grew into that passionate kiss that ended season two.

-What Now?-

It seems for the time being we’ve seen the last of Agent Carter’s adventures. Hayley Atwell has signed onto a new pilot for ABC titled Conviction which means even if Netflix expressed interest in reviving the show she’s already booked. Unless the show doesn’t go to series and Netflix does say yes. But I’m not going to hold my breath. Fortunately it’d be completely possible a few years down the line to re-visit the character. Possibly in the form of another Marvel One-Shot or limited series run. As long as there’s stories to be told and Atwell wants to be part of them I hold out hope for Peggy’s return.

As usual, what are your thoughts? Are you just as disappointed as I am with Agent Carter’s cancellation? Do you think the show would’ve had a better chance had it originally debuted on Netflix? Are you more of an Agent Coulson person and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is your jam? Let me know.

Am I seriously going to end another article telling you to follow me on Twitter @SDFilmThoughts? I was thinking about it. Thanks for reading!