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X-files: Freak of the week episodes vs. conspiracy episodes

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View Poll Results: Do you prefer the Freak of the Week episodes or the Alien Conspiracy episodes?
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11
13.75%
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28.75%
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45
56.25%
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1.25%
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X-files: Freak of the week episodes vs. conspiracy episodes

Old 03-07-05, 02:29 PM
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X-files: Freak of the week episodes vs. conspiracy episodes

I've been watching the X files on DVD for the past month or so, and just finished season 3. I mostly missed the show during it's run because it was on weekends and I had a life back then, but I remember friends talking up the show. I also remember them eagerly anticipating the next episode that fleshed out the whole alien/cancerman/colonization and dismissing the freak of the week episodes as filler.

Watching the show on DVD, I agree with them that it's a great show, but I'm finding that I feel just the opposite about the stand-alone episodes. The conspiracy stuff is coming off as dumb to me, and all of my favorites have been freak of the week episodes.

Some of my favorites...all freak of the week episodes with absolute favorites bolded:

Season 1: Tooms & Squeeze, Shadows, Ice, Eve, Beyond the Seas

Season 2: Host, Blood, Sleepless, Exelsis Dei, Irresistable, Dod Kalm, Humbug

Season 3: D.P.O., Clyde Bruckman, Oubliette, War of the Coprophages, Grotesque, Pusher, Jose Chung

Maybe the arc will hook me in later seasons, but so far it's leaving me cold. I hope I'm not the only one who's finding the alien conspiracy stuff boring and alot of the other stuff exceptional. As you can probably tell, I especially like the goofier episodes.
Old 03-07-05, 02:39 PM
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In general, I prefer the "mytharc" episodes, but my very favorite episodes were all MOTWs: "Clyde Bruckman...", "Jose Chung...", and "Bad Blood" most especially.

"Mulder, are you sure it wasn't a girly scream?" - Dana Scully
Old 03-07-05, 02:52 PM
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I could never get into the conspiracy arc episodes to any great degree. I much preferred the stand-alone eps.

Alien conspiracies just aren't my thing, I guess.
Old 03-07-05, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
In general, I prefer the "mytharc" episodes, but my very favorite episodes were all MOTWs:
I agree. On the whole the mythology episodes were the best and are what sustained the show for me....

but many of my absolute favorite episodes were the monster-of-the-weeks....
Old 03-07-05, 02:57 PM
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At first, it was the conspiracy episodes. As it went on and got more convoluted, I switched to the freak of the week. In the last two seasons, I didn't care for either and just wanted it to end.
Old 03-07-05, 03:31 PM
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Heres the problem...after Jose Chung, my favorite episode of any show ever...ALL of the freak-of-the-weeks started to either suck ass or try too hard to be Jose Chung (mutato, cops)

Actually the outer space cockaroach with Barbie the scientist was excelent too
Old 03-07-05, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Tommy Ceez
Heres the problem...after Jose Chung, my favorite episode of any show ever...ALL of the freak-of-the-weeks started to either suck ass or try too hard to be Jose Chung (mutato, cops)

Actually the outer space cockaroach with Barbie the scientist was excelent too
The one really outstanding "standalone" from the later years was "The Unnatural", which was the episode about the alien who loved baseball. It was written and directed by David Duchovny, and guest starred Jesse L. Martin in his pre-Law and Order days.

IN THE BIG INNING

ETA: And I forgot, it also guest starred Darin McGavin M. Emmet Walsh!

Last edited by wendersfan; 03-07-05 at 03:41 PM.
Old 03-07-05, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Tommy Ceez
Heres the problem...after Jose Chung, my favorite episode of any show ever...ALL of the freak-of-the-weeks started to either suck ass or try too hard to be Jose Chung (mutato, cops)

Actually the outer space cockaroach with Barbie the scientist was excelent too
So far, the cockroach episode IS my favorite. It came before Jose Chung and the entemologist's name was Bambi.

I don't know in which season I'll get to it, but the inbreeding episode was one of the ones I remember being excellent...and creepy as hell.

And a few episodes so far have been carried by the sheer talent of guest stars. Brad Dourff was particularly excellent, and so was Giovanni Ribisi.

Last edited by chess; 03-07-05 at 04:01 PM.
Old 03-07-05, 03:49 PM
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Aren't there rumors of another movie that is more like a freak of the week episode? I thought I read that somewhere.

Edit because I temporarily forgot how to punctuate...

Last edited by chess; 03-07-05 at 03:59 PM.
Old 03-07-05, 03:50 PM
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Stand-alone "Freak of the week" episodes. The conspiracy arcs were repetitive and contradictory. How many explanations did they give for what happened to Mulder's sister? It sometimes seemed like there was a new one every week!
Old 03-07-05, 04:06 PM
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I loved the stand alone freak of the week episodes. They usually had Mulder and Scully tossing in more one liners into the mix than the more serious conspiracy episodes.
Old 03-07-05, 04:08 PM
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Freak of the week episodes were my favorite. Since I didn't watch until a few seasons in the conspiracy shows didn't hold my attention (and tended to be more confusing).

My favorite was the one where this guy could impose his thoughts on you..he made this guy have a heart attack just by talking to him on the phone. Cool.
Old 03-07-05, 04:09 PM
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The first four or five seasons I loved the mythology episodes, then it slowly became clear that the writers didn't care about consistency of one episode to the next. It was all about what would be cool for that episode only. Now watching those mythology episodes again even the best ones are tainted by not living up to the promise of their implied arc. This is the main fault of the show and thus I tend to stick to the great freak of the week episodes when I do choose to revisit the show on occasion.
Old 03-07-05, 04:11 PM
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They're all good, but the conspiracy episodes were better in seasons 8-9 after they ran out of ideas for freak-of-the-week stories.

My favorite freak of the week episode: Home
Old 03-07-05, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
In general, I prefer the "mytharc" episodes, but my very favorite episodes were all MOTWs: "Clyde Bruckman...", "Jose Chung...", and "Bad Blood" most especially.
Ditto. "Clyde Bruckman" was my all-time fav until I saw "Bad Blood". "The Unnatural" is a wonderful ep and you can't beat "Jose Chung." Though the later seasons were blah, I did enjoy "Redrum" mostly because I love Joe Morton.
Old 03-07-05, 04:30 PM
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BTW...wasnt Jose Chung technically a stand alone conspiracy episode?
Old 03-07-05, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Tommy Ceez
BTW...wasnt Jose Chung technically a stand alone conspiracy episode?
While the episode dealt with aliens and government conspiracies, it wasn't part of the "mytharc", the overarching storyline that dealt with the alien invasion, the abduction of Mulder's sister, Scully's abduction, the black oil, etc. I think the only other episode it referenced was "The War of the Coprophages" - the part about Mulder's girly scream that I quoted earlier in this thread.
Old 03-07-05, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Tommy Ceez
BTW...wasnt Jose Chung technically a stand alone conspiracy episode?
It was about alien abduction and govt brainwashing, so it could certainly be interpreted that way. I guess I just didn't see it that way, and it didn't really seem to fit anywhere else in the somewhat convoluted continuity of things.

Good point though.
Old 03-07-05, 06:15 PM
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Ice: Best ep. ever.

I prefer the MOW episodes, but they are hit or miss, you have your great ones, and then you have the ones that are bottom of the barrel. That is why the conspiracy ones tend to be better though, all of them are pretty solid.

A couple from later seasons I enjoyed was (argh, forget title) Scully and the Slug in the small town all alone, and the one with the Jenai. Also loved the Vampire one with Mulder & Scully's different takes on what went on.
Old 03-08-05, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Damfino
They're all good, but the conspiracy episodes were better in seasons 8-9 after they ran out of ideas for freak-of-the-week stories.

My favorite freak of the week episode: Home
HOME!!!

That's the inbreeding episode I was trying to remember! Wicked creepy, and I love the whole Andy Taylor/Barney thing. It's just a couple of episodes into season 4, so I'll get to it this week.

Can't wait for my girlfriend to see it. She get's creeped out fairly easily.
Old 03-08-05, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Corvin
Ice: Best ep. ever.
You don't think it was better ten years earlier when it was called "the Thing"?

I do like that episode, but it might be the most blatant ripoff I've ever seen on TV.
Old 03-08-05, 01:35 PM
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It was, but the Thing didn't have Mulder & Scully. And it doesn't make it any less exciting.
Old 03-08-05, 01:55 PM
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Upon original viewing:
Premiere up until the movie: conspiracy episodes
After the movie: stand-alone episodes

In repeats: stand-alone episodes
Old 03-08-05, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Corvin
It was, but the Thing didn't have Mulder & Scully. And it doesn't make it any less exciting.
Fair enough. That was some good TV...especially in retrospect, compared to the other stuff that was on at the time.
Old 03-08-05, 03:15 PM
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To add my 2¢ here... same as many people who already replied, in the first couple of season I really used to look forward to the "mythology" episodes; however around seasons 4-5 my preference started to shift towards the standalones. Obviously this coincides with the mythology getting hopelessly muddled with more and more variables in the play without any answers until that point. As far as answers go, in some cases it was even worse when they did provide them, such as the season 7 two part episode about the fate of Mulder's sister, which I still consider to be the ultimate insult and which probably contributed quite a bit towards me not watching seasons 8 and 9 at all.

Some of my favorite standalones, by season:

Season 1

Squeeze/Tooms - No contest here, plain and simple two of the best episodes of the entire run (I feel safe saying that without having seen seasons 8 and 9).

Ice - Definitely a ripoff of "The Thing", but pretty well done anyway.

Eve - A genetic experiment gone awry; M&S play "parents" to two girls who are definitely more than they seem


Season 2

With Scully's abduction, season 2 is pretty much dominated by the mythology episodes, however, there is one great standalone:

Humbug - A story about a village inhabited mostly by the former circus freaks, one of the "comedy" episodes.


Season 3

Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose - Just plain brilliant--cannot be described in words.

War of the Coprophages - The infamous "cockroach" episode. Hilarious and imaginative.

The Pusher - This the one about a man who can influence other people's thoughts, mentioned earlier in the discussion here.

Jose Chung's "From Outer Space" - Like the first two mentioned episodes of this season, this one was also written by Darin Morgan and as such exists only in his own parallel X-Files universe, but that doesn't make it any less good.

Season 4

Home - All has already been said about this one, a favorite of many.

Paper Hearts - Mulder's sister again, but this is not really a mythology episode. This one is really well done from the technical side too (direction and photography are fantastic).

Never Again - The Jodie Foster as the Tattoo episode. Probably the greatest ending scene of all X Files episodes.

Small Potatoes - Darin Morgan didn't write this one, but might as well have had. To make up for it, he guest stars in it.


Season 5

Unusual Suspects - The Lone Gunmen meet Suzanne Modeski for the first time. Guest stars Det. Munch from Baltimore Homicide division.

Detour - Scully sings Mulder to sleep by singing "Joy to the World", that's all you need to know.

The Post Modern Prometheus - The Frankenstein episode

Kill Switch - Co-written by William Gibson; episode is a bit uneven, but contains one of the greatest guest characters ever in X Files.

Folie à deux - Mulder is held hostage by a guy who thinks his boss is literally a monster. Sounds stupid, but the episode is quite brilliant.


Season 6

The Rain King - May depend on your tolerance for Victoria Jackson, but I liked this one.

Tithonus - Scully investigates the case of a man who has a knack for finding death scenes to photograph. Contains one of the most chilling dialogue exchanges in the whole show run (spoilerized for those who haven't seen it):
Spoiler:
Scully to the Man: "When will I die?" The Man: "You don't."


Milagro - A case with murder victims having had their hearts ripped out that may have something to do with Mulder's neighbor

The Un-Natural - Already mentioned before

Three of a Kind - Lone Gunmen meet Suzanne Modeski again.

Field Trip - The hallucinatory mushrooms.

Season 6 contains a surprising number of really good standalones; mythology is already hopelessly muddled by this point although the final insult is yet to come in the next season.


Season 7

X Cops - Mulder and Scully join a team of cops investigting a strange case during one night in Los Angeles. The only problem: the whole thing is being filmed as a part of documentary/reality tv show. Amazing camerawork in this one.

Hollywood A.D. - M&S provide advice for a movie being filmed about them. Silly but a lot of inconsequential fun. Guest stars Garry Shandling as "Mulder" and Téa Leoni as "Scully".

Je Souhaite - A decidedly unhelpful genie in a bottle. A ripoff in a way of an old Twilight Zone episode, this is a genie who somehow manages to fulfill your wishes quite literally, which is not necessarily a good thing.


I bailed after season 7, but it was fun remembering some of these great episodes just now. Sorry about the length.

Last edited by ivantod; 03-08-05 at 04:41 PM. Reason: fixed some typos

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