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FRINGE [TV Series, 2008-2013]
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2022 7:04 pm    Post subject: FRINGE [TV Series, 2008-2013] Reply with quote

When Fringe first came on in the first year of my marriage, I had assumed it was just a cheap rip-off of The X-Files and didn't watch it. My wife, who watches more TV than do, probably thought that too. She must have channel surfed to The X-Files and got scared (She doesn't like horror and jump-scares). So she wasn't interested in Fringe. At some point during Fringe Season 2, she had come downstairs after putting the baby to bed one night and began to channel surf. She stopped on what we later learned was Fringe and got interested in it. I know the episode was about a parallel universe. My wife and I both said we hadn't known Fringe about that and we watched the rest of the episode. Now I'm not 100% which episode it was, but I think it may have been "Peter," the episode that flashes back to 1985 and shows the origin of a lot of the show's metaplot. I remember liking the show and began watching it every week, at the same time renting the first season to catch up on that. Then when the second season came out, I rented that until I got up to the point I had started watching it, probably not getting to that point until after Season 3 had started airing. Thanks to DVR technology, I never missed a new episode until the series ended in 2013. But my wife didn't watch it with me, probably because of the episodes with monsters and gross transmogrifications.

This year, I finished a re-watch of this entire series.

I usually watch TV while I eat lunch on work days. I only get 30 minutes for which means I get less than 30 minutes of viewing time. I sometimes watch a movie broken up into increments, which means it usually takes 4-5 days to get through one movie. That can be annoying. I often watch TV series, which is a little less annoying to be broken up. I typically can get through about 2 episodes a week for most shows. This is why it took me several years to get through 14 seasons total of Star Treks DS9 and Voyager (which I finished last year). My family had no interest in watching those two series with me.

Although I have the whole Fringe series on DVD, the convenience of the show coming to HBO Max in January inspired me to go ahead and do a series re-watch, something I have wanted to do since the show ended nine years ago. But my wife works at home a couple days a week, so she was home when I watched the series for lunches and got pulled into it because of the characters. So at some point before the end of the first season, she wanted to watch it with me and I couldn't watch it without her. But that also meant that it was no longer limited to my lunches and we could watch whole episodes during her TV time in the evenings. When I had started this re-watch I had expected it to take about a year. But it ended up being completed in about 5 months.





Fringe is a show with X-Files types of investigations involving fringe sciences, odd transhuman men in black, parallel universes, and time-travel. The characters are great. John Noble is a genius performer, but all of the actors are good. Despite seeming to have a lot of monster-of-the-week episodes, Fringe has pronounced metaplots. But unlike The X-Files series, almost all of Fringe episodes are actually part of the metaplot. I view the five seasons as three sequential stories: S1-3, S4, and S5. Also unlike The X-Files, Fringe gives you a lot more explanation and resolution. After my series re-watch this year, I can say that Fringe is still my favorite TV series of all time, even though its writing had a handful of sporadic "Abramisms" (minor plot wormholes).

Some more of the topics this show deals with: Existence, Protoscience, Hypnosis, Pandemic, Psychogenesis, Neuroscience, Transcendence, Cryptozoology, Synesthesia, Nanotechnology, Genetic Engineering, ESP, Artificial Intelligence, Psychokinesis, Teleportation, Precognition, Cybernetics, Suspended Animation, Transmogrification, Exobiology, Pyrokinesis, Hive Mind, Clairaudience, Cryonics, Multiverse, Astral Projection, Mutation, Wormholes, Singularity, Speciation, Reanimation, Neural Networks, Telepathy, Retrocognition, Biotechnology, Cellular Rejuvenation, Thought Extraction, Neural Partitioning, Brain Porting, Temporal Plasticity, Chaos Structure, Clonal Transplantation, Quantum Entanglement, Psychometry, Viral Therapy, Time Paradox, Bilocation, Psychic Surgery, Transgenics, Hope, Community, Joy, Individuality, Education, Imagination, Private Thought, Due Process, Ownership, Free Will, and Freedom. FRINGE

Did anyone else enjoy this show? Have any questions? I may be able to help since the series is relatively fresh on my mind.
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KageRyu
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2022 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not remember a lot of Fringe (when compared to other media I have watched). I do remember I was initially skeptical, and very much considered it an X-Files clone for at least half of the first season. I always did like Walter though, he amused me, so I kept watching (I had loved the X-Files initially but grew jaded on it as it when on). I enjoyed Fringe a lot more when they started getting into the whole alternate universe plots, and some of the creepy things with Mr. September (which the Chronomicon in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. very much reminded me of). As I remember I was very unhappy with the final season because it did not seem to fit - the story seemed to suddenly jump positions, and things were being referenced I do not remember at all. I may have missed some episodes in the previous to last season, and since I have never felt the desire to re-watch it, I only have my initial feelings and memories. Part of my disappointment ties in directly to the fact that another show Bad Robot was behind (Lost) I felt the final season was the worst and a complete cop out, and I recall feeling Fringe was similarly a not well finished final season.
Still, there were ideas and concepts in the series I really enjoyed, and would have loved to have learned more about. I do like shows that touch on alternate worlds, though it seems there are few, and they do not last long. If you and your wife liked the alternate world Idea but wanted something without the Monsters or such I could recommend a few (though likely you are familiar with them already). Counterpart (which I feel ended too early), Dark (Very slow to start and seems like a missing person show...but really trippy once it's going - mediocre dubbing), Sysyphus: The Myth (only made it to episode 4 before it seemed to vanish off netflix, but it had some interesting ideas). There was another show from long ago whose name escapes me that involved traveling to an alternate world through a pyramid.
Maybe if I get time I will try to borrow Fringe from the Library to rewatch it... once I get this new housing crisis squared away.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2022 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The parallel universe plot was completely resolved at the end of season 4. The only thing left unresolved to still address in the final season was the mystery of the Observers. Season 5 finally revealed what the real purpose of the Observers had been all along (they were an unwitting scouting team to reconnoiter history for an invasion of the early 21st century). Without seasons 5, then the Observers would have been in the first four seasons for no known reason. And their presence and purpose were absolutely vital to the series, because the whole series including the red/blue universe war never would have happened if an Observer hadn't accidentally altered history back in 1985.

Granted, the 5th season was a big left turn for the series. If the show had been an episodic one I can see the change seeming abrupt and radical. But the show's metaplot was leading to Seasons 5 the entire time. Sure, they could have devised a different premise for Season 5 that explained the Observers yet stayed closer to the previous four seasons, but I think they were trying to do something different with what they knew ahead of time would be the final season.

The episode that introduced Season 5's 2026 story was actually a part of Season 4, several episodes before the end of Season 4. I'm guessing you missed that episode. The series was in danger of being cancelled in Season 4, but the producers asked for a partial season to get the series episode total up to 100 episodes (to make it eligible for syndication) and to finish off the metaplot. So a Season 4 episode ("Letters of Transit") was made as a 'proof of concept' for Season 5. The Season 5 title sequence was made as a part of that Season 4 episode's budget, and the season's set-up was literally introduced with an opening crawl at the beginning of the episode. The gamble worked and Fox ordered 13 episodes for Season 5 to resolve the Observer metaplot.

"Letters of Transit" had nothing to do with the Season 4 story at the time aired, and it actually spoils a few things about the end of Season 4. So in my re-watch, we skipped that episode where it falls in the Season 4 sequence and finished the rest of Season 4 first so my wife wouldn't be spoiled, and then went back to that episode. The first episode of Season 5 picks up where "Letters of Transit" leaves off, and that episode opens with a flashback of the 2015 invasion talked about in the opening crawl of the "Letters of Transit."

Fringe is my favorite overall series so I like every season, but my favorite seasons were probably Seasons 2 and 3.

I've never seen a single episode of Lost, but I've heard that many were dissatisfied with the ending of the series. I'm not in the market for a new franchise and it doesn't seem that interesting to me anyway.

I liked The X-Files, but I only saw occasional episodes when the first nine seasons aired. I've still never seen it all. I did rent all of the "mythology" episodes of the first nine seasons on DVD before I ever watched Fringe. And of course I've seen the two movies. I caught Season 10 when it aired, but had never seen any of Season 11 so I just started watching that on Hulu.
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KageRyu
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2022 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like I may have missed several episodes from season 4. I know there were problems with how the local fox affiliate ran it (the owner of the Fox Affiliate was also the owner of the local NBC affiliate and had been NBC a lot longer which led to conflicts). I was also dealing with a lot of turmoil and was not always able to watch. I know I was having trouble keeping up somewhere around where there was that Animated Episode, but I was unable to watch that whole episode even.

Even though I did really enjoyed Lost initially, I could not recommend it. I could not give specific reasons without lots of spoilers, but I would be affraid you would end up let down by it - or upset at it.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2022 3:56 pm    Post subject: Fringe Reply with quote

KageRyu wrote:
It sounds like I may have missed several episodes from season 4. I know there were problems with how the local fox affiliate ran it (the owner of the Fox Affiliate was also the owner of the local NBC affiliate and had been NBC a lot longer which led to conflicts). I was also dealing with a lot of turmoil and was not always able to watch. I know I was having trouble keeping up somewhere around where there was that Animated Episode, but I was unable to watch that whole episode even.

The partially animated episode was actually in Season 3. The consciousness of Leonard Nimoy's character (William Bell), who had died at the end of Season 2, resided in Olivia's body. (This will sound familiar to people who have seen Star Trek III). It was harmful to Olivia and they could not communicate with her, and they had to figure out a way to get Bell's consciousness out of her safely. Walter devised a method of connecting to her mind so Walter and Peter basically did an "inception" where they went into Olivia's unconsciousness, which was portrayed as animated dreamworld. There was an animated William Bell in there. The animation in the episode worked for the premise.

The reason they had to do Olivia's mind as animation in that episode was because Nimoy had insisted he was retired from acting but he relented to a compromise of voice work only. Abrams later talked Nimoy into fully coming out of retirement for live action a couple times after this episode though.

KageRyu wrote:
Even though I did really enjoyed Lost initially, I could not recommend it. I could not give specific reasons without lots of spoilers, but I would be affraid you would end up let down by it - or upset at it.

Thanks. I am someone that can enjoy episodes along the way but I like TV series that are going somewhere and end in a way meaningful to the entire series. I don't want to waste time with a show that starts off great if it ends bad.

KageRyu wrote:
Maybe if I get time I will try to borrow Fringe from the Library to rewatch it... once I get this new housing crisis squared away.

By my own criteria, I can recommend Fringe. But it is a metaplot show so it really works best if you watch the whole series from the beginning, and in the proper sequence. Even episodes that don't strongly seem as a part of the metaplot do have sometimes subtle character developments that still work best when viewed sequentially. There are only two episodes that have special considerations.
    "Unearthed" - This episode was an oddball situation. Fox had contracted for the production of 21 episodes for Season 1, but through a clerical error they only scheduled 20 time slots. So the Fringe producers picked the most standalone script and filmed that episode last, after they filmed the cliffhanger season finale. The episode didn't air until the middle of Season 2, which made no sense in the context of the Season 2 story and included a jarring 'resurrection' of a character who had died before that point. The episode aired at a special time and night so it was shoehorned into the Season 2 schedule, but back then no one explained all this so it confused a lot of fans. HBO Max has the episodes in production order so this one is at the end of Season 1 (when Olivia was actually in the red universe). On DVD this episode appears as a special feature in Season 2. As far as when this episode was originally intended to take place, I've heard many opinions, all somewhere between the 12th and 19th episodes of Season 1. In addition to it being standalone, the story and performance of a key guest star are commonly considered subpar. I saw it once when I watched the Season 2 DVD and thought it wasn't that good. I skipped it on my HBO Max re-watch this year. "Unearthed" seems to be almost universally disliked by Fringe fans. I suggest skipping it, but this is the only episode to skip!

    "Letters of Transit" - As mentioned previously, this episode was made as a part of Season 4 but intended to launch the story of Season 5, as a proof-of-concept/pilot to sell Fox on approving a final partial season to resolve the main metaplot of the entire series. I guess Fox didn't want to only see it to decide, but they also wanted to make sure it didn't bomb in the ratings, because it aired in production order before the final three episodes of Season 4, when the production team would have to start work on the final season. "Letters of Transit" is must-see but I strongly suggest skipping it until after watching the final three episodes of Season 4. (Otherwise some of the end of the Season 4 would be spoiled.) On DVD, "Letters of Transit" is on the second to last disc for Season 4, and the final three episodes are on the last disc.
The series took until the end of Season 1 to reveal the parallel universe plot, but the original Observer character (September) appears in first three episodes of the series and becomes a part of the plot in the 4th episode. There is one or more Observers in every single episode of the entire series, and as revealed in Season 2, September had accidentally created the timeline the show took place in so is responsible for the parallel universe war in the first place. The fifth season finally addresses what the Observer mission was in the first place, and provides resolution. I found in my re-watch that seeing all the Observer appearances from the beginning and knowing it was all leading somewhere made it more enjoyable for me.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2022 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems, somehow, I missed a lot of Season 3 and all of season 4. Not sure how that happened. So far I have not recognized any of the season 4 episodes.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2022 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I watched (and enjoyed) Fringe when it originally aired, but have not revisited it since.

To me, both The X-Files and LOST are far superior shows, but all three are excellent and worth watching. I disagree with many about the ending of LOST (the vast majority of fan complaints I've seen completely misinterpret and misunderstand the ending).

The X-Files is a fantastic series, but was also horribly mismanaged as it went on (the series creator/showrunner insisted on no series bible) and by the time of S10 and S11 it completely contradicts itself and undoes its own canon.

I didn't know that about "Letters of Transit". That's quite fascinating.

All three main characters were played by great actors, but John Noble especially stood out with his brilliant portrayal of Walter.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2022 2:16 am    Post subject: X-Files Reply with quote

The X-Files series, all 11 seasons, is on Hulu. The two films are on HBO Max.

DougRed4 wrote:
To me, both The X-Files and LOST are far superior shows, but all three are excellent and worth watching. I disagree with many about the ending of LOST (the vast majority of fan complaints I've seen completely misinterpret and misunderstand the ending).

The X-Files is a fantastic series, but was also horribly mismanaged as it went on (the series creator/showrunner insisted on no series bible) and by the time of S10 and S11 it completely contradicts itself and undoes its own canon.

I didn't watch The X-Files regularly during the original run (the first nine seasons). I hadn't seen the finale back then. But several years ago I rented the "mythology" DVD sets (that only have the series metaplot episodes), and I worked my way through all of them, disc by disc. It was quite a ride. Overall, I did enjoy it. I watched Season 10 in 2016 but finally watched Season 11 from 2018 this year, just finishing it last week (I rewatched the two mythology episodes from Season 10 first to refresh my memory).

Unlike Fringe, most X-Files cases are left unresolved, so the Season 9 finale was their chance to finally deliver some resolution as if the whole series had been leading to it. They even tweaked some of the case summaries to include a bit more conclusiveness than the episodes had originally provided because they realized in the 11th hour how unresolved the show was. But their efforts were too little too late, and we were left hanging about a future alien invasion coming in 2012. I would have been fine with the Season 9 finale if there had been a 2012 action-thriller X-Files film that actually had the alien invasion and provided conclusion to that original mythology. But there was the issue of funding so to test the waters they had a low budget monster-of-the-week movie in 2008 (which I thought was pretty good for a feature-length X-Files episode), but it was not successful enough to get that 2012 alien invasion movie made. Without the alien invasion, the Season 9 finale was very disappointing to me, which does affect my appreciation of the series. That's one reason why I enjoyed Fringe as a series more than The X-Files franchise. In Fringe, we actually got decisive conclusions to the universe war and the observers/invaders meddling with history.

And continuing The X-Files series post-2012 on TV unfortunately meant undoing what little resolution from the first nine seasons we did get. The reason the 10th and 11th seasons introduced the retcon to the prior mythology was because the 2012 alien invasion never happened. An additional layer to the prior alien conspiracy being added was the only way to extend the series with a TV budget. The supposed alien invasion was revealed to have been a smokescreen hiding the real "truth" that the Smoking Man was going to use alien DNA to create a pandemic to decimate human population. He had manufactured the coming alien invasion hoax using real alien technology and DNA from the 1947 Roswell spaceship crash. William was the key to Smoking Man's plan working.

I don't care too much for undoing prior Season 9 conclusion and I would have instead preferred the alien invasion, but since that didn't happen and couldn't, what they did was not a bad idea to extend the franchise. However it is really stupid that Smoking Man survived the end of Season 9. And I also didn't care for the entire final episode of Season 10 later being revealed to have just been a vision of a possible future. The end of Season 11 provided some level of resolution for this new paradigm: Smoking Man was killed before he could use William, and William secretly survived. The X-Files are again closed, Mulder and Scully are no longer in the FBI, and Scully is pregnant with Mulder's child. It does suck that we don't know if Skinner survived (he could have though).

Now it seems to me that perhaps the greater enjoyment of The X-Files may come from the individual monster-of-the week episodes not a part of the mythology/metaplot. The only seasons I have seen the whole way though (and thus including all the monster-of-the-week episodes) are Seasons 10 and 11. Just like I remember from the first nine seasons episodes that I saw, the newer monster-of-the-week episodes also vary in quality. One of the Season 11 episodes that I really got a kick out of was "The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat" a heavily satirical episode with a hilarious scathing criticism of a certain aspect of our society. Sometime I want to rewatch "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" followed by "The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat".

I do plan to go through the entire first nine seasons of The X-Files someday, so then I can see all the monster-of-the-week episodes and finally see everything I missed. But that is such a major commitment as it will likely take me years to get through it. I had found the first seven seasons on DVD cheap and bought them new, but never even opened my copies.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2022 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your summary is very accurate, and I for the most part concur. I did think the S9 finale was good, but it did take a lot of finagling to make it all make sense.

The undoing of the original 9 season Mytharc was a somewhat clever way of redoing the alien invasion storyline, but if CSM was using alien tech to obfuscate what was really going on, then how do we explain things like the alien we literally saw in the first movie, Fight the Future? Or the other times we actually saw alien Greys (like when the monstrous alien that went into a nuclear reactor in the S6 premiere and transformed into a Grey)?

I still love the franchise, but I can readily admit that the Mytharc (my favorite part) is a convoluted mess. Rolling Eyes

My favorite episodes of the series are the comedic ones by Darrin Morgan (so Jose Chung's, Humbug, and Lost Art of Forehead Sweat) and my #1 fave is another funny one (Bad Blood by Vince Gilligan).
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2022 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DougRed4 wrote:
Your summary is very accurate, and I for the most part concur. I did think the S9 finale was good, but it did take a lot of finagling to make it all make sense.

The undoing of the original 9 season Mytharc was a somewhat clever way of redoing the alien invasion storyline, but if CSM was using alien tech to obfuscate what was really going on, then how do we explain things like the alien we literally saw in the first movie, Fight the Future? Or the other times we actually saw alien Greys (like when the monstrous alien that went into a nuclear reactor in the S6 premiere and transformed into a Grey)?

Those are good questions the show probably has no intention of ever answering definitively (if it even continues, which seems unlikely according to Gillian Anderson).

Remember, even after the Season 10 retcon, aliens are still real in The X-Files universe. Real Greys did crash in New Mexico in 1947. There could have been more aliens that made it Earth since then. Or they could have been cloned from real alien DNA and created on Earth to perpetuate the alien invasion hoax. Or there could have been hypnosis affecting people's memories, like in "Jose Chung's." I do remember seeing the reactor episode you mentioned but no specifics. The alien black oil could still be real and ancient alien. The Season 10 retcon didn't undo the entire canon before it. It just established that the alien invasion that was to come in 2012 was a hoax hiding Smoking Man's true agenda, the alien DNA pandemic and decimation of human life on Earth. The 2012 alien invasion part of it was definitively a hoax because in Season 10 (2016), it obviously hadn't happened.

DougRed4 wrote:
My favorite episodes of the series are the comedic ones by Darrin Morgan (so Jose Chung's, Humbug, and Lost Art of Forehead Sweat) and my #1 fave is another funny one (Bad Blood by Vince Gilligan).

I saw "Bad Blood" the first time it aired and enjoyed it. I'm pretty sure I've never seen "Humbug." I will add these to other two and watch all four of these within the next couple weeks.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2022 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Chris Carter is more about shaking things up and doing the unexpected than he is doing what makes more narrative sense. I was just reading some stuff on an XF FB thread and even now (in a recent interview) he's kind of backtracking and suggesting that the CSM in an unreliable narrator and known liar (mostly he was talking about the stuff about CSM being the father of William, but some references were made about the alien invasion, too).

From everything I've read on various sites, most TXF fans were disappointed with much of S10 and S11. The 'shippers' didn't like the (literal) rape that is alleged to have happened to Scully by CSM, nor the inconsistencies and issues in the relationship between M&S, and the Mythology fans (like me) have all sorts of issues with the changes made to that part of the story. It's kind of like you talk about with "your" SWU, Whill; I find it even more common among TXF fandom for people to say they don't acknowledge anything after a certain period (often S7) as being 'canon' to them, personally.

That's awesome that you'll check those out. Another funny one that is often acknowledged as being one of the best episodes of the show's entire run is "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose". It's not one of my personal favorites, but it is really well done.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2022 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course, not every fan likes later seasons and that's ok. I was just responding to the canon being "contradicted." Yes, there are a lot of unanswered questions like you said; 'If it wasn't that then what was it really?' But it isn't necessarily a contradiction by saying a new layer of conspiracy was added that the alien invasion planned for 2012 was a hoax to hide a different horrible plan for a later date. Whether fans like it or not, it is not necessarily a contradiction. Of course, each fan can determine their own personal canon like with SW.

Yes, it certainly is possible that CSM is still lying. The alien invasion never happened in 2012, but maybe what he says is the truth now is also a lie.

I had heard of the supposed "rape" outrage, but I never interpreted that CSM was even saying he had drugged Scully and 'literally' sexually violated her. I thought he was suggesting it was an artificial insemination. And I also never believed CSM. It seemed to me CSM would say that to Skinner just to make him think that he really cared about William, when he (obviously to viewers) doesn't care and only wanted William for what he was needed for.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You make some good points. I suppose the new layer of conspiracy with the 2012 invasion being a hoax is a possibility.

But sometimes it's just the jarring inconsistencies that are frustrating to fans. For instance, Mulder was completely a pariah on the run from the FBI after the S9 finale, and yet by the second movie they offer him a pardon to solve a pretty mundane crime (and no mention of the 2012 date even comes up). The last time we had seen him the government was going out of its way to silence him with a fake trial. And what about all of the alien replicants (with the strange bumps in their spines) that S8 and S9 had focused on? These "super soldiers" were just sort of forgotten about and ignored after those seasons. But there had been all sorts of indications that they had infiltrated the highest levels of government.

I do think there were a lot of contradictions overall, but that's really just because they refused to have a series bible and the producers (especially Carter) focused more on their current story, and didn't so much worry about past continuity.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:56 pm    Post subject: X Reply with quote

A series bible may have helped the series, but it is quite pointless for the post-S9 franchise if the series creator and main metaplot contributor is the primary one contradicting the earlier franchise. The mythology wasn't contradicted by accident because of a lack of bible. It was a very intentional choice for a specific purpose.

The second film and first episode of S10 should be realistically viewed for what they are, a franchise reset to make the series more conducive to extension that we got. There was really no satisfactory place for the original story to go except for a 2012 alien invasion, and only a big budget film could really do that justice. When the gross of the second film didn't attract any investors for the invasion film, that story had to be dropped. In a post-2012 X-File universe without an invasion, there is really no place for the super soldiers in the story. The only thing left to continue the franchise were possible TV seasons, and the best option was a "return to form" by resetting things so that the X-Files were reopened, and Mulder and Scully return to the FBI to make the show somewhat similar to how it was in the first seven seasons.

Personally I was unsatisfied by the S9 finale, but I understand that without the alien invasion I will never get a fitting conclusion to that story, so I just try to enjoy what I can out of the series extension. Maybe after S9, the infiltration of super soldiers was uncovered by the FBI. It could be that a biological weakness such as a virus destroyed all the super soldiers before the second film, and that is why it was so easy for the FBI to "forgive" Mulder, because Mulder was vindicated. Would the reset paradigm of S10-11 have been any better received by X-philes if the producers had taken the time to incorporate this explanation into it? I'm doubtful.

The new metaplot of the reset is "mythology light," so the main purpose of it seems to be to allow for more classic Mulder-Scully FBI monster-of-the-week episodes without being bogged down by a commitment to an unrealized deep mythology. And the S10 mythology episodes were the worst received of that season, so S11 had an intentional choice to even further distance them from aliens and focus on William. The S11 finale doesn't reunite Mulder and Scully with William (they think he's dead), but William is now free of being hunted, CSM is dead (again), there will be no world population decimating pandemic, the X-Files are closed (again), Mulder and Scully are together as a couple, and Scully is pregnant with a new child of Mulder's. It's no alien invasion, but personally I find that it's a slightly more satisfying ending than the S9 finale.

Maybe diehard fans would be less frustrated by S10-11 if they just viewed them as taking place in a parallel universe to the original franchise? If the series hadn't been extended we never would have gotten "The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat" episode! Going forward, my focus on The X-Files is going to be on the monster-of-the-week episodes. When I someday go through the first seven seasons of the series to see everything I missed, I think I will probably skip most of the mythology episodes since (1) I have already seen them all, and (2) the metaplot doesn't really have a satisfying conclusion anyway.
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