The X-Files: Season 1

The X-Files: Season 1 (1999)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson
Extras: Documentary, Interviews, TV Spots, Deleted Scenes

For those of you who are reading this to get a review of the content of ’The X-Files: Season One Collector’s Edition’, just bear with me for a moment. Because, first, instead of reviewing the box set, I must review the box itself. If you haven’t seen it in person, then do yourself a favor and do so. The box is the same width as an Amaray case and has the depth of three Amaray cases, but it holds seven discs! That’s right, seven discs. When the box containing mine arrived, I assumed that there had been a mistake. It was just too small! This modern engineering marvel unfolds (three to the left and four to the right) to reveal the seven discs and a slot for the accompanying booklet. The box itself is very cool. However, when you see the box set, it doesn’t look like something that should retail for $149.95. That’s when you have to take a look at the content.

’The X-Files: Season One Collector’s Edition’ contains all 24 episodes from the show’s inaugral 1993-1994 season, spread out over six discs. The seventh disc contains several bonus features. The episodes are each presented full-frame, as they were shot for television. For the most part, the picture is very clear on each disc, with some inconsistencies based on the location being shot (the stock footage shots of D.C. are somewhat grainier than the rest of the show). Each episode features Dolby 2-channel Surround sound and it is used very effectively to help heighten the veiwing experience.

The special features contained in the box set are a dream come true for the ’X-Files’ completist. Disc One contains two scenes which were delted from the ’Pilot’ episode which feature Agent Scully’s boyfriend. There are also clips from the show dubbed into other languages (why?). Disc Seven features an 11-minute documentary, giving an overview of Season One. This features interviews with much of the cast and crew (but not Duchovny and Anderson) and features some great comments from Dean Haglund (Langly) on the show’s lighting style. There are twelve short interviews with Chris Carter, which feature Carter commenting on specific episodes. These were originally made for the VHS and laser releases of the Season One episodes. We also have 11 ’Behind-the-Truth’ promo spots, which originally aired when ’The X-Files’ hit syndication on F/X. These brief clips give background info on certain episodes or aspects of the show. The bonus features conclude with 47 (!) original promo commercials for the show from FOX.

As for the quality of the episodes themselves, I wouldn’t begin to know how to review this set, for it offers so many different episodes. Season One contains some episodes which I consider classics (’Pilot’) and some losers as well (’Shapes’). As someone who prefers the individual episodes to the arcing conspiracy plot, Season One represents a time when ’The X-Files’ was still trying to gain its footing, but wasn’t bogged down with a confusing mythos. ’The X-Files: Season One Collector’s Edition’ should be a no-brainer to die hard fans of the show. And for those of you who aren’t as familiar with the show, this the perfect place to start learning. The truth is out there, and it’s in a really small box.