20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson
Extras: Deleted Scenes, Documentary, Promo Spots, Behind-the-Scenes, Creator Interviews
It’s obvious that 20th Century Fox Home Video’s motto is ’If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’ when it comes to ’The X-Files: The Complete Second Season’. This handsome box-set is almost identical in appearance and special features as the first ’X-Files’ compilation set. This collection of the 25 episodes from the second season of the popular Fox program ’The X-Files’ should please any fan who was happy with the first set. Having said that, reviewing a product like this never easy, because it is so subjective. I imagine that only fans of the show would go out and spend $100-plus for this box-set. Secondly, as the collection contains 25 episodes (spread out over seven DVDs) there is a wide range of quality among these episodes, so an exhaustive review of the collection would take up far too much space. (And most likely lead to great debate among ’X-Philes’.) For the record, I will say that the second season of the show was very good, overall. This was during the show’s heyday, when it was able to deftly mix episodes featuring ’the conspiracy’ and stand-alone episodes. I personally prefer the stand-alone episodes, especially when you look at the show some five years later and see that ’the conspiracy’ has only become more convoluted and confusing. The stand-out episodes in this collection include: ’Humbug’, featuring the Jim Rose Sideshow and Agenty Scully eating a bug; ’3’, an interesting vampire story; ’Die Hand Die Verletzt’, a very creepy episode with a nice surprise ending; and, of course, ’The Host’, featuring Flukeman! Also, fans of the show will remember that this was the season when Gillian Anderson’s pregnancy had to be incorporated into the plot, leaving Agent Mulder on his own for a few episodes. The episodes contained in ’The X-Files: The Complete Second Season’ represent a strong body of work, and should be cherished by any fan of the show.
The episodes in ’The X-Files: The Complete Second Season’ box-set are all presented full-frame, naturally as this is a TV show. The images are all broadcast quality or better, as the digital transfer has left us with a picture that is very crisp and clear. Keep in mind that this was a period when ’The X-Files’ hadn’t achieved ’big-budget’ status, so some of the episodes exhibit some grain. And despite that fact that the series has a dark look anyway, some of the episodes on the DVD set look a bit too dark. Still, this is the best that these shows are ever going to look, and that makes this set even more appealing. The audio on these episodes is a Dolby 2-channel surround. This audio mix is used effectively, having musical cues and some sound effects emerge from the rear channels, but for the most part, the audio is limited to the center and front channel. The dialogue is always clear and audible (although Duchovny does mumble quite a bit), and there is no audible hiss on the soundtrack.
As mentioned earlier, the special features almost mirror exactly those of the first set. There is a 15-minute documentary entitle ’The Truth Behind Season Two’, which gives an overview of the second season. This featurette offers interviews with many of the principal cast and crew members and offers an overview of the plotlines of the episodes. Next, we have a feature called ’Chris Carter Talks About Season Two.’ This contains short (2-3 minutes) interviews with series creator Carter, as he discusses twelve of the episodes in the set. (These, presumably, came from the previous VHS releases of these episodes.) We are next treated to one deleted scene from each of the following episodes; ’Sleepless’ (which contains commentary by producer Paul Rabwin), ’3’, ’Humbug’, and ’Anasazi’. (The deleted scene from ’Sleepless’ is especially interesting as it contains a variation on a very familiar character.) There are ’behind the scenes’ elements from three episodes (’Humbug’, ’Anasazi’, and ’End Game’), giving us a glimpse into how certain aspects of these episodes were accomplished. For the completist, we have 10-second and 20-second promo spots for all 25 episodes. And finally, there are nine spots from the F/X channel called ’Behind the Truth’. For each of these, one element of a certain episode is explored, such as the creation of Flukeman! For ’The X-Files’ fanatic, ’The Complete Second Season’ is a must-have, as it offers pristine versions of the episodes from season two, as well as many interesting extra features.