Even X-Files Had Stinkers

I've begun to watch the X-Files from beginning to end. I've seen swaths of episodes from time to time. It isn't the sort of thing that I can watch week after week after week, but it is the sort of thing where I can sit down and watch a DVD's worth of episodes at a clip.
And it's good stuff. I'll probably write about it now and again, but I want to say first that "The Ghost in the Machine" is possibly the stupidest episode I've ever seen on TV.

It's from the first season—episode seven or something--and it made me realize: hey, even X-Files had its awful episodes.

I suppose the whole thing is really a matter of long-term quality versus short-term quality. In the short-term, you're dealing with a bad writer or a poor director or off-days for the actors. A Joss Whedon who produces a very nearly flawless first season (Firefly) is highly unusual (and expensive). In the long run, X-Files gains the quality reputation that it deserves, but honestly, that one episode was really, really terrible.

The plot was straight out of Star Trek (and at least with Star Trek, there was that camp-Star-Trekky feel to it): computer becomes sentient and attempts to take over EVERYTHING, killing people right and left and causing its poor creator to have a nervous breakdown. And guess how Mulder kills its? Mulder, who won't even kill deadly alien amoebas because he wants to "study them"? That's right, you guessed it, he gives it a virus!!! I sat there the whole time, going, "Uh, cut the power, guys. Uh, shut off the power and the generator. Uh, guys, it isn't that difficult."

And poor David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are stuck there having to take this all very, very seriously.

On the other hand, I have to keep reminding myself that the show started in the 1990s. They keep using regular phones or really, really big cell phones, which confused me for awhile. There's something rather impressive about the undateability of the episodes. (Star Trek, on the other hand, can always be dated to about five years). Granted the 90s were pretty hip, but 12 years later, Scully's clothes and hair still look trés chic. Back to the first hand, even for the 1990s the show is fairly inexcusable. It was okay for Star Trek in the 1960s and for the 2001: A Space Odyssey. But the 1990s? Oh, please.


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