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The X-Files FAQ

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The X-Files FAQ

Post by sir on Sun 20 Sep - 16:36

Review: The X-Files FAQ - All Thatís Left to Know About Global Conspiracy, Aliens, Lazarus Species, and Monsters of the Week.



With The X-Files FAQ, John Kenneth Muir presents us with a well-written, if at times exhaustive, look back at our favorite show. The book covers all nine seasons and two movies, going so far as to delve into precursors, spin-offs, and homages that would later be produced. The X-Files FAQ: All Thatís Left to Know About Global Conspiracy, Aliens, Lazarus Species, and Monsters of the Week is a result of either painstaking research, or abiding love. I suspect itís a combination of the two.

We have a copy of Johnís book to giveaway, so read on for details and our full review.

The X-Files FAQ is a comprehensive guide to the series and a must-have for a lapsed fan looking to catch up before the premiere of season ten, or perhaps a new Phile, looking to supplement their viewing and bone up on the basics before the madness begins in January of 2016. I want to note up front that this book is detailed. So, that being said, Avast! Thar be spoilers ayonder! If youíve somehow managed to stay X-Files free for the past twenty odd years, youíve been warned.

As an avid fan, I have to admit that I skimmed some parts of the book. A heavy portion recaps the notable episodes of each season, which will make an excellent reference guide in the future, but itís worth noting that though I enjoyed Johnís insight into each episode, it was a bit of a slog and included a lot of basic plot outlining which I found somewhat tedious. On the flip-side, my recommended audience for the book might find this section very helpful. New and lapsed Philes alike will surely appreciate the handy wiki to all the pertinent episodes.

What I really appreciated was the television and cultural history that was liberally sprinkled among the facts and figures. Of note: Muirís comparison between Pax Britannica, the arrival of relative peace and globalism at the turn of the 20th century, and Pax Americana, the Clinton years and the advent of the Internet. I enjoyed the thorough review of the crewís careers, past and present - although I now have a bone to pick with Mark Snow. Wonder Pets? Really? My child is almost a teenager and Iíve still got that song stuck in my head! - and it goes without saying that the foreword by Chris Carter is a treasure. We get so little from the man, the myth, the mystery that is our shipís captain, and it was nice to read Carterís thoughts with the revival soon upon us. It is a love letter to the people responsible for bringing us The X-Files and it made me sigh, a happy little sigh.

Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed Mr Muirís argument for I Want To Believe. Itís no secret that the fan base is sharply divided over their love and/or hate of the second feature film and I think Muir does a really robust, well thought out, and carefully considered rebuff of some of the chief complaints. As someone who quite liked the film but was sorely disappointed by both the direction Carter chose to take the franchise and the marketing Fox did or maybe more accurately, did not execute, Muirís analysis gave me some comfort and perhaps even a rallying appreciation for the movie.

Another section of note is Muirís dissection of the opening credits. All this time, Iíd just been whistling merrily along, not really paying attention, and he opened my eyes to the symbolism and thought that went into those few short seconds at the opening of every episode.

Overall, this is a solid guide to The X-Files and would make a great addition to any Phileís bookshelves.

The X-Files FAQ: All Thatís Left to Know About Global Conspiracy, Aliens, Lazarus Species, and Monsters of the Week is available now on Amazon and at Hal Leonard Books

And now for the giveaway!

Are you a lapsed Phile, in need of a refresher course? A new Phile, looking to supplement your viewing? Or maybe youíre just an avid collector who needs every piece of merchandise related to The X-Files. No matter the reason, one lucky Phile will receive a copy of The X-Files FAQ.

Hereís what you need to do:

Tell us how you became a Phile, and why you need a copy of The X-Files FAQ. Then email your answers to contests@xfilesnews.com. You have until October 8th, 2015 to submit your entry!

Thatís it, easy as pie. The winner will be picked by the staff of XFN.



Xfielsnews.com

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Re: The X-Files FAQ

Post by jade1013 on Sun 20 Sep - 16:42


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Re: The X-Files FAQ

Post by jade1013 on Mon 4 Jan - 11:53

The X-Files FAQ

Category: Book Reviews †
Published: Monday, 04 January 2016 †
Written by Karin Crighton

"The X-Files FAQ" Book Review

Written by Karin Crighton

Published by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books


Written by John Kenneth Muir
2015, 368 pages, Reference
Released on August 1st, 2015

Review:


The X-Files FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Global Conspiracy, Aliens, Lazarus Species, and Monsters of the Week delivers on its title. This book tackles everything, from the political climate that set the stage for Chris Carter's inspiration to Fox Mulder and Dana Scully action figure sets still available for diehard fans. Muir chronicles every season, pulling out the important details and episodes and deconstructing the "Mytharc" as it was slowly revealed over the nine years The X-Files was on the air.

Muir is very organised in his presentation; he opens with the past that led up the X-Files: Watergate, NAFTA, even referencing Pax Britannica to explain our own mini-era of Pax America. Muir's knowledge after a career in politics in DC makes him the perfect historian for a show revolving around federal agents. Kolchak, Twin Peaks, and Night Gallery are all credited with assisting in the creation of The X-Files, and Muir explains what each of these series contribute. From there he heads into explaining the underlying conspiracy that threatened Mulder and Scully's work, what he termed the "Mytharc" and its major characters. He also details the Monster of the Week format that frequently filled the gaps between Mytharc episodes. From there we move into breaking down each season, the monsters of week discussed and the advancement of the conspiracy story over the year.

Muir doesn't stop there, either. He goes into theology, ecology, sociology; everything you might not have considered watching The X-Files on your sofa on Friday or Sunday night. He explains the beloved and reviled characters that kept returning, the remarkable characters of Mulder and Scully, and most importantly of all, just how much the X-Files changed television for the better.

Muir loves the X-Files. Perhaps a little too much. I was in middle school when the X-Files premiered and I seem to remember coming across it sometime in 1995. On Fridays when I had plans ice skating, I had my dad set the VCR to record episodes on FOX so I could watch Saturday morning. When they moved to Sundays, I was thrilled I would be home since it was a school night. I bought an X-Files calendar and taped up the photos on my walls. I read the novels. I bought magazines where Gillian was interviewed. I got my hair cut like hers. I kept the TV Guide with her and Duchovny in my keepsake box. I had the soundtrack. I lost my mind when Fight the Future came to theatres. I loved the X-Files. But I can admit it was terrible plenty of times. It lost its way when Duchovny decided to leave the show and the Samantha mystery faltered to a disappointing end. I never even saw I Want to Believe, I had been so disillusioned.

The X-Files was certainly revolutionary, especially for female characters on television. Scully created a slew of roles for female medical professionals and smart women in general. Muir doesn't mention it, but the Scully Effect was a real-life phenomenon where female enrollment in science and engineering schools spiked after the X-Files aired. The X-Files was, and is still, a big deal. It's completely re-watchable and holds up just as well today as it did twenty years ago.

But it is still a television show. What it represents was wonderful and sacred but the way Muir refuses to say anything against the show is very frustrating. He defends the replacement cast (and yes, they're lovely, but we showed up for Mulder and Scully) and even argues that I Want to Believe is a great movie and no one gave it a chance. Muir cites shows that "inspired" the X-Files but refers to shows inspired by the X-Files as "knockoffs and ripoffs". It's pretty unfair to anyone that admires Carter the way that Carter admired Rod Serling or Alfred Hitchcock. They're treated as cheap imitators while he's a god in Muir's eyes. We all make mistakes and the X-Files made plenty of them. I'm watching ďFireĒ right now, for example.

The X-Files FAQ is worth a read just for the breadth of knowledge, but it must be taken with a grain of salt. I find listening to the X-Files Files podcast hosted by Kumail Nanjiani is a good counterpart. While Muir provides the hard science and history, Nanjiani and his guests provide you with the down-to-earth experience of the episode. And they admit that if you hated an episode, it's valid. Nothing is above reproach, even a show as amazing the X-Files was as a whole when it came into this world.

The Truth Ė if I might borrow a favorite phrase of Mulder's Ė is that we can all still appreciate that there was nothing quite like it before, and hasn't been since. It's still special and wonderful. And we can hope together the coming 2016 miniseries will be the show we loved so many years ago.

Grades:


Overall:





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Re: The X-Files FAQ

Post by sir on Mon 4 Jan - 11:58

Thanks

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Re: The X-Files FAQ

Post by jade1013 on Sun 28 Feb - 10:16

John Kenneth Muir Ė The X-Files FAQ review


FOX

Pip Ellwood-Hughes
1 min ago


Credit: Applause Theatre Book Publishers

The X-Files has staged quite the comeback this year returning to the small screen after 14 years away. The last time we saw Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) was in the poorly received second X-Files movie I Want to Believe in 2008. Last year it was announced that the show would be coming back as a limited series for 6 episodes and on both sides of the Atlantic it returned to big ratings. In the US the 6 episodes have now aired and in the UK weíre half way through the series on Channel 5. With X-Files nostalgia at an all-time high, itís no surprise that books on the series have started popping up again.

Literary critic and long-time X-Phile (thatís the name for hardcore fans of the show in case you think itís a typo!) John Kenneth Muir has put together a book that looks at the show from all angles offering insight and musings on all 9 seasons, the two movies and exploring the impact the show had on the TV landscape. The book opens with an introduction from The X-Files creator Chris Carter before moving on to a chronological history of the series.

Early on in the book Muir outlines exactly what the book is stating itís not a rehash of the many books on the series that have come before. Instead its aim is to look at the showís impact and explores the reason why it still resonates more than 20 years after it originally aired.

As a long-time X-Phile myself much of the information contained in this book Iíve come across before. The book is best placed for those who had a casual relationship with the show as it outlines all of the basics such as who the main and support characters are, as well as giving background on each season of the show. Within the season chapters Muir explores selected episodes from the season looking at their themes and relevance. If youíre after a definitive episode guide then this isnít the book for you and youíll likely find what youíre after on the Internet.

There are some elements of the book I really liked. Muir offers a ĎDo You Remember the One Where?í segment exploring crucial events from a small selection of episodes and there are several chapters focus on monsters and key themes in the latter half of the book. Those are perhaps the most unique parts of the book. Muir also gives a passionate defence for the much derided second big screen outing I Want to Believe (itís nice to know Iím not the only one who liked the movie!).

Toward the end of the book Muir looks at the shows inspired by (or should I say that ripped off?) The X-Files and he looks at the other work Chris Carter did as well as the iconic series. Sadly Carter has never found another long-running vehicle since The X-Files ended and some X-Files fans would have you believe that heís not as good a writer as he likes to think.

The X-Files FAQ is a comprehensive book that will definitely prove a good read for some fans of the series. If like me you were obsessed with the show back in the day, then you may not find enough here to warrant adding the book to your already bulging collection. If an overview of the series and an exploration of its core and recurring themes is what youíre after, then look no further than this well-written and well-researched offering.

Book Publisher: Applause Theatre Book Publishers
Release Date: 28th October 2015

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Re: The X-Files FAQ

Post by sir on Sun 28 Feb - 10:26

Thanks

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