The X Files-Season 9 Box Set (1999)

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Released 27-Jul-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Featurette-International Clips (5) (German, Italian, Japanese)
Credits-Cast
Audio Commentary-Improbable, Jump The Shark, The Truth
Deleted Scenes-10, With Optional Commentary By Frank Spotnitz
Featurette-The Truth About Season 9
Featurette-X-Files Profiles: Monica Reyes
Featurette-X-Files Profiles: Brad Follmer
Featurette-Special Effects By Mat Beck With Narration By Paul Rabwin
TV Spots-36
Featurette-Secrets Of The X-Files
Featurette-More Secrets Of The X-Files
Featurette-Reflections on The X-Files
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 847:08 (Case: 1110)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (7)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Gillian Anderson
Cliff Bole
Rob Bowman
Chris Carter
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring David Duchovny
Gillian Anderson
Robert Patrick
Annabeth Gish
Mitch Pileggi
Case ?
RPI ? Music Syd Barrett
Soul Coughing
Sheryl Crow


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian
Greek
Italian Titling
English Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The X-Files: Season 8 ended on a high note, with the producers unsure whether they were even going to have a Season 9. When Fox Studios gave the go ahead for a final season, David Duchovny was still battling the studio executives over money, with the end result being that he agreed to only appear in a handful of episodes. While some fans were unsure about this development and the continuation of the series, this really gave Robert Patrick a chance to shine as Special Agent Doggett, and also room for Annabeth Gish to become a major character as Special Agent Monica Reyes.

    Here is a summary of the final episodes of this classic series:

Disc 1

    1. Nothing Important Happened Today (42:43) – With the evidence into the conspiracy at the FBI rapidly disappearing, and Mulder going into hiding, Agent Doggett is alerted to the deaths of two people connected to a water plant that may also have links to his own investigation. And Scully begins to believe that something is wrong with her baby William.

    2. Nothing Important Happened Today II (42:03) – Who can Doggett trust? And why is everybody, even his friends, trying to kill his investigation into the FBI? What does this have to do with a ship parked off the coast?

    3. Daemonicus (42:46) – A satanic murder draws Agent Reyes into the head of a psychopath who hears the voices of killers.

    4. 4-D (42:45) – While staking out a vicious murderer, Doggett is shot and paralysed and Monica is blamed for shooting him.

Disc 2

    5. Lord of The Flies (42:34) – A show for ridiculous stunts ends in tragedy with a boy’s head collapsing. But when his skull is found to be full of flies, this is definitely one for Reyes and Doggett, who know they have an X-File.

    6. Trust No 1 (42:45) – When Scully is approached by a young couple who claim to have a child with similar abilities to William, she is torn between luring Fox out into a trap and knowing the truth behind her baby.

    7. John Doe (42:44) – Doggett wakes up in Mexico with no memory of who he is. Cut off in a town run by criminals, can Reyes save him before the cartels discover who he is and kill him?

    8. Hellbound (42:46) – When former criminals in a small town community begin seeing people skinned alive, Reyes finds herself inexplicably drawn to the case.

Disc 3

    9. Providence (1) (42:22) – When a man tries to illegally cross the border from Canada the FBI uncover a series of sketches like those Scully took off a crashed UFO in Africa. While Skinner is trying to keep Scully out of it, she finds herself drawn in when a man tries to murder William.

    10. Providence (2) (41:19) – Who is trying to kill Scully’s baby? And what does this have to do with a UFO cult in Canada?

    11. Audrey Pauley (42:46) – After a car accident, Reyes awakens to find herself in an empty hospital with only a handful of patients..

    12. Underneath (42:45) – The release of a man Doggett put behind bars while serving as a cop in New York draws him back to the case, convinced he put the right man away despite DNA evidence to the contrary.

Disc 4

    13. Improbable (42:44) – When Reyes detects a serial killer driven by numerology, she draws Scully into her numerical view of the world with some amusing and not so amusing consequences.

    14. Scary Monsters (40:48) – Agent Harrison, who served as Doggett’s partner once the previous year, convinces Reyes and Doggett to try to save a boy whose mother died from multiple stab wounds.

    15. Jump The Shark (42:18) – After former man-in-black Morris Fletcher is nearly killed in an assassination attempt, Reyes and Doggett take him to the Lone Gunmen to try and track down their former cohort Yves Adele Harlow who Fletcher accuses of being a ‘super soldier’.

    16. William (42:19) – When a badly burned man is apprehended by Doggett breaking into the X-Files, Doggett believes it is Mulder pretending not to be who he is after the massive scarring he has suffered.

Disc 5

    17. Release (42:47) – A gifted FBI cadet points Doggett towards a series of murders that also point back towards the kidnapping and murder of Doggett’s son.

    18. Sunshine Days (42:47) – When a boy is murdered in an apparently unexplainable manner, his friend rants about the house across the street being the Brady Bunch house. Is he just a lunatic, or have Scully, Reyes and Doggett finally been handed the proof they have worked so hard to find?

    19. & 20. The Truth (83:07) – Mulder is captured inside a military installation and accused of the murder of a ‘super soldier’. The military offer a trial, and Mulder sees this as a chance to finally disclose the truth.

    Some long time fans felt that with the making of Season 8 the series had gone too far, and that it would have been better had it been wound up in Season 6 or Season 7. However, for this reviewer, The X-Files: Season 9 is an excellent closing on the small screen, with all the hallmarks that made the series a classic, with a broader canvas of characters that only serve to improve the show.

    Although admittedly there are a couple of episodes here that just don’t quite gel properly, there are also some outstanding episodes that make you remember what this show was all about, and how effective it could be when done right – episodes like 4-D, John Doe, Improbable and Release. These episodes are as good as anything ever done in this series, and are prime examples of why The X-Files was such a hit for so long.

    With the passing of a TV giant of this calibre, and with the intentionally aloof and bittersweet ending of the series, you cannot help asking yourself - Have we seen the last of The X-Files? I somehow doubt it. Rumour has it that a movie is in pre-production phase, with a tentative release date aiming somewhere around 2006, with certain appearances of Mulder and Scully and the likely inclusion of Doggett and Reyes.

    Until then, I suggest that you invest in this chapter of quirky science fiction history on DVD, because shows like this, that concentrated on the writing and the characters, are all too rare these days.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is the original aspect ratio for this season of the series.

    While I have been a little disappointed with some of the recent Fox transfers, this superb job has restored my faith ... okay, so we are obviously getting a little cultish here at MichaelDVD if I am using terms like that to describe a digital imaging process. But hey, this transfer is really smooth.

    Colours are perfectly balanced, richly saturated, and even come up well when using experimental film techniques, like those used in John Doe. Shadow detail is stunning, with deep blacks and fine gradients allowing for facial expression even in very low light..

    While there is a mild graininess to the image, this is part of the whole ‘look’ of the show, and The X-Files just wouldn’t be The X-Files without it. It is never distracting and only apparent in low-light shots.

    I am very pleased to say that there were no MPEG artefacts or detectable film-to-video artefacts. This is a real achievement, and I am just blown away by how good this transfer is for a TV series. Well done Fox Home Entertainment!

    As with previous seasons, there are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired, French, Italian, Dutch, and Greek. They appear as white with a black border and are easy to read.

    The dual-layer pause is cleverly concealed between episodes, with two episodes per layer.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    As with all previous R4 releases, we have an English 2.0 Dolby Surround track, a French 2.0 Dolby Surround track, and an Italian 2.0 Dolby Surround track. My one true lament of this transfer job is no 5.1 Dolby Digital. I can only assume that this is an intended marketing job for the future.

    These tracks are as good as anything that Fox has previously done audio wise for The X-Files. Dialogue is clear, very well reproduced, and catches the inflections of emotion nicely. There are no audio sync problems.

    There is plenty of surround information, but not as much as there would have been with a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. Lots of left-to-right directional cues, some ambience from the rears with rain and the like, but never a fully overwhelming soundfield. This is a real waste, because these episodes are just begging for the 5.1 Dolby Digital treatment.

    The range is excellent, with Mark Snow’s soundtrack again providing the chilling ambience needed to give this show its edge. I sometimes wonder just how much this show relies on Snow’s obvious talent and believe that it owes a great debt to him in terms of its success.

    This really did miss the subwoofer’s absence.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

    All menus are 16x9 enhanced. They are static shots from episodes. The disc home menus have the theme playing in 2.0 Dolby Stereo.

Cast Credits

    Every episode has a collection of stills (generally three) listing the principal cast details.

Episode Audio Commentaries

    There are audio commentaries on six episodes. Each commentary is presented in English 2.0 Dolby Surround, encoded at 192Kb/s.

International Clips

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with 2.0 Dolby Stereo. These are a collection of scenes from various episodes, generally in German, Italian or Japanese available from the episode main menu:

Disc 6

    All special features on Disc 6 are presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, unless otherwise specified.

Documentary - “The Truth About Season 9” (20:46)

    Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo. This is an excellent season overview with cast and crew interviews and a look at the real highlight episodes.

Character Profiles

    These are behind-the-scenes profiles created for the rental release of various double episodes from Season 9.

Promo Spots

    These are 40 promotional advertisements for the Fox Network, 2 for each of the episodes – one a 10 second teaser shot, the other a 20 second advertisement.

Special Effects Sequences by Mat Beck with Commentary by Paul Rabwin

    This is a series of thirteen F/X clips from the following episodes:

    Each of these scenes is accompanied by commentary from F/X supervisor Paul Rabwin, and the last one has a commentary by Mat Beck.

Deleted Scenes

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, there are 10 deleted scenes from various episodes:

    These scenes can be played incorporated into the episode, with a slight pause as it is brought into the episode, accessed via the Special Features menu for that episode.

    Alternatively, these scenes can be played individually or right the way through with an optional commentary by Frank Spotnitz and (I think) Chris Carter on this disc with a short leader and post-sequence in black and white to show how the scene fits into the episode.

    Given that many of the deleted scenes are just different takes on the original scenes I suggest watching them on Disc 6 rather than incorporated into the episodes.

    The commentary by Spotnitz is often illuminating and worth a listen.

Disc 7

    All special features on Disc 7 are presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, unless otherwise specified.

Documentary – “Secrets of The X-Files” (42:20)

    Rather than a season overview, this is more like a series overview, looking at some of the more notable episodes from the early series.

Documentary – “More Secrets of The X-Files” (43:59)

    A TV promo for The X-Files narrated by Mitch Pileggi looking at the conspiracy that runs through the series as a whole up until the movie. Includes interviews with the cast and crew and basically provides a summary of all the conspiracy episodes. A video glitch along the bottom of the screen belies the VHS origins of this.

Documentary – “Reflections on The X-Files” (17:00)

    A more recent documentary with interviews from fans in Hollywood.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 release has a few differences other than the obvious PAL/NTSC transfer format. The R4 releases misses out on:

    The R1 Release misses out on:

    Another major trade off here, and one that might count given that the featurette “The Making of The Truth” is said to be excellent.

    That said, given that this is one of the best transfers I have seen Fox do for a TV series, certainly the best done for The X-Files, I would be hard pressed to favour R1 over our R4 release for the sake of a DVD-ROM game and a featurette. This is ultimately your call, but I’m giving it to R4.

Summary

    The X-Files: Season 9 is a fantastic finale to one of TV’s most successful and popular science-fiction shows. If you gave up on this show back in Season 7, I cannot urge you enough to go out and grab this DVD set to see for yourself that this show never really lost it. First class television.

    Video is undoubtedly the best an X-Files season has had – fantastic.

    The sound is a very pleasing 2.0 Dolby Surround mix, but what a wasted opportunity for a 5.1 Dolby Digital remix to give this the cinematic feel that it so richly deserves.

    This collection is literally drowning in extras – you will be swamped. Pity about the missing "making of" doco though.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Friday, August 13, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersEnergy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
Looped audio on the menu screens klutzed - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
Other missing featurettes - Mick
re: Mick's comment - Bran (my bio, or something very like it) REPLY POSTED