The Lone Gunmen-Season 1 (2001)

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Released 9-Feb-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Cast/Crew - Pilot, Bond Jimmy Bond, Tango De Los Pistoleros
Audio Commentary-Cast/Crew - All About Yves, The X-Files: Jump The Shark
Featurette-Defenders of Justice-The Story Of The Lone Gunmen
TV Spots-4
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 554:33
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Carol Banker
Rob Bowman
Richard Compton
David Jackson
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Bruce Harwood
Tom Braidwood
Dean Haglund
Stephen Snedden
Zuleikha Robinson
Jim Fyfe
Michael Eklund
Eric Pospisil
Billy Mitchell
Case ?
RPI $44.95 Music Mark Snow
Jeff Charbonneau


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English 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
English 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

    In the final years of The X-Files, series creator Chris Carter launched two new series that he had had on the drawing board since his earlier creation Millennium was cancelled. One was the military / sci-fi Matrix clone Harsh Realm, the other was this X-Files spin-off – The Lone Gunmen. Neither was a success, and The Lone Gunmen came to a grinding halt, left to have its last run in the final episodes of The X-Files with the amusing episode "Jump The Shark". So, the question is - Why did The Lone Gunmen fail?

    Anybody who has watched The X-Files will have encountered the Lone Gunmen from their first appearances in the early years of the show. The trio:

are Mulder's friends in his search for the paranormal, and have done everything from help him steal government secrets, to help him break into secret government facilities, to help him escape from hospital to save Scully from becoming a host to an alien entity. Along the way they've had a number of their own episodes dedicated specifically to them where Mulder and Scully play a background role. The success of these episodes is likely what prompted the launch of this series. However, in my opinion, the producers did not properly think that through.

    Sadly, in my opinion, The Lone Gunmen was always destined to fail. First off the bat, its opening episode depicts a secret US government plot to fly a jet liner into the World Trade Centre. Although first aired in March 2001, prior to the actual event of a plane hitting the WTC, this would turn out not to be the greatest pilot for the times (no pun intended), making repreat watchability a little difficult for some. More importantly than that, however, is that the tone of this show is really hard for the writers to hit. Unlike establishing a new show, the writers were working with pre-established characters who had an extensive history on their recurrent appearances on The X-Files. This meant that the audience had certain expectations, and they were hard expectations to meet. It also meant that audiences who were unfamiliar with The X-Files were about 7 seasons behind the eight-ball.

    In summary, the Lone Gunmen are a trio of righteous "geek" losers, full of half baked and often try-hard conspiracies, trying to relive their heyday in the 1960s - "power to the people". Their appearances on The X-Files are generally a mix of comedic antics and pseudo-serious dramatic moments. Generally, they are there to lighten the mood of what is often a very oppressive and bleak show. With that background, a series based on a trio of "mood lighteners" is a very tough ask, because the audience will expect the writers to maintain that tone and not slip into the bleak "true light of day" mood that The X-Files could so easily dredge up when it wanted to.

    The requirement to maintain a mood that is, ultimately, off beat comedy, in a show that is at least tacitly a science fiction series is a very hard ask, and one that the writers (let alone the directors and cast) simply weren't up to. A full TV series needs mood oscillation in order for it to endure without becoming a sitcom, but that mood was the very thing that defined what the audience liked about these characters. In essence, if the writers lost that mood and they would lose the show, but if the don't lose that mood they would still lose the show. Therefore, the show was destined to fail. Too bad, really, because there was a lot of potential and quality here. It last aired in June 2001.

    For fans of The X-Files and Chris Carter, this series comes highly recommend – I, for one, really enjoyed it, but then I could immerse myself in it easily enough having watched the entirety of The X-Files. It's not Carter's finest work, lacking the darker edge and violence of The X-Files, and too easily slipping into self-parody that borders on spoof. But it has some very funny moments, and these alone are worth the price of admission for anybody, not just the dedicated. Although anyone who is not a hardcore fan of The X-Files is unlikely to take anything much more away from this than its good humour, don’t let that put you off giving it a go – you might find something in it that you didn’t get out of all those years of The X-Files.

    The entire series is set out on this 3 disc set. You can find a full list of episodes and episode summaries at TV.com. All episodes are approximately 42 - 43 minutes long.

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Transfer Quality

Video

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

    I watched this show split 50/50 between my 42" Sony E-Series 3LCD Rearpro HDTV upscaled at 720p via HDMI and on my 100" projection screen using my Sony VPL-HS60, upscaled at 1080i. I do not have a CRT for standard definition viewing of this series.

    Much like the transfer for Harsh Realm, the image is quite grainy and yet a little soft. Shadow detail has a tendency to be a bit pixelated and blue and lacking in definition – a definite problem for this series given the abundance of night time and shadowy scenes.

    Compression artefacts are evident, including aliasing and moire. Thankfully there was no serious pixilation. I rate this transfer better than that for Stargate: SG1 - Season 1, but not a lot better.

    Subtitles are clear and easy to read, and while not providing a full reproduction of the dialogue, they give an accurate version.

    I didn't spot any dual layer pauses, despite there being 5 episodes per disc. Either my system is filtering them out (unlikely, because I spotted the ones in the movies I've watched lately), or they fall between episodes or in the fade to blacks for ads in a manner where I cannot detect them. Good news is, then, they're not distracting.

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

Audio

    Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, this is a stock standard audio track for this type of series. There are no real sync issues. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand.

    Surrounds came to life during a few of the action set pieces. There was no genuine LFE on the audio track, but you can get your subwoofer to come to life if you set the crossover to around 80Hz.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are in 1.78:1 Full Frame. The main menu has a 2.0 Dolby Surround soundtrack of the show’s theme. All menus are clear and very functional.

Commentaries

    The following episodes have audio commentaries by cast and crew:

Bonus Episode – “The X-Files: Jump The Shark” (42:39)

Featurette: “Defenders Of Justice: the Story Of The Lone Gunmen” (39:17)

    Presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame, with 2.0 Dolby Surround audio, this is a fairly extensive featurette on the tale of The Lone Gunmen and well worth watching.

TV Spots (1:48)

R4 vs R1

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

    Content wise, R1 and R4 are largely identical except R1 also has a Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround track and the R1 release is presented on 3 dual-sided discs whereas we get 3 dual-layered discs. Without an R1 copy, I cannot do a direct video-to-video comparison for you, so I have no way of knowing which has the better video transfer. I’m calling this a draw.

Summary

    This is a great series for dedicated fans of The X-Files. Sadly, that fan-base just wasn’t large enough to keep this show afloat in mid-2001 as Chris Carter’s original show came to a close. Still, well worth watching, and you get the whole lot in this package with a couple of decent extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Friday, February 16, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVPNS92, using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS60 WXGA 3LCD Cineza Projector (10,000:1 contrast ratio) with 100" Longhom Pro-Series Micro-Textured White Matte PVC 1.78:1 16:9 Fixed Mount Screen with Black Velour Trim. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersJensen QX70 Centre Front, Jensen QX45 Left Front & Right Front, Jensen QX20 Left Rear & Right Rear, Jensen QX-90 Dual 10" 250 Watt Subwoofer

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