The X Files-Season 3 Box Set (1995)
Main Menu Introduction
Deleted Scenes-5 +/- commentary
Audio Commentary-Apocrypha; Jose Chung's
Featurette-The Truth About Season 3
Featurette-Chris Carter Talks About Season Three
Featurette-FX: Behind The Truth
Featurette-Special Effects Sequences (7)
|Year Of Production||1995|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (7)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||None Given|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (96Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
It's funny how some things stick in your mind. I can recall the TV advertisements that started well ahead of the first airing of the X-Files in Australia. Each broadcast gave you snippets of what was to come from this amazing new series by Chris Carter and I knew then that for one hour each Wednesday night I would be preoccupied. The commercials also mentioned that each episode was based on "actual unsolved FBI cases", although it was not long before actual cases gave way to Carter's amazing imagination for the supernatural.
Over the years, I have derived many hours of enjoyment from this series and this did not diminish until Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) left. Whilst Agent John Doggett (Robert Patrick) has done a pretty good job, the fire and spark that used to exist between Agents Scully and Mulder has failed to be replicated by Doggett.
Personally, I feel that the 3rd series as reviewed here contains some of the best material and most well-polished episodes of the series to date, and I am grateful that Paul W needed a rest after tackling the reviews of the first two mammoth box sets. As an added bonus, subjects that were raised in Series 1 and Series 2 but never answered or given closure receive some well-deserved attention from the script writers.
Although the DVD releases are a long way behind the on-air series, for anyone interested, the two-hour Series Finale "The Truth" will go to air in the USA on 19th May, 2002.
The locations marked against each episode show the site where the story focuses, even though each episode may spread across more than one location. Also, the duration noted for each episode has been timed to include the duration of any deleted scene(s) that may be included.
Episode #3x01 - The Blessing Way (42:45) part 2 of 3
Location: Navajo Reservation, NW of Los Alamos, New Mexico
We begin the season with Mulder (David Duchovny) missing and presumed dead but Scully (Gillian Anderson) believing he is still alive because of visions she has been having. Meanwhile, a team of soldiers led by The Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) continue their frantic search for a computer tape which they think Mulder is hiding. Scully has been given a mandatory leave of absence by the FBI because they believe she has been withholding vital evidence. Mulder is found by a group of Navajo and saved by "The Blessing Way", a healing ritual as used by their ancestors for centuries.
Episode #3x02 - Paper Clip (42:59) part 3 of 3
Location: Rural West Virginia
Operation Paper Clip is the post World War II project where the US Government provided a safe haven for Nazi war criminals in exchange for their knowledge. Mulder finds one of these men in a photo with his father and he sets out to find who he is and how he knew his father. Melissa Scully (Melinda McGraw) is shot in a botched hit that was aimed at Scully. The FBI duo go undercover as they no longer know who in the agency can be trusted. We find out once and for all if Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) is really on their side. Mulder calls in an old friend to help with Melissa's healing.
Episode #3x03 - D.P.O. (42:12)
Location: Connerville, Oklahoma
A string of bizarre lightning deaths soon grab the attention of Agent Mulder and he and Scully soon find themselves heading to Connerville to investigate. The local sheriff thinks he is more capable than the FBI of solving the case and provides the agents with nothing but resistance. Mulder believes the prime suspect appears to be Darin P. Oswald (Giovanni Ribisi), a young no-hoper that seems to posses the power to tame and control lightning at will.
Episode #3x04 - Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose (43:19)
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
A quite young man called The Puppet (Stu Charno) has seen a glimpse of his own future and is rather concerned by what he saw. He heads to see Madame Zelma (Karin Konoval) a local palm reader to ask "why will I be doing the things that I am about to do?" and proceeds to kill her. He believes she should have seen the future and not put herself in harm's way. The police call in The Stupendous Yappi, a TV psychic, to help with the case. Mulder comes across Mr Bruckman (Peter Boyle aka Ray's dad in "Everybody Loves Raymond") who he believes is a true psychic that is not too sure of his actual talents. Clyde is reluctant to assist the agents on the case because he has already "seen" how it will end.
Episode #3x05 - The List (45:12)
Location: Eastpoint, Florida
Napoleon "Neech" Manley (Badja Djola) is a prisoner on death row who is about to be placed into the electric chair. Before he goes, he promises to return and kill a list of those that have done wrong by him during his stay in prison. Agents Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate after the first death occurs under suspicious circumstances.
Episode #3x06 - 2Shy (43:05)
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Mulder and Scully are called to assist local Detective Cross (James Hardy) with the investigation of a female's body that has been found badly decomposed and covered with a slimy substance. Mulder recollects a series of similar killings where female victims died a similar way after answering "lonely hearts" columns.
Episode #3x07 - The Walk (43:16)
Location: Evanston, Maryland
The agents go to investigate reports of a phantom soldier that has been haunting personnel on a military base. Mulder begins to suspect that this is a case of astral projection where a quadruple amputee veteran of the Gulf War can take on solid forms with the power of his mind.
Episode #3x08 - Oubliette (43:16)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Lucy Householder (Tracey Ellis) was abducted 17 years ago and simultaneously feels the pain of Amy Jacobs (Jewel Staite), a 15 year old girl who has just been abducted by the same killer. Everyone is convinced that Lucy is involved in the kidnapping simply because she knows too much confidential information about Amy's disappearance. Mulder is intrigued because Lucy utters the same words as Amy at the exact same time, something that requires further investigation by the duo.
Episode #3x09 - Nisei (42:48)
Location: Newport News, Virginia
Mulder purchases a videotape of a supposed alien autopsy via mail order. The tape appears to have been recorded on a train and is so realistic that Mulder tries to track down the seller. Soon people connected with the tape start ending up dead and Mulder and Scully come one step closer to unravelling the government's alien conspiracy.
Episode #3x10 - '731' (42:59)
Location: Perkey, West Virginia
Each episode usually begins with "The Truth Is Out There". This episode is one of the rarer ones where the introductory wording has been changed to "Apology is Policy".
Mulder finds one of the trains where the autopsy supposedly took place. He finds out too late that it is also carrying a bomb that will destroy all evidence of its existence, along with himself. He sets out to try and gather as much vital information and escape before it is too late. Scully needs to resort to some unusual methods to help Mulder and ends up being captured by soldiers and brought before an Elder (member of the Syndicate) who provides the key.
Episode #3x11 - Revelations (43:30)
Location: Loveland, Ohio
The agents investigate the mysterious death of Reverend Finley (R. Lee Ermey) whose palms suddenly started bleeding as he was conducting a service in front of his local congregation. Mulder recalls a series of religiously-motivated murders where the victims all exhibited false stigmata like this last victim. Further investigation and protection is required when they come across a local school boy who displays wounds of religious significance.
Episode #3x12 - War Of The Coprophages (42:53)
Location: Miller's Grove, Massachusetts
Agent Mulder investigates the deaths of some locals from Miller's Grove. The only thing each death has in common is the presence of cockroaches. Further investigation leads Mulder to a research house on the edge of town where controlled experiments are being conducted by the voluptuous entomologist Dr. Bambi Berenbaum (Bobbie Phillips). With Bambi's help, they soon discover that the cockroaches appear to be robotic and not organic.
Episode #3x13 - Syzygy (42:31)
Agents Mulder and Skully visit the small town of Comity to investigate some bizarre deaths that on first impression appear to coincide with strange astrological phenomena.
Episode #3x14 - Grotesque (42:55)
Location: Washington, D.C.
This episode lives up to the title. Mulder and Scully join forces with Agent Patterson (Kurtwood Smith) who just so happens to be Fox's former F.B.I. Teacher. It soon becomes apparent that these two agents don't see eye to eye and never have. However, differences aside, they embark on trying to hunt down a serial killer that Patterson has been tracking for 3 years. It is hoped that Mulder can bring some badly-needed enthusiasm and new ideas to the case.
Episode #3x15 - Piper Maru (43:02) part 1 of 2
Location: San Diego, California
A French salvage vessel called the Piper Maru sends a crew down to recover an object on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean that is believed to date as far back as World War II. The crew soon become the victims of the Black Oil and Mulder and Skully join the investigation which soon has atomic implications.
Episode #3x16 - Apocrypha (42:27) part 2 of 2
Location: Black Crow, North Dakota
Mulder catches Alex Krycek (Nic Lea) in Hong Kong to question him about the craft that was recovered in Piper Maru. The shooting of Assistant Director Skinner leads Scully to the man that may have shot her sister.
Episode #3x17 - Pusher (42:43)
Location: Loudon County, Virginia
The agents are requested to aid in a case where a man appears to be capable of bending people to his will. He manipulates the first F.B.I. Agents he comes into contact with and convinces them to let him go. It seems as if no one can escape his mind powers and bring him to justice...except Fox.
Episode #3x18 - Teso Dos Bichos (42:00)
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Roughly translated it means "Burial Ground of the Animals". A string of deaths occur after an ancient South American artefact is taken to Boston from its previous resting place. Scully is convinced that the deaths are actually as a result of political terrorism, but Mulder believes there are more sinister and mysterious forces at work.
Episode #3x19 - Hell Money (43:00)
Location: Chinatown, San Francisco, California
This episode makes the local Gold Lotto syndicate suitable only for sissies. Bizarre deaths that have occurred to recent Chinese immigrants bring the agents to the Chinatown district of San Francisco. With the assistance of a local Chinese detective, the trio try to better understand the situation and customs of their culture. The only thing that is certain is that all the dead immigrants are missing various internal organs.
Episode #3x20 - Jose Chung's "From Outer Space" (43:02)
Location: Klass County, Washington
Initially when I saw this episode I thought it was a waste of film, and now I am even more convinced of this. A young couple claim to have been abducted by aliens who then performed various experiments on the youths. The local townsfolk believe it is nothing more than a simple rape case involving a boy that has too much built-up sexual tension.
Episode #3x21 - Avatar (45:30)
Location: Washington DC
Skinner, the Assistant Director, is accused of murder and Mulder and Scully take on a personal crusade to try and uncover the truth and clear Skinner's name. The only problem is that Skinner has refused to assist in their enquiries and appears to look more and more guilty as the case unravels. Even Skinner's ex-wife Sharon (Jennifer Hetrick) seems unable to provide any meaningful assistance.
Episode #3x22 - Quagmire (41:15)
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains, Georgia
Yet another series of mysterious deaths and disappearances are reported near a lake bordering a small country town and the agents are called in to investigate. Skully has many scientific explanations as she always does, but Mulder is more inclined to believe the local folklore regarding a mystical water creature that lives in the lake. He sets out to prove Skully wrong and in doing so they both end up with more than a few surprises.
Episode #3x23 - Wetwired (42:38)
Location: Braddock Heights, Maryland
Mulder, always eager to follow up any tip provided by an anonymous source heads to another small town where a string of seemingly unrelated murders have taken place. Fox has been told to dig deep and he will surely find the answers to questions he has been searching for in past cases. But, has he been given enough time to act or is it a set-up? Even Skully starts to wonder if Mulder can be trusted. With the help of Byers (Bruce Harwood), Frohike (Tom Braidwood) and Langly (Dean Haglund) a.k.a. The Lone Gunman, the truth is surely revealed.
Episode #3x24 - Talitha Cumi (42:57) part 1, to be continued in Season 4
Location: Quonochontaug, Rhode Island
A man opens fire in a fast food restaurant and ends up shooting several of the diners. But, when the local police and paramedics arrive there is no one to be treated. In fact, the bullet holes have been completely healed. The agents are called to help search for a man who seems to possess some strange and enlightening powers. They inadvertently end up uncovering a dangerous secret from Mulder's past that could bring the two to the edge of exposing the truth about the existence of aliens.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is therefore not 16x9 enhanced.
The sharpness and detail presented is very good across nearly all the episodes. Grain and shadow detail were variable problems for these transfers, with notable examples at;
The level of detail provided in the background of most shots is usually softer than the foreground, but this is in line with the original film source and not due to any problems caused by the transfer process. Low level noise is additionally present at;
The colours were no better nor worse than what you would get watching the current series on broadcast television. The worst case of bland colouration was from 2:15 to 4:07 in The List, although in a scene from Avatar from 32:22 to 33:24 the colours lose their lustre only to return again once the scene has ended. Having said that, there are some beautifully rich examples of colour spread across the discs, too. Some good examples of colour that particularly made a visual impression on me can be seen at;
MPEG artefacts are kept to a minimum and with the exception of Syzygy at 40:00 they are not at all distracting. Aliasing is also very rare and very mild when it does occur. Film artefacts too are such a rarity that the only one that really grabbed my attention was at 10:40 in Wetwired. This could be attributed to the fact that the artefact was white rather than the smaller black specks that were present in the other episodes. Wetwired is also the poorest quality episode visually in the entire box set. The War Of The Coprophages contained a nice touch when the image of an actual cockroach runs across the screen. What added to this effect was the fact that the cockroach's movement stayed fluid as it ran across the screen even while a scene change took place, making it look even more realistic.
The English subtitles are close to the spoken word but on occasion did not display an exact transcription of the dialogue.
The first six discs which contain the series episodes have no visible layer changes, with the layers separating the second and third episodes on the discs. Obviously, no playback pauses are evident.
Overall there is a nice balance provided by the audio and it always manages to add to the appeal or "feel" of the storyline concerned.
The dialogue was clear and easy to understand in all but 3 episodes. Dialogue is hard to make out in D.P.O. from 33:26 to 33:50, The List from 2:15 to 4:07 and in Pusher the entire episode's audio level is slightly lower than in other episodes.
Audio sync was a problem from 16:35 for 3 seconds in Pusher, but this was an isolated case.
The X-Files music by Mark Snow is always a pleasure to listen to. It never fails to provide the necessary eeriness in each episode. The volume levels did not drown out the dialogue at any point during any episode.
The surround channels got a surprising workout despite the merely matrixed surround sound. Personally, I don't think these episodes would benefit from full 5.1 tracks. The backing music and the apparent broader dynamic range from D.P.O. made this the pick for surround sound use. As a specific example within this episode, from 2:43 to 3:50 the music fills the speakers perfectly. Good examples of surround presence can be heard in the following places;
The front soundstage receives most of the attention from directional effects and rightly so. Good examples can be found in every episode but there were also a few areas where the sound was misplaced or provided direction contrary to the on-screen images. In Oubliette from 31:08 to 31:10 the sound effect of a passing car was out of sync with the visualisation of the car passing across the screen. In Avatar at around 19:38, a person knocks on the door positioned in the Left hand corner of the screen but acoustically the knocking was placed in the Centre. Conversely, some nice examples of good soundstage use can be heard at;
The subwoofer was not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu design is themed around the show and is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 non surround-encoded audio. The copyright warnings shown in multiple languages both before the menu appears and again after each episode are way over-the-top and became very distracting before I had even finished watching the first disc. I respect the studio's right to place a copyright warning at some stage on the disc but this set of discs goes above and beyond what should be tolerated.
Each disc shows the four episodes that it contains on the main menu. Once you have selected a particular episode, you are presented with additional choices. These always include Play Episode, Chapter Selection and Language Selection but will optionally include a Cast Credits selection or a Special Features choice which branches to another menu. From the Special Features menu you can choose to turn on or off a deleted scene, or see any other content that may have been included.
This feature lasts for approximately 20 minutes and offers an in-depth look at how this season was put together. It offers a candid and laid-back chat with Chris Carter, including information about how scripts came about or evolved. Candid chats with the scriptwriters and the show's various directors are also included.
One topic of personal interest to me was to see how the Black Oil effect shown in the actors' eyes was actually achieved. Likewise, it was fun to see how the crew provided acting assistance to the many cockroaches that were used in War Of The Coprophages. They rarely listened to direction (!) and having them move on queue was not an easy task.
These features last for around 2 minutes each and provide a nice insight into how Chris Carter came up with a particular idea for each episode. While the 2 minute grabs are a little short, he does cover some interesting topics during this time and every episode is covered.
Like the title implies, these snippets, usually lasting for around a minute each, delve even deeper into the show, characters and story line for some select episodes and are well worth a look.
The ability in this set to include the deleted scene(s) into the actual episode concerned and watch it as a whole was far more pleasurable than simply paging through a group of deleted scenes at the end of a feature. I should mention that you can also watch them separately to the episode and they contain commentary by Chris Carter so you have the best of both worlds.
All of the deleted scenes are quite noticeable when played back reinserted into the episodes. The colours are considerably more drab than the rest of the transfer and in some cases have a sepia tone to them. The episodes that contain the deleted scenes are;
The show's visual effects producer discusses some of the technical problems and wonderful effects that he was called upon to provide over the course of the season. These snippets are all worth viewing and provide a nice insight into what length the effects go to for most episodes. The episodes Mat covers include;
Promotional spots are included for 46 episodes and are broken down into 10 second and 20 second TV spots. These are the actual clips that were first aired on the Fox channel as teaser trailers. The episodes covered include;
While these are not available on the Extras disc as such, you can select the various clips as Extras on each of the first six discs.
The included booklet was well laid out and was a nice inclusion to the set. It also helps you to easily identify and navigate through the various discs and features. Keep it handy as your X-File Guide.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
As I have already mentioned, The X-Files Season 3 contains some of the best episodes that have been aired in Australia. Although the outer casing of the box set is made from cardboard, it should last if you treat it right. The styling also matches the Series 1 and 2 box sets.
The video did have its blemishes but there were also some fine examples of quality to see as well. It is no better or worse that you will see on free to air television.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded track suits the X-Files style and no real gain would be had by moving to a 5.0 track. Again, there were some blemishes in the audio but nothing that turned me off or detracted from the overall listening pleasure.
The extras are certainly generous in quantity as well as quality. The ability to incorporate the deleted scenes into the respective episodes was a nice touch and one that I used without fail. It is actually interesting to see why they were cut, and in most cases I would have to agree with Chris Carter's reasons for cutting them. This set is a required purchase for anyone who calls themselves an X-Phile.
|DVD||Pioneer XV-DV55, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe 72cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Whatmough Audiolabs Magnum M30 (Mains); M05 (Centre); M10 (Rears), Pioneer S-DV55SW-K Powered Subwoofer|