One-season wonders: Carter’s ‘Harsh Realm’ (1999-2000) gets harsh treatment from Fox in a post-‘Matrix’ world (TV review)


n the February 2000 “X-Files” episode “Sein Und Zeit,” a man questioned by Mulder and Scully narrows down the timeframe of a crime by the TV show he was watching: “I never heard of it before. It was good,” the man says. In an example of Chris Carter’s heavy-handed joke-making and cockiness, the show within the show is his own “Harsh Realm,” which had been canceled by Fox in Fall 1999 after three episodes. (The remaining six aired in 2000 on FX.)

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‘X-Files’ flashback: ‘Origins: Devil’s Advocate’ (2017) (Book review)


onathan Maberry delivers an amazing Dana Scully story in “X-Files Origins: Devil’s Advocate” (2017) that not only shows what our favorite red-headed agent is like at age 15, but it’s also the best character piece about Scully, period. The author – who was previously the editor of the three short-story anthology books – builds from the conceit in episodes such as Season 1’s “Beyond the Sea” and Season 5’s “Emily” that Scully believes in God despite being the skeptic in the “believer-skeptic” dynamic with Mulder.

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‘X-Files’ flashback: ‘Origins: Agent of Chaos’ (2017) (Book review)


espite the fact that “The X-Files” lends itself to standalone mystery novels, the franchise went 18 years between “Skin” (1999) and “Origins: Agent of Chaos” (2017). Kami Garcia’s novel is a sequel to her short story “Black Hole Son” from one year earlier – my favorite from the “Truth is Out There” anthology — although it’s not necessary to read it to understand the novel.

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‘X-Files’ flashback: ‘JFK Disclosure’ (2017), ‘Deviations’ (2017) and ‘Case Files’ (2018) (Comic book reviews)


oe Harris’ ongoing “X-Files” title wrapped in 2017 because of low sales, but IDW took a few more cracks with the license before giving up. They close the 2013-18 revival era with a second go-around with “Deviations” in 2017, plus three two-issue series, all of which are quite good. “JFK Disclosure” is the latest example of “The X-Files” dipping its toes into the waters of real-life figures. IDW’s reign wraps with the most fun the title has had in quite some time: two monster-of-the-week yarns under the “Case Files” banner in 2018.

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‘X-Files’ flashback: IDW ongoing series Issues 10-17 (2017) (Comic book reviews)


riter Joe Harris gives readers a refreshing break from the dense mythology to start off the final year (for now) of “The X-Files’ ” ongoing title. Oddly enough, it’s through two mythology-tinged stories. But they are character-heavy flashbacks to the Cigarette Smoking Man and Skinner, so they are easier to digest. Then it’s on to the finale to end all finales (again, for now). Here’s a look at Issues 10-17, from 2017:

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‘X-Files’ flashback: ‘Origins’ (2016-17) (Comic book reviews)


t’s become fashionable in the last decade or so to try to draw new fans into old franchises. Toward that end, you might as well start them young: Hence, we have “X-Files: Origins” (2016), a four-issue young-adult series in which each issue is a flip-comic – half is Mulder’s story, half is Scully’s. So it’s two issues’ worth of story for each teenage future-agent. The series was popular enough to warrant a sequel in the same format, 2017’s “Dog Days of Summer.”

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‘X-Files’ flashback: 2016 Annual and X-mas Special (Comic book reviews)


he 2016 Annual, “Illegal Aliens,” is a classic X-File – maybe a little too classic. Writer Andrew Aydin – gamely assisted by artist Greg Scott and colorist Wes Dzioba — has the interactions between Mulder and Scully down to a tee, like when she calls to make sure he’ll meet her at the airport on time and knows he’s been arguing on conspiracy chat boards. Later, there are vintage Mulderisms, like when a man starts talking to him while he’s at a urinal: “I’d shake your hand, but …”

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‘X-Files’ flashback: IDW ongoing series Issues 1-9 (2016) (Comic book reviews)


hen Chris Carter decided to scrap the Season 1011 comics’ timeline when he brought the “X-Files” back to TV in 2016, it meant IDW lead writer Joe Harris had to wrap up that story (now on an alternate timeline) and start up again with a new ongoing series. The big differences are that M&S are not a cohabitating couple (although they are still close) and that the Lone Gunmen are still dead. Here’s a look at Issues 1-9, from 2016:

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John’s top 10 TV shows of 2018


t’s never before been so hard to pick the 10 best shows of the year, as streaming services deliver strong short series on a regular basis, and cable and network TV have mostly kept pace with the quality. Some staple entries have dropped out of my top 10 not because they got worse but simply because they were supplanted. Here are 10 shows worthy of special mention even in this age of Peak TV.

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‘The X-Files’ Season 9 reviews

John’s “The X-Files” Season 9 flashback review,, June 12, 2011


ndsu spectrum: tv review

Sundays at 8 will never be the same …


Jan. 25, 2002


For the last few months, there’s been a lot of talk about how “The X-Files” (8 p.m. Sundays on Fox) has become so much worse now that David Duchovny — and his alter-ego Fox Mulder — have left the show. A lot of the criticism is from people who are no longer watching the show.

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