Rewatching and reviewing the classics: ‘The X-Files: Fight the Future’ (1998) (Movie review)

I enjoyed watching “The X-Files: Fight the Future” (1998) more on this viewing than on previous viewings. I think my method of watching the episodes in order, at a fairly brisk clip, and not dwelling too much on the details of the mythology is paying off.

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Classic Christmas TV episodes: ‘Amends’ (‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’)

Show: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (Season 3, episode 10)

Airdate: Dec. 15, 1998

Overview: This episode is the structural midpoint of the franchise; it’s sort of a backdoor pilot for “Angel” and it introduces the First Evil. It’s also a great Christmas episode, as an inexplicable higher power intervenes in Buffy’s and Angel’s little lives, allowing them to take stock, walk through the snowfall, and realize the beauty of being alive.

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Classic Christmas TV episodes: ‘Xmas Story’ (‘Futurama’)

Show: “Futurama” (Season 2, episode 8)

Airdate: Dec. 19, 1999

Overview: In the year 3000, Christmas is known as Xmas and Robot Santa Claus has been programmed with too strict of a “naughty or nice” judgment, so he judges everybody as naughty and guns them down. (Actually, it turns out that Zoidberg is judged to be nice.)

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Classic Christmas TV episodes: ‘So-Called Angels’ (‘My So-Called Life’)

Show: “My So-Called Life” (Episode 15)

Airdate: Dec. 22, 1994

Overview: Rickie’s getting beat up at home, Angela wants to help him and a homeless guitar-playing girl, Brian’s lonely and Danielle doesn’t know what’s going on (she just lives there). For Claire Danes’ performance (I know she’s still a good actress, but nothing will ever top this), the beautifully melancholy Christmas music, all the great moments I list below and about a dozen others, it’s a classic about trying to do the right thing at Christmastime, or anytime.

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Classic Christmas TV episodes: ‘Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire’ (‘The Simpsons’)

Show: “The Simpsons” (Season 1, episode 1)

Airdate: Dec. 17, 1989

Overview: This is a classic not only because it’s a Christmas episode, but also because it’s the very first episode of “The Simpsons.” Sometimes when you go back and watch the first episode of a long-running series, it’s jarring how slow and boring it is. This episode is paced slowly but it’s not boring. We meet many major characters for the first time (although the Simpsons themselves were familiar to “Tracey Ullman Show” viewers), notably Santa’s Little Helper in the final act. When Homer brings home a free dog for Christmas, having failed to win any money at the dog track to buy presents, everyone is thrilled, and that wonderfully illustrates the spirit of Christmas.

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