X-Files Season 10 (2016) — We Knew It Was a Snake When We Picked It Up

The X-Files came back with a six-episode new series. At RevolutionSF, we were in the trenches for the show’s last few seasons. We watched. We had to. Well, when we remembered to set the VCR. I believed that my outrage at the show’s last few years has subsided. So here is the show again. Old wounds. Feelings. This is what is happening. Here’s my look at all the new season-10 episodes.

Oh, Monster of the Week episodes. How I missed you.

 

 

1. My Struggle

I am so happy to see Mulder and Scully again that I am willing to forgive a lot of things. If that is true, I must be willing to forgive:

1: Debunking of everything in the X-Files up till now.
2: Instant belief in that debunking by Mulder. Mulder.
3: A new old guy that Mulder has never mentioned before who says something cryptic then vanishes.

4. References to real-life things that happened since X-Files went off the air. That takes me out of the X-Files universe and back to sucky reality. The references have no purpose; Mulder says, “I’m familiar with Edward Snowden,” and that’s it. No punchline. No follow-up. Now, if Snowden was a Fluke-Man, OK. I would’ve been down for that.

The good parts are seeing Mulder and Scully again. They’ve aged with their actors. They are a couple who have lived their lives together. They’re both still Mulder and Scully, but they’re smarter and more confident. The show hasn’t tossed away the relationship. It’s comforting that the show reopens the X-Files and gets back to business so quickly. It’s sweet, even.

So I say all that to say this: I’m willing to let a few things go.

A FEW things.

2. Founder’s Mutation

Oh, Monster of the Week episodes, how I missed you.

After over-delivering on its first episode back, this one simmers down. It’s just a murder investigation. Mulder and Scully investigate Lester from Chuck, who is totally not in Jeffster style here.

They have dream sequences about William, their telekinetic baby who they shipped off in the final season. They didn’t have time to do emotional acting about William during the original series. The stories back then desperately tried to un-filk the conspiracy and the Black Oil and the aliens and ha ha ha, that turned out great. Hooray for the conspiracy!

But now they have plenty of time to discuss William and be sad.

The investigation parts are fine. This episode is OK. It’s just neat to see Mulder & Scully back together again. Six episodes isn’t long enough for this nice feeling to wear off.

OR IS IT?

3. Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster

They appear to be attempting, with each of these six episodes, to revisit a different genre of X-Files episode.

“My Struggle” was a conspiracy. “Founder’s Mutation” was a Monster of the Week episode. This is a funny one. The show used to do a funny one every now and then, usually to clear our pallet for something with the Black Oil the next week.

It’s quite silly, and I mean that as a compliment. The heroes meet a lizard man and he is hilarious. This episode is very fun, and it reminds us that the show can be fun when everyone just relaxes.

Comedian Kumail Nanjani has a role in this episode. He analyzes the show on his podcast, The X-Files Files. That’s where the X-Files people say they found him, and offered him a part on this episode.

I and most of the RevolutionSF irregulars wrote analyses of X-Files episodes for years. The show ended before they had a chance to offer us parts. Obviously.

But I ain’t mad at you, X-Files! Well, I’m not mad about that one thing.

Scully makes a nice reference to “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” when she reminds Mulder that Bruckman told her she doesn’t die.

Which reminds me, what did Raymond’s dad on Everybody Loves Raymond mean by that?

That never got a payoff, and doesn’t here, either. Hooray for X-Files!

4. Home Again

This show is not a sequel to “Home,” the episode where Scully and Mulder fought inbred hillbillies who kept their scary-ass mother under their bed for breeding purposes.

But it is about mothers!

Scully’s mother is dying, and that’s a big old bummer. Before that happens, they encounter a monster who kills people who hate homeless people. He’s Swamp Thing made out of garbage.

Scully and Mulder have some good relationshippy moments. Very sweet. Very human. Then Scully yells at Mulder that she has to go to work and find Garbage-Thing to take her mind off her grief.

So Scully goes back to work, then doesn’t stop the monster from killing, doesn’t catch it, and doesn’t find out anything.

So on The X-Files, you handle the grieving process by getting frustrated and confused about something else.

5. Babylon

Please allow me to paraphrase a character from a different speculative-fiction show from the 90s, Chandler from Friends. 

Could the first few minutes of this episode BE any more outdated, hacky and offensive?

Spending a wordless few minutes with Middle-Easterners as they prepare for a suicide bombing is something, all right — but the ensuing story isn’t about Middle-Easterners. The bombers could have been literally any race and the story would be the same.

I’m going to assume this episode is named after the David Gray song “Babylon,” which this video will now cram into your brain. Baaaaaaa — bylon. This is super appropriate since that song, like The X-Files was also popular in 1998.

The Lone Gunmen came back in this one.

For about three seconds.

Seriously.

A sci-fi show where almost everyone has died and come back.

But the Gunmen came back for a couple of seconds during Mulder’s line-dancing peyote-trip.

It’s revealed that Mulder was not hopped up on goofballs. It was a placebo, which raises more questions, but that’s the X-Files‘s thing.

He wasn’t hallucinating that he line-danced, because Scully told him he had to be dragged out. That scene was hilarious. So I choose to think the Lone Gunmen were there, in cowboy gear, alive, just hanging out, then Mulder showed up. I WANT TO BELIEVE.

Before I get to the last episode, here’s what I think about the whole thing. I’m glad it’s back. I’m glad the same creators and actors are coming back and trying this thing again.

I still love The X-Files. If it didn’t have the same problems it always did, I don’t know what I would do. Rewatch it for fun? Discuss episodes all the time with friends? I do that already.

My Struggle, Part 2

“Well, I knew it was a snake when I picked it up.” — Becky Pano

RevSF writer Becky summed it all up in one sentence. I’m going to try to do it one word.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT.

comment

American Sci-Fi Classics Track at Dragon Con 2017: The Podcasts

Every year, the American Sci-Fi Classics Track at DragonCon puts on panels, game shows, screenings, and geeky fun that provide more fun than humans should legally be allowed, directed by RevSF’s Gary Mitchel and Joe Crowe.

Journey with us back to the thrilling days of a few months ago. Check out hours and hours of Classic Track panels from 2017!

Updating… we’ll update this page as new panels get posted! 

Geek Year 1987: The Year in Movies, Music, Toys, And More

RetroBlasting: GI Joe in 1987: Neon Is Half the Battle

 

RetroBlasting: Transformers vs. GoBots

At Dragon Con 2017, one of us suggested a drinking game: Anytime a panelist says they host or appear on a podcast, take a drink. 

What happened next was, to the best of our remembrance, the entire movie “Cannonball  Run 2.”

Check out podcasts hosted by the excellent individuals who appear on our Classic Track panels with us.

Pals Who Podcast!

Bored Nerds With a Mic

Dr. Geek’s Lab

 

Dreamland: The RetroBlasting Podcast

The Flopcast

Fortress of Baileytude

 

Let’s Watch Cop Rock!  

Needless Things

Transmissions from Atlantis

Women at Warp

comment

Fun Christmas Songs of Geeky Interest

Children, people from a hundred years ago, and Vegas lounge singers and people at the “Christmas party hop” are not the only people who have performed and created delightful songs and performances tied to the holiday season.

Enjoy this list of songs and performances, bursting forth with geeky references and nerdy notions. ‘Tis but a smattering, however.

You are guaranteed to find enjoyment hereupon, or face another season of songs about buying shoes for dead mothers and having yourself a condescendingly “little” Christmas.

Christmas Greeting From Jabba The Hutt by Paul and Storm

Vader Did You Know by Vic Mignogna

I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas With a Dalek by The Go-Go’s

(Not these Go-Go’s.)

Batman Smells (A Rebuttal) — John Anealio

Chiron Beta Prime — Jonathan Coulton 

Baby It’s Cold Outside (Hoth Edition) — Kirby Krackle and The Doubleclicks

Let’s Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas ( as performed by an awesome choir).

(Here’s the original. You keep Christmas in your way, let me keep it in mine.)

All I Want For Christmas Is You

What Can You Get a Wookiee For Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb? — Star Wars VoicePlay cover

(It says “Give him love and understanding.” Come on. Chewie doesn’t want that.)

“Here Comes the Ice Cream Bunny” — Kevin Murphy from the Rifftrax of “Santa Claus And The Ice Cream Bunny.” (buy it here!) 

 

 

 

 

comment

Star Wars: The Last Jedi reviewed

By Stanley Clarke

Star Wars: The Last Jedi shattered expectations with its epic drama, humor, acting, plot twists, and originality. The film starts where The Force Awakens ended with Rey seeking Luke’s guidance as a Jedi master and the Resistance in a war with the First Order.

The movie continues by creating relationships between the characters Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) as well as Finn (John Boyega) and Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran). Snoke (Andy Serkis) continues to sway his pupil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) closer and closer to the dark side throughout the film.

Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) quarrel over strategies to fight the First Order. While The Last Jedi does makes nods and references to other Star Wars films, it maintains a uniqueness seen through its plot twists and creative uses of the force, however it does not go without fault.
<p>

The Last Jedi clocks in at an exhausting 2 hours and 32 minutes. Many of the subplots, especially those not featuring main characters, were underwhelming.  While the introduction of Tico and Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern) added much welcome character depth and development, the stories themselves failed to spark much interest. Rey’s relationship with Skywalker, Ren’s continuing conflict between light and dark, and Snoke’s evil leadership offered far more intriguing plot points.

Rian Johnson expertly directed this eighth installment. His vision offers hope for the future of the franchise, since he is writing and directing the new Star Wars trilogy.

Easily the most humor packed Star Wars movie, the film hits the audience with genuine comedy throughout.  Unlike previous chapters, the comedy does not come just from the droids, but emerges from from the likes of Dameron, Skywalker, and other humanoids.

The acting in The Last Jedi is uniformly good. Even the much maligned Hamill was much better than his previous Skywalker portrayals. Driver’s standout performance as the menacing yet conflicted Ren creates some epic and emotional moments throughout the film.

The stunning visuals of the diverse planets, creative creatures, stunning space battles, and epic lightsaber fights create enjoyable moments.  Atoning for his lackluster The Force Awakens score, John Williams’ excellent music fuels much of the emotion, drama, and action in many scenes.

My favorite parts of The Last Jedi are the creative uses of the Force.  The film explains and uses the iconic mysticism in original and unique ways that leads to the unexpected. Unexpected also applies to The Last Jedi’s enjoyable and welcome plot twists.

Rian Johnson, John Williams, and the cast create an amazing movie that must be seen. The Last Jedi’s stunning acting, deep plot points, and genuine humor make it one of the best in the saga.

 

Born not that long ago and in this very galaxy, lifelong Star Wars fan, Stanley Brandt eagerly awaits the next chapter. Until then, he’ll have to brood while rehashing the past and dreaming about celluloid futures.

Comments Off on Star Wars: The Last Jedi reviewed

Book Probe: The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia

RevolutionSF’s Book Probe eliminates the troublesome freedom of choice from your book buying needs. Buy it at the link, unless your glasses are broken and there’s no one left in the world. Bet you feel like a big ol’ dope now, huh, Penguin? 

The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin

The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia.

This book contains more than I ever thought I wanted to know about The Twilight Zone.

Author Steven Jay Rubin is clearly a super-geek, and I mean that as the highest possible compliment. He has dissected and catalogued every episode of the original series in this alphabetical look at each one, the actors, the creators, from “The After Hours” episode to Zamba, the lion who appeared in the episode “The Jungle.”

(That’s not exactly where Rubin starts and ends the book, but I wanted to mention Zamba.)

Zamba!

The behind-the-scenes notes are a treat. They include quotes from actors and creators about individual episodes. My favorite one at the moment is from James Best from “The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank.” The future Roscoe P. Coltrane says he stuck a pencil under the coffin lid while he was in it, so it didn’t get “too stuffy.”

While many super-fans of shows might scoff at such books, believing they know everything about their favorite show, I say to them “Scoff not.”

Each episode’s entry includes Rod Serling’s opening narration and crazily detailed information. It acts like a concordance that you can keep handy as you freak yourself out watching all the episodes.

Seriously, don’t do that all at once. Your mannequins will all start talking to you (if they don’t already).

Bonus Stuff: 
Follow author Steven Jay Rubin on Twitter. 

1 Comment
Peggy Hailey

RevolutionSF Remembers Peggy Hailey

One of our favorite people, Peggy Hailey, has passed away.

She was the first RevolutionSF “books editor,” the perfect role for her.

Peggy found RevSF co-founder Shane Ivey and me at Zealot.com, and when we started RevolutionSF, she was one of the first people we asked to work with us.

Peggy Hailey

Peggy Hailey.

In honor of Peggy, we’ve set up a donation address for the library where she worked. Anybody can donate, and all money will go to Runge Public Library in Runge, Texas. The address is Riprevsfpeggy@wirthlin.ca.

Members of our RevSF family posted their memories of her, including Alan Porter.    “I’ve never known a person with such a deep knowledge of literature and she never steered me wrong,” Alan wrote.

“I frustrated her since she said I never found a comma I liked,” wrote Rick Klaw.

You will enjoy about a zillion thoughtful, hilarious things Peggy wrote at her blog, Rampant Biblioholism. Start here: “Why Peggy Can’t Do Math.” 

She participated in a RevCast episode in a tribute to Terry Pratchett. 

Check out her love for the Remo Williams “Destroyer” novels. 

Thank you, Peggy.

Comments Off on RevolutionSF Remembers Peggy Hailey

RevolutionSF Book Probe: Guardians of the Galaxy, Tolkien, Anomaly: The Rubicon

Book Probe eliminates the troublesome freedom of choice from your book selection process. These are things you should buy (click on the title to do so). Get on it. 

The Battles of Tolkien by David Day

Occasionally, I get to review something that hits the ol’ spot, something that scratches a certain itch.

This time it’s “The Battles of Tolkien,” an exhaustive, geeky look at all the war stuff in “Lord of the Rings, analyzing each battle from Helm’s Deep to Isengard.

It’s a gorgeous book, filled with timelines and locations, with sepia-toned pages that look like a Tolkien book should look: like it’s been sitting on a dusty shelf for ages immemorial.

Maps are my favorite thing in any fantasy novel. Maps show that the author thinks way too much about the world they’re writing in. Tolkien, literally, wrote the book on thinking too much about his world, and this book takes a swan-dive off the deep end into the minutiae and arcana that Tolkien fans are so fannish about.

Guardians of the Galaxy Dot-to-Dot Book by Thomas Pavitte

These dot-to-dot books have really stepped up their game since I was a young colored-pencil wielding rapscallion.

Thomas Pavitte’s Guardians of the Galaxy dot-to-dot book is enormous, the size of a 1970s Marvel Treasury Edition comic book, which in this case is appropriate. Guardians of the Galaxy is the geekiest of the Marvel movies, thoroughly embracing years of Marvel Comics awesomeness.

You have to respect the overall geekiness of the subject matter, since Pavitte pulled from all the eras of the Guardians– the images include the cast of the movie, Nova from current Marvel comics, all the way to the comic book version of Mantis and 1970s classic hero Adam Warlock.

The connecting of the dots herein will require an extraordinary attention to detail, but the results will be poster-sized geeky productions, ready to show off a talking raccoon on your wall.

You are going to need a metric ton of colored pencils. Each picture has about a zillion dots to connect. I’m rounding down. It could be a full jillion.

In your face, rainy days! This book has you covered.

Anomaly: The Rubicon

Anomaly: The Rubicon is an old-school space adventure that could easily have been an 80s movie. I mean that as the highest of compliments.

It has wise-cracking heroes, cool aliens, and cooler spaceships.

On top of that, the book is the size of a coffee-table book, with over 200 pages of story and lush artwork that you won’t find in the standard graphic novel.

I do not know why DC or Marvel have not tried this format, but these fine folks did it first, and they knock it out of the park. Additional features include a companion app that opens up tons of images and extras.

However, all the gimmicks won’t save a bad story. Luckily, this one is pretty good. It’s standard-issue space sci-fi, and there ain’t a thing wrong with that.

I could have used more background on the characters; but there are multiple schools of thought on that one — I’d also rather let the story tell me who these people are instead of a list or a caption.

Here, the reader gets dumped in the middle of sci-fi craziness and the story never lets up. That’s good stuff. I’m going to need more of these, and at this size, a wheelbarrow to carry the next book around in.

Check out more about the book at ExperienceAnomaly.com. 

 

Retrograde by Peter Cawthorn

This one is difficult to get through, and I mean that in a good way.

It starts out like “The Martian,” but you know all the parts with hope in them? “Retrograde” takes those out. The reason this crew is stuck on Mars is because things go nuclear kablooey on Earth.

The story is still a hard-science look at living on Mars, with a cast of smart heroes. They’re just in, well, kind of a rotten situation. The story dives deep into their relationships and explores full-granny levels of grief, anger, despair.

It’s worth a read. Bring a box of tissues, maybe two.

 

Spot and Smudge by Robert Udulutch

Spot and Smudge is a book about a guy and his dogs.

It’s a thrilling adventure, from the dogs’ points of view. About time. Human points of view are the worst.

It’s also sweet, with touching moments and emotional guts amid the sci-fi action.

Virtual high fives to the author for the title of the third book in this series: “Let Slip the Pups of War.”

No human can resist that title. I’m sure of it.

 

The Asylum of Dr. Caligari by James Morrow

This book is at once a tribute to the horror film and the German silent film about the Cabinet of the doctor of the title, but this one goes further than either of those, into history, art, and psychology. Roger Ebert called that film the first horror movie, so the book has a lot to live up to.

Really, there’s a lot to unpack. The story is equal parts horror, historical fiction, and adventure. And it’s a book, so just like with the subtitles on the Calgary silent film, you still have to read. Foiled again, non-readers!

The story takes place before World War I, where evil psychiatrist and wizard and all around villain-type Dr. C hires a painter, then sells the right to show soldiers his painting, which will pump them up for battle.

If it had been set in the 1980s, Caligari could have hired the rock band Survivor. Same thing would have happened.

Morrow’s construction of his world in the pre-WWI era are intricate and detailed. It’s a history lesson if you want to skip over the mad-scientist parts for some reason.  I’m not recommending that you do, but history buffs should be aware of that option.

The story makes points about the effect of art on humanity and its relevance to society, but it’s also terrifying, with dark humor and a clever tone that is way different from run-of-the-mill horror stories.

Comments Off on RevolutionSF Book Probe: Guardians of the Galaxy, Tolkien, Anomaly: The Rubicon
Porg!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer: 4-Word Reviews

We watched the Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer. These are all the thoughts we could muster as we sat agape before it. 

(Watch it for yourself. DO IT.) 

Porg!

I couldn’t think of four words, so I gave you a thousand instead. — Michael Falkner, @womprat99

 

Chewbacca finally uses conditioner. — Deanna Toxopeus, @ubalstecha

Where are the Ewoks? — Jayme Blaschke, @JaymeBlaschke

 

Blergh? Nrrgh! HRNNNN! HRRRRRRNNNNHHH!!!! –KC Ryan-Pierce

Is Finn a Porg? — Nathan Laws, @42Cast

March of the Porguins. –Geena Phillips, @GeenaCanBlowMe

Definitely needs more Porgs. –Tegan Hendrickson, @Artful_Username

I’m Locuteness of Porg. — Michael French, @RetroBlasting

Comments Off on Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer: 4-Word Reviews

RevSF Movie Probe: The Survivor, The Manual, Surfer’s Paradise

RevSF Movie Probe reviews short films, upcoming films, stuff like that. Our opinions are the right ones. Enjoy at the links.

The Survivor

This one is a short film, around 10 minutes or so, that crams a whole feature length movie in that time frame.

It’s a gut-wrenching post-apocalypse where a kid is trying to take care of his mom. What he does to take care of her deserves a soundtrack from the 80s rock band that it is named after.

(Well, I don’t know for sure that the movie is named after the singers of “Eye of the Tiger.” I can only hope and assume.)

It’s emotionally moving while also being a top-drawer action flick.

I need to see more from the makers of this movie, right now.

For everything about The Survivor, check out TheSurvivorFilm.com. 

The Manual

“The Manual” is about the last person on Earth, who is raised by a humanoid robot, and wrestles with loneliness and depression.

It’s absolutely gorgeous to look at, as the robot looks extraordinary marching around a dreary, rainy world.

The soundtrack is so very 80s, and I mean that as the highest possible compliment.

It’s a short film, and it’s the perfect length. I feel like a longer movie would take away the punch. “The Manual” hits home quickly.

The movie made me feel things about humanity, hope, and community. As a cold lifeless simulacrum of humanity,  I am unaccustomed to such emotions. Here’s looking forward to more from filmmaker Will Magness.

Go to the movie’s site for everything about The Manual. 

Bonus Trailer Probe: Surfer’s Paradise

“AI are often depicted as malevolent or untrustworthy, so we wanted to put humans under the moral microscope for a change,” said producer and star Ben Palacios.

“Surfer’s Paradise” is a pilot for a series about a dude who is invited to live in a community run by artificial intelligence, but under a strict set of rules.

“I will do as my hosts say at all times, even if I do not understand the reasons why.”

Naturally, that doesn’t go well.

It doesn’t even go well in the trailer. So imagine what the rest of the pilot will be like.

The trailer is gorgeous, shot in incredible locations in the Czech Republic. The trailer’s soundtrack is a heavy version of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence.” That’s two reasons to spend almost two minutes checking that out.

Check out the Kickstarter page for the trailer and everything about Surfer’s Paradise. 

 

Comments Off on RevSF Movie Probe: The Survivor, The Manual, Surfer’s Paradise

RevSF 4-Word Reviews: Star Trek Discovery Premiere

RevolutionSF’s 4-Word Reviews is a delightful way to cram reviews into your brain without having to read, like, a bazillion words or something.

No Enterprise-style theme song?Joe Crowe

Should’ve aired both parts.  — Michael Falkner

It’s not Abrams. Yay!   — Dave Farnell

Required underwear scene? Check!  — Dave Farnell

Haters are highly illogical.   — Dave Farnell

Continuity does not matter.Mark Finn

Non-Trekkers, there’s the door.  — Mark Finn

You’ll watch it anyway.  — Mark Finn

My Trek is done.  — Michael Gordon

Found anything yet?

Just take my wallet.   — Ryan Guthrie

Really big Klingon subtitles!   — Jennifer Hartshorn

Loved the bridge sounds.    — Laura Haywood-Cory

Michelle Yeoh is amazing.  — Tegan Hendrickson

Listen to black women.  — Sue Kisenwether

Bechdel-Wallace pass within minutes.  — Sue Kisenwether

Loved it. Fight me.  — Sue Kisenwether

Warrior caste Drow Klingons!Shaun Rosado 

SPOILER WARNING

Argh! Want more Yeoh!  — Dave Farnell


Comments Off on RevSF 4-Word Reviews: Star Trek Discovery Premiere