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Preview Image for X Files, The: Nothing Important Happened Today (UK)
X Files, The: Nothing Important Happened Today (UK) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000034689
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 3/6/2002 23:32
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    Review of X Files, The: Nothing Important Happened Today

    8 / 10


    I`m a bit of an X Phile, so when the opportunity came to jump ahead a few episodes to the beginning of season 9 to review the season opener, Nothing Important Happened Today, I was eager to say the least. Watching it, I was stunned to find out how much difference half a season makes to an ongoing storyline. Currently, terrestrial TV is almost halfway through season 8, and the big story is the hunt for an abducted Mulder and Scully`s incipient pregnancy. She is coming to terms with a new partner, John Doggett, who is yet to really establish himself. So when I came to view this disc, I naturally found that these issues had been resolved, and new storylines are evolving. Therefore, if you don`t wish to know the score, look away now. Anyway, I`ll try and limit the spoilers to what is absolutely necessary, and focus on the immediate rather than the ongoing storyline.

    I think it`s safe to say that at the end of Season 8, Mulder had reappeared and Scully had given birth to a healthy baby boy. Season 9 begins with the double episode story, Nothing Important Happened Today, here presented as a feature length TV movie. The film starts in a bar, where an Environmental Protection Agency worker picks up an attractive woman. Driving home from the bar however, she forces him to drive the car of a bridge, and when he attempts to escape the wreck, she holds him under and drowns him, herself unaffected underwater. Meanwhile Agent Doggett is tenaciously investigating the events of the end of Season 8, which incriminate the Deputy Director of the FBI. When he attempts to contact Mulder, he finds his apartment, bare. Concerned, he calls at Scully`s apartment and she tells him that Mulder has vanished, conventionally this time, and that he shouldn`t pursue the matter. In fact he shouldn`t pursue the investigation at all, then she asks him to leave. At the Hoover building he finds that his colleagues have closed ranks against his investigation, and evidence to the events has vanished. A.D Skinner is equally vehement in insisting he drop the investigation, and a new character, Assistant Director Brad Follmer is in turn investigating Doggett`s unconventional methods. Doggett isn`t completely alone though, as Agent Monica Reyes is still supportive and assists his investigation despite advice to the contrary from her old flame, Follmer. Despite the apparent cover up, a bone is thrown their way, when a lead pointing them to the drowned EPA worker is left outside their office. When another similar drowning occurs, at a water reclamation plant, evidence linking the two points to a conspiracy regarding the water supply. Doggett, investigating the events that occurred previously tries to get in touch with his army comrades. When one of them, Shannon McMahon does show up, she turns out to be the aquatic killer. She spins a tale of genetically engineered super soldiers, of whom she is the prototype, and a plot to taint the water supply so that the mutation would occur in the offspring of the general populace. She says that she wishes to stop her superiors from completing the plan, but can she be believed?


    After all these years of watching the X Files in 4:3 and most recently letterbox 16:9, I finally get to see an anamorphic 1.85:1 picture. I have never seen the X Files looking so good. The image resolution is as you would expect from an American TV show, but the transfer is solid, with a crystal clear image. The colours are strong as is the contrast and showcases the style of the X Files well. The emphasis on natural and atmospheric light is a trademark of the series and it looks wonderful on this transfer.
    There is a small amount of grain, but nothing detrimental to the enjoyment of the episode and really only apparent in brighter moments.


    The X Files is usually transmitted with Surround Sound (where available) but this disc comes with DD 5.1 tracks in English, French, German and Italian. Mark Snow`s music is there as you would expect and the dialogue is clear throughout. I didn`t notice any overt use of the surrounds except for atmosphere and music and it felt like the television programme that it is. There were a couple of occasions where some curious noises or overemphasised dialogue erupted from my rear speakers, most notably the opening scene in the bar, where the background noise was strangely muffled. This wasn`t apparent in the other language soundtracks and I assume it`s an error in coding hopefully confined to the review disc.


    The X Files box sets come replete with extras, and I wasn`t surprised to see them on this standalone release. There are two featurettes, Monica Reyes Revealed and Behind the Scenes. The first is a 3 and half-minute insight into the character of Monica Reyes as played by Annabeth Gish and comprises some interview snippets and scenes of her in action. Behind the Scenes is a 3-minute look at the making of, and comprises some interview footage with some scenes from the episode, more of a trailer really. It seems a fair amount of stuff for a TV episode.


    It was a little disconcerting, watching this with a gap of 12 or so episodes, and its amazing how much I had missed, but I rapidly came up to speed and what I had missed, I could surmise from this episode. Most notably was the addition of Monica Reyes, yet to be introduced in the terrestrial transmission of Season 8, but here an established character. Fortunately, the extras delve into her character. The established characters are pretty much as we know them, Gillian Anderson and Mitch Pileggi are the Scully and Skinner we know and love. Robert Patrick has some work to do here as Agent Doggett, as he ahem, doggedly pursues his investigation, despite threat of censure from his superiors and his unconventional methods lead to a comparison between him and Mulder. Annabeth Gish as Monica Reyes is more of a light-hearted character than I have been used to in the last couple of seasons, she is shown as more empathic and feeling than any character we have seen and is an intriguing addition to the cast. Her relationship with Assistant Director Follmer is a little down to Earth and "normal" after all the strange story lines there have been on this show. Follmer is played by Cary Elwes who has made a career of playing slimy toe rags of late. Follmer is no departure for him. Lucy Lawless is the mysterious Shannon McMahon and introduces a new ambiguous character to the X Files. The storyline looks promising and she seems to have left Xena far behind. Of course Frohike, Byers and Langley make a welcome appearance.

    A new title sequence greets the opening episode of Season 9, and it`s the first thing I dislike about this disc. What was wrong with the old classic sequence? Now we get a clean sparkling CGI montage with sharp shiny lettering. To tell the truth, the episode didn`t really impress me either. It is a good sharp episode, told well and paced perfectly. The suspense builds relentlessly and in these respects, it`s like any other decent X Files episode. However the storyline left me a little cold. Although the well tried tactic of giving a glimpse and then snatching away the evidence is used again here, I feel that too much is given away in this episode. We are told straight out with no ambiguity that the government are breeding super soldiers. There is no attempt to inveigle, obfuscate or deceive and there is very little mystery to the story. There is a chilling moment with Scully`s baby though. Also this episode focuses on the team of Doggett and Reyes, with Scully really only appearing in an advisory role. It`s apparent that at this time, the producers were grooming Doggett and Reyes as potential replacements for Mulder and Scully. It`s notable that Annabeth Gish talks about establishing her character in the long run in the extras. This was obviously prior to the announcement that season 9 would be the last. It boils down to there not being so much of an emotional investment in the characters and as such, I was only really interested in Scully`s personal search for the truth in this episode. On a personal note, there is one moment that breaks my suspension of disbelief in this episode. It also happened in Season 8, when Scully and Doggett investigated an indestructible metal man, but here Doggett goes one on one with a super soldier, emptying a clip of bullets into his chest to no effect. I just burst out laughing, after all he should know better, being a Terminator and all. My own personal foibles aside, this is a solid X Files episode, with a gripping story. There are not enough moments with the old characters though.

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