The Truth is in There: THE X-FILES FAQ

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X-Files FAQ Book Review Chris Delloiacono Critical Blast

Within the last year I've finally gotten into THE X-FILES with a vengeance. I'm not a complete noob to the seminal series, but I had never been a regular viewer either. I had seen some episodes and caught both films in theaters, but that's about it. My wife was an immense fan growing up, and I had other friends that swore by the series, so I was pretty aware of much of the mythology, the best episodes, and even the big baddies like Krycek and Cancer Man (i.e. Cigarette Smoking Man). I always planned on hitching my wagon to the series and watching it through. A while back I purchased the first few seasons on DVD, but I never went on a huge run. Finally, Netflix made it simple to digest each episode.

Now, I don't want to come on like the mayor's wife or anything, but aren't you excited for the six-episode event in January?

Further stoking my fires for the relaunch were the fine folks at Applause Books who graciously provided me with a copy of the recently released THE X-FILES FAQ. Let me start by saying, this is a well put together history of the series as well as its cultural impact. That's important to me, because straight up episode guides are an utter bore. Yes, there are ample season recaps in this thick volume--the more than 360-pages would dent Flukeman's head if Scully clobbered him with it--but there's a great deal more than that.

I recently reviewed Applause's STAR WARS FAQ, which I found a very well researched, engaging read. With that title, I felt that author Mark Clark lent a newspaper writer's flair to covering the essence of Star Wars. Whereas, John Kenneth Muir's style for the X-FILES FAQ felt more scholarly, with rich analysis, and detailed dissection of the episodes. I felt this book was a bit more dry and academic, and less of a page turner. Don't get me wrong, though, this is still a very entertaining book.

Beyond the key episodes by season there's also a foreword by X-Files creator Chris Carter. This alone, and the fact that Muir has interviewed many of the key contributors, raises this far above most "unauthorized" titles. You should also enjoy chapters detailing Carter's influences, the spinoff series, merchandising, and so much more. I really enjoyed going through the book and briefly reliving the key events in the show's run. Many of the episodes I'd only seen recently, yet it was entertaining to reread the plots and Mr. Muir's analyses. For a longer time fan that may have gone ten or twenty years since seeing some of these episodes, well, you should love the trip to the way back.

Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0