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Direct Beam Comms #109



TV

The X-Files Season 11 “My Struggle III” **/****

Undoubtedly The X-Files is one of the most successful TV franchise in the last 25 years. “Wait,” you say, “25 years? That’s impossible!” But it’s not, this series which debuted back in the fall of 1993 has been around so long that as of right now most people alive have never lived in a world without The X-Files. To them this series has always been around in one for or another be it via the two feature The X-Files films or the 211 episode series which kind’a wrapped up in 2002. I say “kind’a” since a six episode continuation series appeared on FOX back in 2016 and now two years later a ten episode season is currently airing there too.

The 2016 season divided viewers of the series. On the one hand, some wanted The X-Files to be setup like more modern series with a strong season-long story. On the other were people, myself included, who thought that the six-episode continuation of The X-Files was just that, a “continuation,” so why mess with success?

That being said, I thought the first episode of this latest season of The X-Files was a bit of a mess. I’m a fan of the show, watched the old series along with the new and even I was confused as to what was going on here. It seemed like the cliffhanger in the final episode last season, which had most of the planet being overcome by a sickness meant to wipe out humanity with Scully (Gillian Anderson) being abducted by aliens in the final moments of the show were a dream. Or maybe really a vision of the future that our heroes might be able to stop since Scully’s having seizures? Or were they in fact visions sent by Scully and Mulder’s (David Duchovny) son? And maybe the kid really isn’t Mulder’s son like he thinks? But maybe he is. And the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) makes a return after seemingly being killed decades ago in the series and is out to murder Mulder and Scully. Or maybe he’s really trying to protect them? Or maybe it’s all a double cross and he’s really out to murder them after all?

At the end of “My Struggle III” I was more confused as to what was all going on than when I started the episode and found myself hoping later ones, especially the “monster of the week” episodes that were so good last season, will be the ones to see.

LA to Vegas **/****

LA to Vegas is a new FOX sitcom about the lives of the crew of an airline that makes flights from LA to Las Vegas each weekend. The crew intermingles with passengers who make weekly flights with them and others who are going to Vegas for the first time. The series has an interesting mix of characters from Ronnie (Kim Matula), a flight attendant who wants out of her boring airline route and routine, pilot Dave (Dylan McDermott) who’s a bit too laid back at his job and weekly passenger Artem (Peter Stormare) who goes to Vegas to gamble and will gamble on anything that’s going on in the plane.

I think the concept of *LA to Vegas is a strong one where each episode stars the crew of the plane, the regular passengers and new passengers who cycle in and out as well. The first episode’s new passengers were a couple who’d set off to Vegas to elope, but where the boyfriend ends up coming home alone and unmarried in the end.

I enjoyed LA to Vegas but thought that the first episode, humorously the pilot episode which could be the actual title of the episode, was a little flat since every funny moment in it was already played out on the constant stream of TV spots FOX has been airing promoting this show the last few months. Also, I’m not sure if the tone of the series is quite there yet. In some cases LA to Vegas was a raunchy FX-like show, in others it wanted to be a sweet sitcom.

Still, I’m interested to see where this goes and am planning on adding LA to Vegas to my weekly TV watching schedule.

Movies

The Movie Chain #1: The Hunt for Red October (1990)

The Movie Chain is a weekly, micro-movie review where each week’s film is related to the previous week’s movie in some way. Since this is the first part I randomly decided to start with the movie The Hunt For Red October since it happened to be on TV when I thought of this idea.

The Hunt for Red October is one of my favorite movies of the 1990s. Based on the book of the same name by writer Tom Clancy, The Hunt for Red October became the prototypical “techno-thriller” that was very popular in that time period where the technology of the movie, here a submarine that is silent and undetectable and therefor could nuke the US without warning, is as important as the characters or story. Most of The Hunt for Red October deals with the captain of said Soviet submarine (Sean Connery). Trying to help is CIA agent Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) who has to figure out how to help him pull the defection off without a) getting everyone aboard the sub killed in the process, b) not letting the Soviets know what’s happened and, most importantly, c) not accidentally starting WWIII.

The Hunt for Red October is a movie that once it gets going never lets up right to the end. Directed by John McTiernan who was in the middle of one of the hottest streaks any director could have, coming off of Predator and then Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October was really a harbinger of movies to come that were also based on best-selling books and would be turned into hit films like Jurassic Park and The Silence of the Lambs.

Next week: MORE UNDERWATER MADNESS!

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