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Television Review: Die, 'X-Files,' die

Friday, February 16, 2001

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

The longer Fox's "The X-Files" drags on, the less I'm able to remember how much I once liked the series. Watching Sunday's episode, "Per Manum" (9 p.m. on Fox), my frustration level began to rise to a point I can't previously recall. It's safe to say I now actively dislike this once-great show, creator Chris Carter and the Fox network for the way they're jerking viewers around.


WHEN: 9 p.m. Sunday on Fox.


Promos indicate watching the episode will reveal untold secrets about Scully's baby: Who's the father? Is it human or alien?

These are key things viewers have been wondering about since May. Prepare to wait longer. This week's show is all smoke and mirrors, revealing virtually nothing. The baby may be human or it may not be. Mulder (David Duchovny) may be the father or he may not be. Maybe he and Scully (Gillian Anderson) had sex, maybe they didn't.

It's fine for Carter to tantalize viewers for a while, but it's been nine months since we first learned Scully is pregnant and still there are no answers, still no payoff. My patience is exhausted. I just don't care.

Conventional wisdom in Hollywood says "The X-Files" has rebounded this season with the addition of Robert Patrick as John Doggett, Scully's new partner now that Mulder has gone missing (he's in flashbacks Sunday and supposedly returns from his presumed alien abduction next week).

I have nothing against Doggett, except that I can't stand Patrick's attempts at a dese-dem-dose New York accent that's as annoying as Rich Schroder's accent on "NYPD Blue."

The Doggett character is fine, but the show has lost all its allure. "The X-Files" mythology was exhausted long ago and now it feels like everyone involved is making new episodes just to collect a paycheck.

Some viewers may enjoy the creepy stand-alone episodes this season, but to me it's old-hat. The only difference is now it's old-hat stories with extra gore added.

Next week Annabeth Gish joins the cast in a recurring role as an FBI agent with whom Doggett was once romantically linked. I've always liked Gish, one of the stars of "Mystic Pizza," but I'm having a hard time mustering enthusiasm for her latest part.

If the show returns next season -- and Fox is threatening to renew it even without the participation of Duchovny -- Gish may return as a series regular. Anderson, who won rave reviews in the film "House of Mirth," would probably curtail her involvement and "The X-Files" would essentially have new leads. It would be like the season Coy and Vance replaced Bo and Luke on "Dukes of Hazzard."

There was a time I couldn't wait to see what "The X-Files" would come up with next. Now I'm praying for it to end.

You can reach Rob Owen at rowen@post-gazette.com. Post questions or comments to www.post-gazette.com/tv under TV Forum.

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