The eight episodes featured in the “X-Files: Revelations” collection offer no real revelations into the series’ byzantine mythology. Instead, creator Chris Carter has selected a handful of the series’ standout standalone installments, spotlighting the show’s spooky atmosphere, quirky humor and chemistry of leads David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Few clues are given for the upcoming feature follow-up, but this package serves as a solid introduction to series newcomers, with a few additional treats for longtime fans.
Choice of episodes is somewhat eclectic. First disc features the series pilot, serial killer thriller “Beyond the Sea,” monster-of-the-week “The Host” and Peter Boyle-starrer “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose.” Disc No. 2 includes mythology cornerstone “Memento Mori,” black-and-white monster comedy “Post-Modern Prometheus,” vampire farce “Bad Blood” and atmospheric “Milagro.”
Primary new material of the collection is a series of short video introductions provided by Carter and “I Want to Believe” co-writer Frank Spotnitz, which place each episode in context while dropping the occasional new fact. In setting up serial-killer season “Beyond the Sea,” Spotnitz mentions that the episode nearly didn’t get past the networks, due to concerns that they tread too closely to ground covered by “Silence of the Lambs,” while in the introduction to “Milagro,” Carter tells a surprised Anderson that the episode is a favorite of Sean Penn.
Highlight of the additional material is a well-edited recap of the stars and producers’ panel session at the 2008 Wonder-con convention, in which Anderson and Duchovny speak candidly on the challenges of returning to their characters. Carter simplifies the show’s religious themes to its most famous tagline: “I want to believe.”
Die-hard viewers could spend many hours debating whether these episodes are the ones which best represent the show, but no matter what one thinks of Carter’s choices, these installments represent some of the series’ greatest achievements.