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on 29 July 2010
When I got this book from Amazon I turned immediately to the section addressing the content of the most recent X-Files film (I Want to Believe, released 2008); I wanted to get a taste of whether the author was going to be someone I could read without wanting to throw the book in the corner in frustration or anger. Let's just say I'm happy to report that I was favourably inclined towards him thereafter. For UK readers' benefit - the author is a Brit and although he evidently has a great affection for the X Files, Lone Gunman series etc., he's not overly precious about it, and as he is a TV writer himself, can criticise a little more objectively and knowledgeably. There is a lot of dry humour in his reviews too; I chuckled at some of his comments, and the review of "First Person Shooter" I laughed out loud at - particularly the bit about the Policemen hanging about in the corridor; read it and weep! Lots in here for X Philes to enjoy, just try to read it without your "fan" hat on and you'll get more out of it; even on the odd occasion that I found myself disagreeing with his review of a particular episode I couldn't help respecting his point of view which was always interesting and thought-provoking!
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on 22 March 2010
I've always thought it was a shame that a show as popular as The X Files never had an unofficial guide to cover all nine seasons, and this book exactly fits what I was looking for. It's opinionated in all the right ways so that, even if you do disagree with some of the reviews, you can still understand the reasoning behind why some episodes are more loved than others.

After the recent trend of rather dry books in essay format with a variety of contributors (some of which are inevitably more interesting than others), it's a relief to find that the traditional unauthorised episode reviews haven't completely fallen out of favour, and this book is one of the better examples of a guide where you really do feel like the author is giving honest appraisals of all episodes. Even seasons 7-9, where it's widely acknowledged that standards started slipping, the reviews never fall into the trap of coming across as too much of a bitter fan in the way that made the similar Buffy unofficial companion rather unpleasant to read by the end. But then nor is it completely gushing and uncritical by any means. The author finds the right balance and I would highly recommended this book
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on 13 January 2014
As a teenager I was absolutely crazy about the X-Files, and being quite a loyal and dedicated sort of person I stuck with it until The End (quite literally) getting my video set for each BBC showing of a new episode. I reviewed the whole 9 seasons several years ago, when the DVD boxsets were dirt cheap here on Amazon, and did a similar little exercise in rating and reviewing each episode. Sadly these are all lost on some now defunct old PC, but reading Shearman's book brought back all the memories of this series, both the highs and the lows.

Part of the fun in reviewing this series is the wildly inconsistent nature of the show. The under-achieving, or plain dull, episodes stand out so much more when just a week before, or after, was some miniature masterpiece of TV. Shearman really captures the spirit of this, writing both with the insight of a professional sci-fi scriptwriter and the enthusiasm of a genuine fan (but without sinking to sycophancy by any means).

Any X-File fan will tell you that things went downhill in a big way in the last 2 or 3 years, but to be fair Shearman finds hidden gems even in Season's 8 and 9, although is unafraid to utterly tear apart Chris Carter's final installment and lack of control over the mythology arc as a whole.

TV is a writers medium, and it's fun to keep track of his thoughts on the many regulars. He points out wildly inconsistent writing skills of Carter (brilliantly daring as much as prententious drivel), the considerable and consistent talent of Vince Gilligan (now famous for Breaking Bad), the fleeting genius of Darin Morgan, the anarchic boundary pushing of Gordon and Wong and the perpetually second-rate John Shiban.

I read the bulk of this book in one sitting, which is unheard of for this kind of TV episode critique, but it really was that good. I couldn't wait to see what he wrote about some of my personal faves, or pet hates. Guess I'll have to dust off those boxsets now, and open up a new file for my own reviews all over again. Highly recommended.
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on 1 January 2015
I actually stumbled across this book after reading Gillian Anderson's first novel. As a self confessed X-Files nut (for a few years at any rate), I had to have a read at this because it seemed to have been written by another ex-X nut.

I wasn't disappointed. Robert Shearman nails almost definitively the thoughts of many X-Files fans both during the nine seasons it ran and also in retrospect after its demise.

Like others who have posted reviews and also as suggested by Mr Shearman himself, I didn't always agree with his critique of many episodes as he tore to bits some of my very favourites but his reviews were entertaining and, to be fair, allowed me to think of some in a new light.

His summing up of the final, monumentally dreadful final episode coincides I imagine with the thoughts of most X-Files fans. A groundbreaking, influential and brilliant TV series reduced to a court room melodrama; a very bad one. Hopefully it will be remembered for what it was. For me, the best episodic television ever made.

I never took to The Lone Gunmen spin-off. The characters were never interesting enough to command their own series. And Millenium largely passed me by. It seemed to have promise but TV scheduling north of the border meant I was never sure when it was on and it was always after 11pm anyway. No "catch up TV" in those days.

At the end of the day, what this book has done is made me want to dig out my box set of DVD's and watch all of the X-Files again. Not convinced I'll get away with that one though. She was never a fan.

But after all the truth is out there. Only it wasn't. Not really.

Oh, and I must watch the second movie. It sounds really good!
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on 8 March 2010
This is a brilliant book for anyone who follows the X Files. It goes into far more clitical depth that many books including the pathetic official guides. Buy this and ditch all the others.
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on 26 January 2016
I really enjoy this book. i actually only got this for the episode guide parts but reading the critical side i have to say i enjoy it even more than i thought i would do and having been a fan of The X files since i was a small child and then Millennium and and having started to watch The Lone Gunmen (which sadly isn't all that great) it is great to have a book with all 3 in i see myself using this book a lot in the coming months
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on 21 July 2013
This is an excellent book - I've been enjoying revisiting the series after a long break. The book provides a great companion.
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on 4 May 2010
all the x files, millennium and lone gunmen reviewed with intelligence ! Very good book ! Read it after watching DVDs !
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on 8 July 2015
Quite good book enjoying it
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on 2 January 2010
Bought this for my sister who is a huge X-files fan: more specifically a Mulder fan. For that reason, she found the book a little disappointing as it was obviously written by a Gillian Anderson fan, and is heavily biased towards Scully. Apart from that it is a thorough book detailing every episode and is a useful addition to any X-files collection.
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